Easy to overlook northern offerings

Living in Otago, we are blessed with easy access to a wealth of great pinot noir and, from speaking to wine shop owners over the years, it is clear that our local customer base enjoys ‘‘drinking local’’.

It can be easy to overlook the raft of pinot noirs that are produced north of these parts. Marlborough and North Canterbury have double the area of Central Otago devoted to pinot noir grapes and, while a swag of that goes into bubbles production, the volume remaining often means that pricing is very fair, as seen in today’s selection.

2019 Hunter’s Offshoot
Marlborough

Price: $24.99
Rating: Excellent

Attractive nose with red fruits, raspberry dusty gravel, earthiness, a  liquorice-like hint, wild herbs later. Juicy, bright fruit, crunchiness and grainy tannins, leading to a long, silky juniper and wild herb-accented finish. Lovely depth of ripe fruit and, while youthful, there is already good integration and balance. Vibrant and very drinkable at a smart price.

www.hunters.co.nz

2018 Main Divide

Price: $24.99
Rating: Very good

Graphite  and charry oak lead the nose; rich fruit here too yet a little bound up. Lead pencil, rubber, rich fruit meet up with powerful tannins and racy acidity: this feels like a lot of effort and ingredient  have gone into making it, yet it still seems to need time to fully integrate. Time sees this soften and flesh out, so the best is likely yet to come.

www.maindivide.com

2019 Jules Taylor
Marlborough

Price: $32.99
Rating: Excellent

Vibrant nose, richly fruited with raspberry and wild herbs, yet freshness  and lift too. Red and dark fruits frame the powerful palate, spices, a little tamarillo with time. Develops an appealing sappiness and vibrancy, which adds coolness to the long, richly fruited close. Youthful, but already nicely integrated with superb drinkability, and potential too.

www.julestaylor.com

2018 Opawa
Marlborough 

Price: $28
Rating: Very good

Subtle but floral with red fruits and tilled earth, spices with time. There’s a little wildness to the palate, raspberry joining the mix along with cranberry, a stalky nuance and chewy, grainy tannins. A lightness and aerial quality to this zestiness to the palate with red fruits hanging on the close. 

www.opawawine.com

2019 Main Divide

Te Hau Reserve
North Canterbury 

Price: $32.99
Rating: Very good to excellent

Raspberry, dark  and liqueur fruits, oak scents and a brown-paper nuance. With its youthful boldness, this a real impact pinot noir driven by powerful raspberry, loganberry and spice before flowing to an intriguing yet beguiling bittersweet note on the finish. A powerful style that will suit fans of bigger reds; drinking really well.

www.maindivide.com

2017 Mills Reef

Reserve
Marlborough

Price: $24.95
Rating: Very good

Fragrance and florality, rose petal, strawberry and wild herb, a little funkiness with aeration. A lighter-bodied palate showing earth/humus, mixed berryfruits and a tangy quality. Aeration brings the first hints of secondary characters on that rich, earthy backdrop. A svelte style in the slot to enjoy now.

www.millsreef.co.nz

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