Pinot noirs from beyond Otago

As part of the school from home that all families went through during lockdown a wee while back, my wife and I did a little vocabulary exercise with our daughter.

One of the words was ‘‘vicarious’’, which seems very appropriate for the times.

By phone, Zoom or the pages of a book you can meet friends or travel vicariously.

Similarly, a glass of wine allows you to journey to other parts of the country or the world, evoking memories of vineyards, people and places.

Today’s collection took me by glass to Martinborough, Marlborough and Waipara, and a fun journey it was.

2019 Zephyr Pinot Noir

Price RRP $31.99
Rating Very good to excellent

Perfumed, fragrant,
hinting at violets, a
little touch of
bramble later. A
refined, elegant style
with crunch and
chewiness to the
texture and a sense
of delicacy to the red
fruits and spices.
Driven along nicely
by the acidity, this is
fresh and bright.

2020 Helio Martinborough Pinot Noir

Price  RRP $40
Rating Excellent

A smoky nuance
turns savoury, adding
raspberry and red
berries. A savoury
core adds flecks of
green herb and olive
with a tangy, zesty
quality. Appealing
texture, the wine
growing in
suppleness and
roundness yet the
tannic structure
reminds you of its
presence. Fruit and
savoury notes hang
on the long finish. A
richer style.

2019 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir

Price RRP $54
Rating Excellent

Bolder, bigger wine, a
wild hint, lead pencil/
pencil shavings, the
darker fruits adding a
sweeter touch,
florality later. Volume
in the mouth with
plum and cranberry
and a little black tea.
Powerfully structured
but in balance. Shy to
start, growing as it
opens with savoury/
charcuterie notes and
earth. Its youthful
chewiness shows,
built for the future.

2018 Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir

Price  RRP $43
Rating Outstanding

Dusty, sweet fruit,
tilled earth, spices,
chocolate, flirting
with a funky nuance.
Immediately mouth-
filling, managing the
balancing act of ripe
fruit without excess
with excellent
integration and
balance. Super
texture with hints of
tea leaf and umami
on the close.
Everything just works
here; already drinking

2018 Craggy Range Te Muna Rd Vineyard Martinborough Pinot Noir

Price RRP $49.95
Rating Very good to excellent

Funky notes, forest
floor, tilled earth
moving to sweet fruit
and florality,
becoming savoury
over time. Bright and
youthfully vibrant
flirting with
brashness but the
flavour intensity wins
the day. There’s a
tangy quality to the
fruit that keeps this
fresh, becoming
more rounded and
supple over time. In
the slot to enjoy now.

2019 Main Divide Pinot Noir

Price RRP $24.99
Rating Excellent

Bolder nose,
blueberry, cranberry,
raspberries, spices,
wild herbs. The
palate in a different
register at first, more
tightly wound with a
cooler feel to the fruit
expression, crunchy
chewiness and
youthful liveliness. Air
opens this up nicely
as it becomes quite
expressive and
rounded, showing a
savoury core on the
close. Really starting
to hit its straps.


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