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

new zealand pinot noir

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

pyramid valley earth smoke pinot noir

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 others that scored pretty highly: this is just a personal selection.

Pyramid Valley Vineyards Angel Flower Pinot Noir 2015 North Canterbury, New Zealand
Sappy edged floral red cherry fruit. Highly perfumed and pretty detailed. Pure on the palate with lovely supple elegant fruit. Nice finesse with some green hints and lovely detail. 95/100

Pyramid Valley Vineyards Earth Smoke Pinot Noir 2015 North Canterbury, New Zealand
Very fine and detailed with lovely focus and freshness. Lively cherry and plum fruit with some spiciness. Nice freshness and detail with some grip. Good structyre and acidity. 96/100

bell hill pinot noir

Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2013 North Canterbury, New Zealand
Very fine cherries, plums and spice. Detailed and fresh with good acidity and nice linear fruit, as well as some warm spiciness. More black fruits than red, and really refined. 95/100

kupe escarpment pinot

Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2011 Martinborough, New Zealand
Supple and detailed with nice spice and some grippy structure, as well as fine red cherries and a silky texture. Elegant and compact, this is quite dry and has real appeal. 95/100

dry river pinot noir

Dry River Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough, New Zealand
Beautifully aromatic with floral cherry fruit and real finesse, as well as sweet raspberry jam notes. Supple and pretty with sweet fruit to the fore. Fresh cherries and raspberries. Very pure. 94/100

Johner Pinot Noir Reserve 2014 Martinborough, New Zealand
Very fresh with vivid fruit. Warm, ripe, tannic and structured too. Lovely concentrated black cherry and plum fruit with a sweet core. 94/100

kusuda pinot noir

Kusuda Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough, New Zealand
Everything Kusuda does is fabulous. Lovely freshness here. Very fine and expressive with cherries, plum and a fine mineral character. Pure with nice tannins and real detail. There’s a haunting elegance with subtle bloody tones under the linear fruit. Spectacular. 97/100

marie zelie pinot noir

Martinborough Vineyards Marie Zelie Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 Martinborough, New Zealand
Not made every year. Very sweet aromatics with seductive pure fruit and a malty edge. Concentrated and lively on the palate with an intense core of sweet berry fruits and a grippy finish. 93/100

mount beautiful pinot noir

Mount Beautiful Pinot Noir 2015 North Canterbury, New Zealand
From the Cheviot Hills, north of Waipara. Concentrated with fine spices and nice depth of fruit. Generously textured and dense with sweet red cherries and subtle herbs. Very fine with some grip. 94/100

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2008 Martinborough, New Zealand
This has a lovely fresh herb-tinged edge to the generously ripe concentrated fruit on the palate. There’s nice freshness and some evolution with fine-grained tannins. Lovely wine. 94/100

poppies pinot noir

Poppies Single-Vineyard Old Vines Pinot Noir 2015 Martinborough, New Zealand
Only made in magnum. Very fine and direct with pure raspberry fruit, Fine and intense with primary fruit and good tannins and acidity. This is really expressive and pure, and needs time. The regular Poppies Pinot is also exceptional. 95/100

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2013 Martinborough, New Zealand
Supple, fine and tight-wound with a bit of grip but also nice cherries and plums, showing some fruit sweetness. This has structure as well as fruit. 94/100

Black Estate Damsteep Pinot Noir 2015 Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand
Beautifully focused with pure, silky, fresh cherry fruit and fine spiciness. Real elegance here with nice grainy structure. 94/100

The Crater Rim Omihi Rise Pinot Noir 2012 Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand
Fresh, supple and elegant with a bit of savouriness. Fine structure supports the fresh red cherry fruits with nice acidity. Restrained and mineral. 94/100

Greystone Thomas Brothers’ Pinot Noir 2013 Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand
Lovely aromatics here: sweet, pure, with lovely red cherries and raspberries. It has a bit of liqueur-like richness and fine spicy notes. Very pretty but also structured. Seductive but not overdone. 94/100

See also: Top Marlborough Pinot Noirs; Pinot Noirs from North Canterbury

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