WorldWine Tasting Report

2012-12-03

New Zealand: Not only Sauvignon

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It was one of the more complicated tastings which we have had to organize in recent years, not only because it took us several attemps to get through to the right people at Wines of New Zealand who could help us sending the appeal for samples to all the wineries, but also because receiving the samples from New Zealand apparently was too much for one of the courier services. But the effort was worth it: The Kiwis had submitted more than 40 elegant, straightforward Pinots which were able to completely demolish the image of a "Sauvignon only"-country which New Zealand still seems to enjoy in many parts of the world.

The tasting had been planned for some time already as part of our world wide inquiry on wines made of Pinot noir, Burgundy's prestige variety. Germany's Pinots '11, Burgundy - lights and shadows, Austria - red wines and Pinot California were the topics of this research, and even in South Africa (South Africa "alla grande") we had discoverd very interesting Pinots, Oregon still being in the pipeline ... without success so far.


Vineyards in Marlborough, one of the best NZ regions for Pinot noir (photos: Wines of New Zealand)

Pinot noir is mainly cultivated in five of New Zealand's wine growing regions: Marlborough, Central Otago, Canterbury / Waipara, Martinborough / Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay, out of which the first three are situated on the cooler South Island, the latter two in the southern part of the North Island. The best wines of our tasting came from Marlborough and Central Otago, two regions which seem to have a particular potential for the variety. Of course, NZ Pinots have not yet reached the level of Burgundy's best, and we even had some wines from Germany and California which would have given a hard time to these Kiwi reds. But, in contrast to many wines of the New World and even of Austria, perhaps Italy as well, the wines from Marlborough & Co. proved very elegant and stylistically homogeneous.

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*****Quartz Reef - Bendigo Estate Partnership (Cromwell) - Central Otago Pinot noir Bendigo Estate 2010
 
*****Schubert Wines Ltd (Martinborough) - Wairarapa Pinot noir Block B 2010
 
*****Greywacke Vineyards (Blenheim) - Marlborough Pinot noir 2010
 
*****Misty Cove Wines (Bishopdale) - Central Otago Pinot noir Signature 2008
 
*****Elephant Hill Holdings Ltd (Te Awanga) - Central Otago Pinot noir 2011
 
*****Waipara Hills Wine Estate Ltd (Amberley) - Canterbury Pinot noir Waipara Valley 2010
 
****Aurum Wines Ltd (Cromwell) - Central Otago Pinot noir 2010
 
**** +Kim Crawford Wines (Huapai) - Marlborough Pinot noir Nobilo Icon 2011
 
**** +Astrolabe Wines Ltd (Blenheim) - Marlborough Pinot noir Voyage 2009
 
**** +Spy Valley Wines Ltd (Blenheim) - Marlborough Pinot noir Envoy 2010
 
**** +Tosq Wines Ltd (Wanaka) - Central Otago Pinot noir T 2010
 
**** +Brancott Estate Ltd (Blenheim) - Marlborough Pinot noir Terraces 2010
 
****Schubert Wines Ltd (Martinborough) - Wairarapa Pinot noir Marion's Vineyard 2010
 
****Johner Estate Ltd. (East Taratahi) - Wairarapa Pinot noir Gladstone 2010 Reserve

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