Two lovely Kiwi Pinots: Burn Cottage and Ata Rangi

It was nice to drink these two side by side: a couple of New Zealand’s most highly regarded Pinot Noirs. Both were showing really beautifully, in the middle of a dinner with some other strong wines.

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2013 Martinborough, New Zealand
Fresh, floral and detailed with lovely black cherry and raspberry fruit. Real finesse [...]

Pinot Noir 2017, Wellington, New Zealand - a film

 

While I was attending Pinot Noir 2017, I put together a short-ish film of the proceedings, capturing some of the best moments of the three days. It was a trill remarkable event: it wasn’t just the 117 wineries and the lovely New Zealand Pinot Noirs they poured, but instead there was a narrative theme running [...]

New Zealand Pinot Noir: some favourites from Central Otago and Waitaki

Continuing my round up of top Pinot Noirs from the recent New Zealand trip, here are some favourites from Central Otago, with a couple from North Otago’s Waitaki thrown in too. I’ve been coming to Central Otago regularly since 2010, and there’s been a steady evolution. This is unsurprising: after all, the first commercial wine [...]

New Zealand Pinot Noir: top examples from North Canterbury and Martinborough

Continuing with my trawl through the exciting New Zealand Pinot scene, here are some of my favourite wines from North Canterbury (which includes Waipara, Waikiri and the Cheviot Hills) and Wellington Wine Country (the new name for the Wairarapa regions, which include Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton). Not all wines are rated here, and there are [...]

New Zealand Pinot Noir: some top examples from Marlborough

I’ve tasted a lot of New Zealand Pinot Noir over recent weeks. Here are some of my favourite picks from Marlborough. This is New Zealand’s largest wine region, and it has more Pinot Noir (2400 hectares) than any other region (Central Otago is second with 1500 hectares). The best sites are in the Southern Valleys [...]

Pinot Noir: the alchemy of people, place and time

This is a written version of a talk I’m giving today at the Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir celebration.

Pinot Noir is the grape variety that seems to inspire the most devotion in wine lovers. Finding great Pinot is a lifetime quest, filled with challenges and disappointments. But the highs make this quest worthwhile, and there is [...]

Pinot Noir 2017: the International Pinot Noir Tasting

This was the headline International Pinot Noir tasting at Pinot Noir 2017 in Wellington. In this session, rather than focus on New Zealand, it was time for the panellists to look further afield. Each of the four chose two wines that they felt represented greatness in Pinot Noir, and then explained their own views on [...]

An extensive tasting of Pinot Noir from North Canterbury, New Zealand

North Canterbury is the new-ish term used to describe the vineyard region close to Canterbury, which includes the Waipara Valley. In the couple of days I spent here, I tasted my way through many of the the wines, and these are my notes on the Pinot Noirs that I’ve tried. It’s a region that I’ve [...]

Central Otago Pinot Noir masterclass, focusing on structure Draft

Lucie Lawrence of Aurum and Grant Taylor of Valli led this masterclass, which was held at Aurum. Also present were Matt Dicey (Mount Difficulty and Ceres), Paul Pujol (Prophet’s Rock) and Blair Walter (Felton Road), who contributed to the discussion. The idea was to look at pairs of wines that each tackled topics relevant to [...]

Some highlights from a Central Otago Pinot Noir tasting

I arrived in Queenstown to a good English winter: rain showers, low cloud, and a temperature of 8 C. There was snow on top of the hills. This is summer in a cool climate wine region. Time to taste some wine with the mixed international group who’d, like me, just arrived in town.

Eighteen producers gathered [...]