WINE REVIEW: The pinot spectrum

Wine doesn't have to be big and mouthfilling to be good.

Harmony and balance, which make a wine enjoyable to drink, are more important, and light wines can be balanced as well as mouthfilling ones, as this tasting of pinots, mostly from Marlborough, attests.

The Nest, a new, well-priced label from Lake Chalice may be light and simple, but it is very drinkable, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, Dog Point may be big and mouthfilling but is deliciously harmonious.


The Nest by Lake Chalice Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009
(about $19.90)

Although lightish in colour and flavour with a hint of cherry plums, this nevertheless has a typical pinot noir character and a crisp finish.

Look for it on special.

Two stars (out of five)

Average value

Mount Riley Marlborough Nelson Pinot Noir 2008
(about $22)

Reliable and well priced as usual, this pinot is fragrant with a hint of spice, clean fruit and a charming aftertaste.

Three stars (out of five)

Average value Mt Riley 08 Pinot.



Lawsons Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
(about $29)

A spicy wine with mouthfilling sweet fruit and toasty oak, savoury hints of mushrooms and a firm finish.

Three and a half stars (out of five)

Average value




Anthem Discover Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
(about $29)

A lively, edgy wine with hints of plums and spice, and an elegant finish with a suggestion of chocolate on the aftertaste.

Three and a half stars (out of five)

Average value

Waimea Bolitho SV Nelson Pinot Noir 2007
(about $30)

A dark, dense wine with lots of toasty oak, spice, nuts and cherries with layers of flavour and a long, tingly aftertaste.

Four stars (out of five)

Good value Waimea Pinot Noir 07.



Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
(about $39)

Deliciously dense with hints of cherry plums, pipe tobacco and toasty oak, with background hints of spice and toffee, this is a stylish, textural wine,with a firm finish.

One of the best from Marlborough, it will develop with a few years bottle age.

Four stars (out of five)

Average value



Mahi Rive Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
(about $45)

Mahi produces some fine, individual vineyard wines and this is no exception - charming and harmonious with a silky texture and complex flavours hinting of spice nuts and red fruits with a background of toasty oak, chocolate and mint, and a long, dryish finish.

Four stars (out of five)

Below average value

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
(about $48)

Earthy hints of fresh beetroot on the aroma turn to spicy raspberries, strawberries and hints of cherries on the flavour, backed up by toasty oak and finishing with silky tannins.

Four stars (out of five)

Below average value

Although wine sent for review is tasted blind to eliminate preconceptions, all wine tasting and evaluation is subjective. These are personal recommendations.

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