Great New Zealand Pinot Noir, from Yealands and Greystone

Nik Mavromatis of Greystone

Nik Mavromatis of Greystone

I’m at Prowein. It’s a huge trade fair, with 50 000 attendees from around the world. The scale of this fair is daunting. It is the first time I’ve attended:I’d been scared off by its size in the past. Once you get past the frustrations of having 50 000 people swelling the population of a modest sized town (mostly queues: queues to get taxis, long queues to retrieve items from the cloakroom, long queues for spectacularly bad food, epic queues for overpriced drinks at Cafe Madrid – and a hotel room that normally costs 43 Euros costing 180) it’s actually a brilliant trade fair, with an opportunity to taste a staggering array of wines. Those conscientious people who feel they have to taste everything should stay away: they will be frozen into inactivity by the staggering size of this fair.

yealands pinot noir

Yesterday  I made some great discoveries. Four of them were these wines from two producers in New Zealand, and they were all Pinot Noir. The two winemaker’s reserve bottlings from Yealands, one from home turf (Awatere) and the other from a vineyard in Gibbston, Central Otago, are serious wines, and they aren’t crazy expensive.

The Greystone wines from the Waipara are developing quite a reputation, and I think it’s deserved.

Yealands Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir Gibbston 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand
This is such an impressive Gibbston Pinot, showing fresh, meaty, dense, spicy red cherry and berry fruit, with real freshness and a silky texture. It’s just so beautiful, with lots of aromatic interest and real palate presence. 95/100

Yealands Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir Awatere 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
There’s a real beauty to this wine. It’s fresh, juicy and elegant with nice grainy structure under the sweet red and black cherry fruit. They key here is the mouthfeel: it’s so rounded and elegant and pure. 95/100


Greystone Pinot Noir 2013 Waipara Valley, New Zealand
This is from grey conglomerate limestone pushed up from the seabed by seismic activity 150 000 years ago, so it’s very young soil. Supple and bright with lovely raspberry and black cherry fruit. Grippy structure under the primary fruit. Nicely vivid with lovely purity and drive. A fabulous Pinot. 94/100

Greystone The Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 Waipara Valley, New Zealand
This is from a limestone block on the top of the hill where the vines really struggle. It carries its 100% new oak really well. Beautifully poised and aromatic with red and black cherry fruit. Superbly fresh and elegant on the palate with lovely focus and a bit of meatiness, as well as good structure and acidity. 95/100

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