Pinot noir is at its best when it's not too big or too oaky - or too light and thin. As always,harmony is the key to a good wine.



Ryan Nelsen Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011


Four stars (out of five)

Good value

Aromas of plums and strawberries with a hint of spice, attractive red fruits, a finely structured backbone and a lively, textural, long finish with a lingering aftertaste. A new brandfrom the eponymous footballer and Jeff Poole who sources the wines.


Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2011


Three and a half stars

Average value

A mouth-filling wine with hints of cherry and red fruits, savoury undertones, a dollop of spicy oak, and finishing with firm, dusty tannins.



Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir 2010


Three stars

Average value

Soft initially, with suggestions of plums and creamy flavours supported by lots of spicy, toasty oak with overtones of coffee and a light finish. For those who like oaky pinot.



Gravel Ridge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011


Three stars

Average value

A simple wine with hints of licorice, savoury undertones and even forest floor but there's lots of flavour extraction which makes for a hard finish.

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Craggy Range Te Muna Rd Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011


Four stars

Average value

With aromas suggesting dark berry fruit and spicy plums and underlying hints of mineral, this is mouth-filling, textural and persistent from beginning to end of the palate, and finishes with a powerful, long aftertaste. Big, but well balanced and finely structured.


Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010


Four and a half stars

A big, dark, tightly structured wine that took a while to open in the glass, but eventually revealed a lovely fragrance, oodles of dark berries, cherries, spice and firm tannins, indicating it will benefit from bottle age, but despite that it is delicious now. A recent double trophy winner at the NZ international wine show.



Te Mania Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2011


Four stars

Good value

Perfumed with hints of raspberries, plums and other red fruits, with spicy and darker savouryflavours mingling with the sweet fruit on the aftertaste. It's harmonious and elegant withunderlying power.