edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
2013 & 2012 vintages
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 10 Jan 2015
Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my Pinot Noir notes, listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.
Click here for a fact file of Pinot Noir in New Zealand.
              [1999 and older] [index]
Akarua RUA Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Rich ruby red with violet flashes, this youthful-hued wine has a savoury bouquet with black cherries and hints of dried rose petals, and the taste is full-bodied and creamy with a lush, plush texture, a touch of anise, smoky oak, juicy red and black cherries and hints of mushrooms. Lots of seductiveness in this value-packed noir from the Bannockburn sub-region and an interesting contrast to the finer-textured Marlborough wine. 14% alc. $22.99. 26Nov2014.
Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Ruby marone with a sweet perfume of rosehips and cherries with nuances of smoky bacon. A sultry savoury wine, rather seductive from the outset, with spiced cherries, caramelised oak, hints of anise-like spices and a sweet earthy depth. Persistent and flavoursome on the lingering finish but quite primary at the moment, leaving behind a dry, slightly puckery mouthfeel. An age-worthy wine that needs more time and will definitely reward with cellaring. This label is superb with a little age. 13.5% alc. $51.99. 16Jul2014.
Lowburn Ferry Home Block Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This rich ruby-purple hued wine is enticingly fragrant with a delightful floral note infusing the spiced cherry aromatics with a pleasing earthy aura and a touch of dried thyme. There’s considerable depth to the flavours with the savouriness an upfront highlight together with spiced mushrooms, an edgy touch of herb and juicy bittersweet fruits of the forest bringing the long succulent finish all into balance. Firm with fine tannins, an outstanding wine. 14% alc. $47.99. 3Dec2014.
Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) The bouquet is earthy and savoury with red and black cherry fruit, perhaps even a hint of fresh blueberry, all following through to the palate where a spicy richness comes through with a touch of chocolate and a crushed velvet flow. It seems a little stalky on the finish, which can be polarizing, but that's a winemaking decision to hone in the voluptuous nature of Central grown Pinot Noir grapes. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 7Jan2015.
Peregrine Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Smoky and savoury with a smooth silky flow, creamy oak and fruit that is reminiscent of raspberries and cherries, a little confectionary maybe, but there's a well balanced spiciness with a touch of pepper momentarily on the finish that balances it nicely. An easy drinking style for summer nights. 13% alc. $23.99. 7Jan2015.
Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Attractive ruby hued with a gem-like translucency, this has a beguiling fragrance with subtle floral notes, toasty wood smoke and black cherries. Fine textured, silky, smoky and savoury in the medium-bodied palate with bittersweet cherry fruit and a smooth succulent finish. Fabulous wine for an under $20 price. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 15Oct2014.
Satellite Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Seemingly a lighter styled pinot with its translucent ruby hue, but there is plenty of oomph in this silky fruit driven style. There an enticing smoky nuance to the light red fruits scent and a pleasing spicy savoury undercurrent to the cranberry and raspberry fruit with a touch of vanillin on the lifted finish. Made by Spy Valley. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 8Oct2014.
Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Clear ruby with cerise tints. Very fragrant with violet candies and cherryish - quite a sweet perfume. The violets come through in the smooth succulent juicy red fruit palate with lovely savoury notes in behind, hints of cinnamon, fruit cake spices and it finishes dry. Nice expression on the finish for such an early release. Seems very quaffable but would go well with mushrooms, bacon etc. 12.5% alc. $17.95. 12Nov2013.
Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright and youthful in hue with purple plum highlights and the bouquet, infused with cracked red berry fruit, smells velvety and divine. Powerful in its palate presence, with flavours reminiscent of braised mushrooms in anise, smoky bacon, cherries and thyme, this is a big wine in the context of many pinots coming out of Central Otago recently, but it is silky and fine at the same time. Exceptional quality for the price. Delicious wine. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 27Aug2014.
Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This youthful fruity number is shiny, crimson-tinged dark ruby with smoky cake spice notes on the nose and cinnamon-like nuances most dominant in the palate with juicy black cherries and a beguiling smoky savoury note in behind. Acidity is fresh and the tannins still a little firm - they will integrate nicely with a little more time. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 30Apr2014.
Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This has a translucent ruby hue and primary black cherry fruit shines through both on the nose and in the spicy, savoury palate that has an earthy, savoury undercurrent with a bit of a woody edge. Tannins are fine but still firm and the wine is structured, concentrated and complex with excellent potential to age. 14% alc. $37.99. 5Mar2014.
Akarua Rua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Magenta rimmed purple red. Earthy nuances to the (anise-infused) spicy oak scent, firm and just a little grippy in the palate, with a spicy, almost peppery flourish. Lovely fruit balance – spiced cherries, plums and even a suggestion of chocolate on the succulent, lip smacking finish. From Bannockburn, this is very tasty and one of the better Pinots tasted from 2012 so far. 14% alc. $21.99. 10Jul2013.
Ceres Composition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Very deep dark and rich both in colour and flavour, this is a bit of a blockbuster as far as pinot noirs go, yet still retains essential and enthralling pinosity. It is fragrantly scented and rich and full-flavoured with a vibrant spicy zesty infusion to the bright red fruit flavours that are underpinned by a compelling gamey savouriness, and finishes with a dusting of chocolate dust and lingering mushroom notes. Bannockburn fruit. 14% alc. $33.99. 29Oct2014.
Charcoal Gully Sally's Pinch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) There's a dark cherry colour to the hue of this beautifully fragrant and inviting pinot with aromas of smoky savoury oak, roasted herbs and spiced macerated red cherries. But it is intriguingly more savoury than fruity in the silk-edged velvety textured palate with a herb and citrus brightness to the finish that is embossed with wild rose hips and brambles with underlying hints of mocha. From Central’s Pisa sub-region. 14% alc. $27.99. 29Oct2014.
Chard Farm Finla Mor Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This is a much fuller style of Pinot with a ruby colour, savoury aromas, velvety tannins, spicy oak and generous plum and black cherry fruit. Dry, spicy, earthy and a little gamey on the finish, you could call this a 'funky' style. 13.5% alc. $42.99. 8Jan2014.
Clos Henri Petit Clos Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) The nose of this medium-weight garnet red coloured wine is shy but reveals hints of cherries. It's very dry and has quite firm tannins in the palate, which is unusual for NZ pinot but probably a result of French winemaking influence. A lovely savoury beetrooty Pinot, which expands beautifully in the palate and leaves a lingering taste of cranberries and cherries. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 8Jan2014.
Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Bright pinky red. Smoky and savoury on the nose with a subtle fragrance of Central Otago's wild thyme. Juicy and savoury with underlying acidity providing brightness and zing. Lovely tannin structure, it has some grip but that is part of this wine's charm. Full-bodied, sensual and savoury with spiced cherries on the long succulent finish. This and the Akarua tasted alongside it show great promise for Central Otago 2012. 14% alc. $51.99. 10Jul2013.
Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Vibrant deep ruby black hue. Very generous on the inviting nose with nuances of chocolate and cherries. Full bodied and juicy to the taste with creamy oak, opulent black cherry and plum fruit and a smooth harmonious flow with a spicy flourish to the finish and some lovely savoury notes as the wine lingers. Perhaps a little bit of grip too. Like the potential here for aging. 13.5% alc. $43.99. 27Nov2013.
Greystone Waipara Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deep ruby red with an almost black core. Wonderfully attractive aromatics - fruity yet funky in an exciting and evocative way. Full bodied and creamy with black cherries and rose petals underpinned by a deep earthy savouriness and tannins that are remarkably silky and fine. Such a gorgeous texture to this wine. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 4Dec2013.
Gunn Estate Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Quite ruby in colour, this is immediately generous, fruity and mouthfilling with sweet, ripe fruit that's heading towards jammy. I taste plums and prunes and then ribena. A smooth, soft style of pinot with cigar box-like oak, a touch of leather and a hint of mushroom. Pinot for Merlot drinkers because it really doesn’t taste like Pinot Noir at all. Far too jammy and sweet for me. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 26Apr2013.
Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich ruby maroon with heady scents of crushed chocolate biscuits, dried thyme, dry roasted rosemary and black cherries. A meaty, savoury tasting pinot with smooth tannins imparting a creamy texture, a herbal infusion and juicy Morello cherry fruit all melding together for the rich, flavoursome finish. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 29Oct2014.
Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This has a vibrant ruby violet hue with an inviting sweet smoky scent encompassing aromas of bottled red cherries. Vibrantly fruity in the palate – again bottled red cherries come to mind – with a hint of vanilla, a lovely savoury inflection, a touch of salami and mushrooms braised in fragrant spices and thyme. The fruit is plump and juicy, almost luscious, but there is well balanced acidity while the tannins are silky with a firm edge and the wine finishes dry. 12.5% alc. $24.99. 11Jun2014.
Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Translucent purple red with a very inviting bouquet that's delicately spicy and floral with sensual gamey notes coming through. It has a gorgeous fine silky texture with flavours reminiscent of violets and juicy sun-ripened red and purple berries, and the finish is savoury and long. Very stylish and great buying at the price. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 6Nov2013.
Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Moderate weight purple ruby hue. Hints of macerated strawberry and cherry on the slightly restrained scent, then dry and savoury in the medium weight palate. Undeniably Pinot Noir with its soft smooth tannins, bittersweet red fruits and subtle herb notes, it's ready to enjoy now. 14% alc. $25.99. 12Feb2014.Ruby garnet in hue with a candied cherry aroma that has a savoury aura and an enticing anise-like spiciness wafting through. Quite dry in the palate, it has sautéed mushroom and bacon notes and distinctive woody herb savouriness with bittersweet cherry fruit, rosehips and aromatic spices. There is just a touch of grip to the fine textured tannins and an underlying brightness that carries the finish but it is to be noted it needs a bit of cuddly warmth before serving at this time of year (i.e. winter in NZ). Gold Medal Decanter 2014. 14% alc. $25.99. 23Jul2014.
Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Ruby maroon in hue with a lovely smoky savoury cherry bouquet, it's spicy and a little gamey in the medium to full-bodied palate with hints of rosemary and musky rose petal characters, juicy berry fruit, a dry savoury backbone, velvet-edged silky tannins and a long bright finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 18Sep2013.
Mud House Claim 431 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark pinky red. Perfumed with earth, game, fragrant spices and black cherries, this enticingly scented wine tastes immediately appealing with its super smooth texture, juicy red fruits and hints of chocolate beautifully supported by a spicy, savoury undercurrent with thyme-like herbs infusing the long silky finish. Soft, rounded and velvety all the way through, it’s an irresistible style of Pinot. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 25Jun2014.
Nanny Goat 'Super Nanny' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Exciting woodsmoke on the nose, then in the palate it is lifted and spicy with beautifully balanced oak in the background together with hints of thyme, Xmas cake spices, plums and cherries and appealing smoky savoury flavours lingering. It seems soft, sensual and velvety but the firm, assertive finish shows its youth. 14.2% alc. $45.99. 6Aug2014.
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark ruby with touches of purple. The bouquet emanates an exciting herbal savouriness with a spicy brightness and an earthy mushroom intrigue, these traits carrying through to the sensual silky textured palate where they are joined by bittersweet cherry and cranberry fruit with bright zesty orange citrus notes coming through. Compounding in power, with a lick of chocolate to the lovely smoky, savoury finish, this stand-out wine is made from Parkburn and Gibbston Valley fruit. 14% alc. $39.99. 29Oct2014.
Saint Clair Block 14 Doctors Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark cherry red with sweet berry fruit on the nose and a rich, powerful presence in the palate. It's juicy, almost luscious, with gentle tannins, a spicy flourish and those almost funky, hard to describe bittersweet red fruits on the lingering finish. A show of hands proved this wine was very popular on the night. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 6Nov2013.
Sileni The Plateau Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2012(sc) Dark ruby with dark cherry hints. The bouquet is floral with juicy cherry notes and a touch of spice. Ah, this is so much more complex (than the early release 2013) in flavour profile and bodyweight. A touch of spice, more citrussy, sumac-like spices. Dry and concentrated, lovely array of juicy red/black cherry. Some interesting stalky notes coming through on the finish keeps the sweet fruit in check. Lovely mouthcoating textural complexity and very desirable hints of anise. 13% alc. $34.95. 12Nov2013.
Terra Sancta Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Ruby in hue with a touch of purple, the slightly floral bouquet emanates earthy notes with fragrant spicy red berries. While initially it seems slightly grippy and edgy it becomes quite creamy with red berries, early season plums, smoky savoury notes, dried herbs and a touch of citrus that morphs into jaffa that is very appealing. Bannockburn fruit. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 29Oct2014.
Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich ruby red with a gorgeous aroma that emanates spiced cherries and plums with a lovely savoury note wafting through, the succulent fruit a feature in the juicy palate together with smoky, savoury, gamey notes and a spicy touch of anise. Smooth and just so easy to like. 14.3% alc. $21.99. 25Sep2013.
Terrace Edge Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deep purple ruby with a glossy sheen. Aromatic, smoky and savoury with spiced cherry, rose petal and musky scents and flavours that are bright and spicy with a floral allure, a hint of chocolate, underlying smoky bacon savouriness and thyme-like herbs. Firmly structured but very silky, lovely purity and a texture that is caressing and seductive – a young wine with a long way to go. 13% alc. $26.99. 2Oct2013.
Thistle Ridge Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Medium weight ruby hue. Quite plummy on the nose with a smoky, savoury infusion. Spicy and savoury with fine silky tannins, dried cherry and cranberry fruit, underlying smoky oak and a bright, almost floral nuance to the long dry, smooth, rounded finish. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 27Nov2013.
Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Intense deep purple red with an inky depth, there's woodsmoke on the nose and it's quite dry to the taste yet has a very appealing smooth rounded texture. It's like Pinot Noir on steroids with its succulent cherry and plum fruit, bold savoury, gamey notes and bright spicy finish with hints of anise. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 9Oct2013.
Urlar Gladstone Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich, ruby violet hue. Lovely smoky savoury bouquet with spiced maraschino cherry notes coming through. Concentrated, spice, smoky and savoury with richness of cherry and spiced plum fruit with a slight tamarillo-like note and a citrussy edge. Underlying savoury oak, forest floor, bacon and herb stuffed mushrooms in the background bring the fruit sweetness into check. Tannins are fine but have a bit of a furry edge. Lovely fruit brightness on the finish. Excellent match to lightly peppered fillet steak accompanied with braised mushrooms and roast vegetables. 13% alc. $37. 1May2014.
Valli Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deep ruby red in colour with a sensuous smokiness to the fragrant almost floral scent; firm in the palate, still quite youthful but fleshes out beautifully to become plush and generous with great depth and presence. Concentrated black cherry fruit, exciting spices, a touch of strawberry chocolate and smoky notes from the scent coming forth to linger on the deeply savoury finish. Emphatic, memorable wine. 13.5% alc. $66.99. 5Feb2014.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark cherry red. Fragrantly smoky with enticing woody spices and red and black cherries filling the bouquet and the taste is full-bodied, luxurious and plush with a beautiful fine silky texture, generous black cherry and juicy purple fruits, well balanced savouriness, a whisper of cake spices and a harmonious finish that just flows. From the Ben Morven region on the southern side of the Wairau Valley. 13.5% alc. $48.99. 29Oct2014.
Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark ruby red. Enticing woodsmoke scent with chocolate-coated spiced cherry nuances in behind, all those characters carrying through to the super succulent, velvety textured palate that has exciting sweet / savoury harmony. There's juicy black cherry fruit, underlying earthy savouriness and smoky oak with wonderful length and flow. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 5Feb2014.
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