WINE REVIEWS: A plethora of pinor noirs

As I sniffed and tasted these pinot noirs all sorts of things popped into my mind - aromas of raw potato, linseed oil, fresh engine oil, salmon skin, rubber, brown sugar, coffee and toast, as well as spice and berries, plums and cherries, elderberries and the forest floor. What a complex wine pinot noir can be!

Interestingly, some of the the less expensive (that's not to necessarily cheap) wines in this batch are more enjoyable to drink at present than the bigger, top flight pinot noirs from the same maker which require a little more attention.

Sometimes the posh ones need a year or two more to settle, mellow and become more harmonious.


◊BEST UNDER $20

Instinct Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008
(about $19.99)

A lightish wine, both in colour and flavour, but with hints of spicy berries and a bright, tingly aftertaste. This is a new, well-priced label from the C. J. Pask winery.

Two stars (out of five)

Average value

www.instinctwines.co.nz

 


Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008
(about $23, but look for it on special)

Light with hints of cherry plums, pepper and spice, this is a simple, easy wine with a crisp finish.

Two stars (out of five)

Average value

www.stoneleigh.co.nz

 


Bald Hills Three Acres Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008
(about $30)

An early-drinking wine from this Bannockburn producer, this is perfumed with sweet fruit, hints of spice, chocolate and brown sugar, with an edgy undertone and a softish finish. Attractive.

Three stars (out of five)

Average value

www.baldhills.co.nz

 


Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2008
(about $32)

A nicely balanced, early-drinking wine from one of the country's most prestigious winemakers, this is fresh with suggestions of toffee and toast, lots of raspberries and cherry plums, all supported by supple tannins and a crisp finish.

Three stars (out of five)

Average value

www.martinborough-vineyard.co.nz


Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
(About $35)

This is a showy pinot, dense with overtones of spice, toasty oak with a hint of coffee and brown sugar, cherry plums in the background and a long, fairly tannic finish. A pinot for those who like bigger wines.

Three stars (out of five)

Below average value

www.witherhills.co.nz


Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007
(about $51)

From one of the big names in New Zealand wine, this is a stylish, complex wine with layers of aromas and flavours, hints of linseed oil, plums, coffee, mint and spice, with a chewy texture and firm, long finish. A well-balanced wine that will continue to develop with another year or two.

Four stars (out of five)

Average value

www.cloudybay.co.nz


ANOTHER GLASS

Bald Hills Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
(about $44)

The big brother of the Three Acres (reviewed above) with more structure and firmer tannins, but also perfumed and rich with fruit, cherry, redcurrants, spice and a long, lively finish. I expect it will develop with further bottle age.

Three stars (out of five)

Below average value

www.baldhills.co.nz


Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2007
(about $70)

Stylish and fragrant with hints of tea leaves, cherries and spice, this is a big wine, with showy oak, bright red fruits, a savoury tannins and oodles of spice.

Despite the huge oak and concentration, it's attractive if not yet charming and promises to develop with bottle age.

Four and a half stars (out of five)

Average value

www.martinborough-vineyard.co.nz

Neudorf Moutere Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
(about $69)

The top of Neudorf's range of pinots this is a complex wine, still youthful, with a bright zesty lift and fresh crunchy fruit, with a rich background suggesting of spice, chocolate, toast, coffee, herbs and walking in the damp bush.

It is stylish and textural with an aftertaste that lingers for ages.

Four and a half stars (out of five)

Average value

www.neudorf.co.nz

• These two expensive (but by no means the most expensive) New Zealand pinots show two poles of excellence, The Neudorf Home Vineyard is like a ballerina, lively, charming, graceful, but with a steely strength and long, lively after taste.

The Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Terrace is more powerful with savoury, textural characters that are likely to take on a gaminess with a few years of age. It is also lively and graceful, perhaps more like a modern dancer.

Both are satisfying with long aftertastes you can savour for a while without needed another sip.


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

- charmian.smith@odt.co.nz

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