edited by Sue Courtney
Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 26 Aug 2006
[2008/2007]        [1999 and older] [index]
Akarua The Gullies Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2001 Just bottled. A lighter style cherry pinot with quite lifted fruit, plenty of warm berry and spice. Thyme-like herbs. Good acidity and lift on the finish. Pleasing length. Has the Central Otago 'x factor'. Good value at NZ$29.95. 22Jul2002.
Akarua Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2001 This is deeper in colour than 'The Gullies'. There's lots of spice on the nose and riper fruit in the palate. A little more concentrated and a drier, richer wine - more of what I would expect from a New World style. 22Jul2002.
Alana Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Smoky with dark cherries, sweet mushroom and firm velvety tannins, a little charry with some dark chocolate oak on the lifted finish. This is a rich and juicy pinot with lovely balance and flavour and some finesse. Very long in flavour with a touch of citrus and a lovely spice profile that lingers well. 27% new oak. 13% alcohol. RRP $44. 16Oct2002.
Alexander Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Hint of an oxidative character on the nose. Quite tight. Very clovey. Good underlying fruit that appears a bit stewed at first. Flannel texture. Chocolate notes on the savoury finish. Lingers well. 13.5%. 16Oct2002.
Ata Rangi Young Vines Pinot Noir 2001 (Wairarapa). Lovely ripe cherry fruit and a savoury oak fragrance, then in the mouth a lovely texture and richness with cherry, oak and lingering spice. It reminds me a bit of some of the flagship Ata Rangi pinot of a few years ago, when they too were from young vines. Excellent value for money at around $30. 18Sep2001.
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2001 Wonderfully fragrant nose. A powerfully flavoured pinot with violets, musk, allspice, cherries and even a hint of chocolate that adds to the complexity and richness. A fine seam of citrus lifts the wine while oak plays in the background. A kind of an oily fruit character comes out on the finish. Quite grunty tannins and an earthy richness. A good wine that will reward cellaring. Top stuff. 9Sep2002.
Bannock Brae Goldfields Pinot Noir 2001 Ruby garnet in colour, smelling of red berries and rose petals with an underlying creaminess, it's laden with ripe cherries and plums with a hint of pepper and a touch of forest floor. A lighter style than we've become accustomed to with the 2002 Central pinots, it is nevertheless beautifully balanced with a long savoury finish and sweet fruit lingering. 14% alc. $29.95. 10Dec2003.
Black Estate Waipara Pinot Noir 2001 A smoky wine with fragrant lavender and herb, savoury spice and an earthy complexity. There's a lovely juiciness to the wine, which finishes with sweet savoury, cherry, citrus and a hint of licorice. I reckon it has great potential. Apr2002.
Burnt Spur Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Very aromatic with smoke, spice, roses, violets, chocolate and cherry fruit titillating the senses. Lovely use of oak and lots of savoury flavours in the mouth with lovely cherry fruit and some earthy characters that emerge. Subtle and long in flavour. Quite tight at this stage and perhaps a little lighter and more delicate than some of the other pinots in the room but I think it has good potential. The finish is lifted and the spice and acidity tingles the tongue. 14% alcohol.
Cairnbrae Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 The tannins hit the mouth but there is some sweet powerful musky fruit behind them. Definitely pinot, with strawberries, herbal oak and spices. NZ$25. 22Jul2002.
Carrick Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Herbal notes characterise this spicy pinot at first. It seems to be quite a delicate style with hints of violets, hints of plum and hints of macerated cherries. There's a firm seam of citrus and the finish is long and savoury. The texture is grainy and there's a touch of hotness. 13.5% alc. 9Sep2002.
Chancellor Waipara Pinot Noir 2001 Excellent colour. Slightly oxidised nose, nutty, raisins and vanillin oak. Very ripe, nutty, spicy, raisin, jammy and a prickly finish. 3/5. (had this wine before and thought it quite good). 17Oct2002.
Chard Farm River Run Pinot Noir 2001 Purple hues. Smoky nose. Cherry, herbs and engine oil, a little stalky and green. Some earthy notes and a touch of savoury but can't get enthused. Seems over extracted with a sweetish raspberry jam finish. Nice flavour lingers however. $30. 24Jul2002.
Chard Farm Finla Mor Pinot Noir 2001 - Central Otago Good depth of youthful pinky red colour and an attractive aroma of smoke, violets, cherries and herbs, this is like most of us want pinot to be like. This is a well-balanced wine with a reasonable tannin structure and a savoury gamey flavour with cherries, rosemary and a hint of licorice. The flavours linger well with well-integrated French oak, an earthy rural richness and a squeeze of sweet fruit to lift it. 13.5% alc. $39.95. 21May2003. ****
Claddagh Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Well-coloured. Good aromas, spice some mocha, rich, chocolatey and dense, hints of licorice. Sweet fruit, dark cherry and plum with a touch of spice on the hot finish. 30% new oak. 14% alc. 16Oct2002.
Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Burgundy red in colour. Meaty oak with hints of smoky bacon and vanilla on the nose. The oak is spicy in the mouth and is joined by herbs and cherries that are a little tart at first. The wine takes a while to open up but rich chocolate cherry and black fruits emerge. The finish is savoury with a touch of tar and firmly tannins. It lingers well with a velvety richness. $39.95. 5Mar2003.
Coney Martinborough 'Pizzicato' Pinot Noir 2001 Beautiful medium depth ruby hues. Fruity aromas with fruitcake, cherry, tar and plenty of creamy (almost ice-cream like) nuances. However it is light in the palate with bitter charcoal and meaty flavours. Others say 'smoky bacon' but seems faulty to me. 2/5. Based on the tasting at Toast Martinborough, this was faulty - better notes follow. 10Oct2002.
CK Wines Terrace Downs Pinot Noir 2001 Cherry red in colour. Sweetly scented, quite delicate or perhaps just closed. A meaty savoury flavoured wine with sweet cherry and spice, velvety tannins and lavender nuances.
Crossroads Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2001 A fruity style of pinot with ripe raspberry and strawberry fruit, smoke, meat, tar, soft tannins, good structure and length, but the fruit overpowers the other components. Sharp, light dry finish that is savoury tomato in flavour. OK at the introductory level for drinking this winter. 15/20. $24.95. 22Mar2003.
Daniel Schuster Omihi Hills Selection 2001 This dense ruby-hued wine is complex mouth filling ripe and creamy with wild berry smoky aromas and interesting funky flavours of musk, tar, allspice, cherries, plums, tamarillo, herbs and lavender. Beautifully balanced with a smooth velvety texture, the finish is long and complex with just a hint of earthiness that adds complexity without overpowering. It's fantastically concentrated and the oak is almost honeyed. I scored it 19/20. $60. 29Sep2002. WOTW 6Oct2002.
Daniel Schuster Two Vineyards Pinot Noir 2001 (Canterbury) Nice, fairly intense aromas. Spicy, baked bready fruit in the palate. Ripe style with flavours more into the plum to blackcurrant spectrum. Lots of spice, with some wet wool(?) and earthy flavours. Good flavoursome wine with some good fruit tannin and lifted cherry fruit lingering with a hint of herbs. Fabulous length and good value for money @ $25. 20Mar2002.
Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 is one of the country's most lauded pinots but this very youthful wine needs time to unfold. It's deep purple in colour with violet hints. It's earthy, gamey and savoury with macerated strawberry and cherry, subdued oak and hints of musk, dried herbs and roses. The flavour is long, smooth and sumptuous. I thought perhaps there was a touch of volatile acidity on this wine as it seemed higher toned than the others at first but it blew off to reveal a densely concentrated beautifully balanced wine with intricate flavours. Starting out as a subtle and understated wine, it finished powerfully. 18.5/20. $75. 29Sep2002.
Drylands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Bright pinky red with light to medium intensity. Cherry fruity style, quite approachable with riper fruit, and creamy chocolatey oak. A 'drink now' style. The oak became quite disjointed after a while. 15Aug2002.
Escarpment Cleland Vineayrd Pinot Noir 2001 Tight at first but then the flavours start to explode in the mouth. The notes on the back of the bottle state 'clove' and this description is spot on. There's plenty of other woody spices but those clove flavours are right there. As I taste the wine I'm cooking my new favourite, 'Spiced Mushrooms in Pinot Noir' with clove, anise, herb, garlic and onion. Those aromas and the wine could be one. It's a meaty wine, quite thick in texture, rich tannins, allspice predominated with clove, ripe pinot fruit and the delicious scent of roses that lifts the finish of the flavours linger in the mouth. An excellent debut wine for the label but very tight and needs time. 6Oct2002.
Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Deep red. Sweeter nose with cherry chocolate. Plenty of acidity in the mouth upfront. Strawberry and cherry fruit , thyme again, smoky bacon, tar, fruit cake spice, tingly grapefruit acidity and a sweet chocolate-like flavour on the finish. $45 2 days later: Very savoury and herbal with thyme, mint, and rosemary. Quite acidic red fruits - think tamarillo and cranberry. Powdery tannins. Cinnamon and clove spices linger. I like it better today. 19Jun2002.
Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2001 - Central Otago. A well coloured dark ruby/black coloured wine with opulent and alluring scents of sweet cherry and cedary French oak. There's a myriad of flavours in the mouth although they are very tightly wound up in the youthful tannins of this medium-bodied wine right now. It's creamy textured, savoury and smoky with spice, cherries, dusty blackberries, mature meadow mushrooms, smoky bacon, a hint of anise and a touch of woody herbs. There's plenty of acidity too, which makes the dry 'sucking on a cherry stone' finish quite puckery and more-ish. An excellent wine with a long life ahead of it. $63.95. 22Jan2003.
Fiddlers Green Pinot Noir 2001 - Waipara Terrific colour, deep purple red with bright ruby rims, this is so New Zealand pinot on the nose. Subtle cedary oak, lots of clove-like spices, strawberries, black cherries, hints of mushrooms and a rain forest mossy earthiness. A little savoury on the finish with dried herbs and lingering pinot fruit flavours with perhaps a touch of chocolaty oak too. Lovely texture, lovely depth. Very good indeed. $39.95. 19Mar2003.
Floating Mountain Waipara Pinot Noir 2001 Wow, the flavour of this wine is just lovely. Sweet, spicy and very ripe fruit. Tamarillos and cherries with a tangy herbal edge. Very smooth and satin-sheet like. Dangerous wine - goes down very easily and before you know it, you will be between the satin sheets. The flavours are complex and I find strawberry, tamarillo, plum, musk, spice in this vinous, powerful, powdery, long, full and rich wine. 18Jul2002.
Fromm Marlborough Fromm Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001 Like it's younger brother (see 2002 notes) there are still some rich tannins in here - 'like Burgundy' - says Hatsch. This is a wine made to last, as all the Fromm pinots are. It's rich, almost a honey nectar character if that can be said of pinot. There's absolutely massive concentration in this wine with black cherry, plums, leather and savoury oak. The wine has amazing richness and length. 26Aug2003.
Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Lovely bright purple hues. Chocolate, citrus, herbs, a nice earthy depth with a touch of tar. Cherries, forest floor, barnyard, savoury, creamy oak. Beetroot. Musk. What a top quality wine. I love it. Already rated as a Wine of the Week. 10Jul2002
Greenhough Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 This is a light coloured pinot compared to majority of the pinot noirs on the market today,. It's a cherry colour of medium density with a fruity aroma reminiscent of strawberry and morello cherry. In the mouth it's a soft little number with surprisingly good weight. It's warm and velvety with the cherry fruit to the fore, then a nice touch of fruitcake spices and a quick zing of citrus rind. There's a touch of raw white mushroom too and fragrant herbs emerge to linger on the fruity and subtlely savoury finish. This is a medium style without great length but one that should please the plates this summer. A good wine for a second tier. 19Sep2002.
Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 (sc) A deeply coloured and deeply savoury flavoured wine with dried herbs, mulled wine spices and musk joining strawberry, tamarillo and the drying flavours of sucking on a cherry stone. It's a little earthy - not overly so. There's some smoky oak, again not overly so. Smooth and velvety slightly furry tannins try to cling to the teeth while good acidity shows its presence on the long lingering brightly flavoured finish. I like the lingering flavours that remind me of citrus slices that have been soaked in mulled wine. WOTW 14Jul2002.
Gibbston Valley Gold River Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Dark purple-cherry colour of medium density. This is a little ripper of a pinot with savoury, earthy aromas and classic varietal characters of cherry, spice, black forest, moss and herbs with warm velvety tannins, smoky savoury oak and a ripe fruit finish. Better than many others at a higher price and show just how the 2001 Central Otago vintage was. $26. 15Aug2002.
Gibbston Valley Reserve Pinot Noir 2001 A fairly opaque wine, deep coloured purple red with purple hues. There's smoky oak at first on nose with a fragrance that reminds me of - wait for it - grapefruit. On the first glass I find flavours of plum, tamarillo, thyme and macerated cherries. It's a very seamless. It's heady. On the second glass the chocolate oak and the savoury characters of the wine come through. The wine is savoury, but not earthy. I just love the savouriness of this wine. I can't detect spice but citrus is there is a piquant way. A couple of days later, however, there is definitely spice - so expect spice with a little age. WOTW 14Jul2002
Herzog Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 A big seductive style with a wonderfully smooth flow and a perfect example of harmony on the palate when consumed with the right food. Dense and deeply coloured wine, concentrated fruit, rich, full, smooth and creamy with a slightly spicy backbone and a chocolate richness. Tasted with food. 29Jan2004.
Huia Pinot Noir 2001 Grape garnet colour of good depth and intensity. Intriguing aroma of bread, cherry, herbs and oil. Ripe strawberry and cherry fruit, earthy notes and a long savoury finish. 23Sep2002.
Isabel Marlborough Pinot Noir 2000 Cherry red in colour. Spicy aromas made me sneeze. It is a little varnishy too. Fresh mushrooms, herbs, savoury-like wine. Long finish with flashes of citrus. Good colour. Good fruit. 8.5/10. 31Jul2002.
Kawarau Estate Pinot Noir 2001 (non-reserve) Lovely ruby hues. Earthy, cherry, smoke and tar aroma. Very subtle 'potty' character and hints of mulled wine citrus. In the mouth, citrus, savoury, earth, ripe cherry, herbs, tea and spice which comes later. Quite a distinctive and attractive pinot. 4/5. 17Oct2002.
Kawarau Estate Central Otago Reserve Pinot Noir 2001 Good colour. Smoky funky aroma with tar, oil, sheep dags and cherry fruit that tends toward plum. This is a really rich and complex interesting style with really funky, savoury, gamey, 'sucking on a cherry stone' pinot flavour, ripe tannins, good texture and structure. It's a well-balanced wine with a hint of citrus on the finish that flares like a peacock's tail. This is a terrific wine that stands out in a line-up. Also see this review. 10Oct2002.
Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 This is quite a creamy wine with some juicy plum over cherries. A fairly approachable style with spice and even hints of pepper. Quite different to the others here. Nice fruits and woody spices linger. NZ$39.95 22Jul2002.
Lawsons Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 (sc) Well coloured. Cherry aromas and flavours with spice, herb, hints of musk, savoury meatiness, velvety tannins and good length. A mouthfilling flavoursome wine that was an excellent accompaniment to herbed lamb and kumara mash. Will develop well. 15Aug2002.
Mahi Byrne Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001 A huge pinot, dark garnet red in colour. Strongly flavoured, brambly, pruney, stalky, spicy, cranberry, meaty, savoury. Heaps of extraction, heaps of oak and probably heaps of alcohol. 11Apr2002.
Main Divide Pinot Noir 2001 I had high hopes for this reasonably priced Canterbury pinot. It certainly had the goods on the nose. Savoury oak and spicy tamarillo fruit. More feral than the Floating Mountain 2001 tasted alongside, earthy and less fruit showing on the nose. In the mouth it is a savoury wine, not as well structured, just nicely flavoured and an easy drinking style. Lots of stewed tamarillo, which I really love. But it just didn't deliver on the palate being a bit thin and short on the finish, even a little disjointed. There's lots of citrus acidity. Good purple / carmine colour, savoury pinot cherry and herbal nose. Sweet but a soapy character mid palate, rare meats, bloody, and a little metallic. crushed velvet tannins. 18Jul2002.
Margrain Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 A big rich chocolate pinot, warm, savoury, smooth and spicy with good tannin structure but a heavy wine that definitely needs to be accompanied with food. Has the intricacy of some developed characters that add to its appeal. ****1/2. 8Dec2003.
Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir 2001 A light coloured pinot in depth but the solid purple hues give some indication to the power within. There's an oily nuance at first on the nose. It's ripe and rich in the mouth with abundant cherry and light chocolate flavours. There's a fine seam of citrus, a nice savoury character and a hint of earthy, mossy, forest floor. Good tannin structure gives power and intensity to the flavour. Oak is beautifully integrated. There's some juiciness to the fruit and the finish lingers with hints of violets, old roses, herbs and subtle spice. A wine to develop and evolve as it will undoubtably do. 13.5% 9Sep2002.
Matariki Pinot Noir 2001 A medium weight wine in appearance, there's a slightly leathery, bretty, sweaty aromas, itís dry and lean on entry with sweet strawberry and cherry fruit that emerges and lingers, a simple style that would find it hard to compete with the wines from down south. $29.50. 11Oct2003.
Matua Valley Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2001 Intensely rich with dense tannins and a silky texture, it is savoury and a little earthy with crisp spices, cloves and ripe fruit tending a bit toward tamarillo emerging on the powerful finish. There's an interesting funky character and the finish is sweet and long. 18.5/20. $27. 29Sep2002.
Melness Paton Pinot Noir 2001 (Canterbury) Ruby red, good density, it smells of cherry and chocolate with a backing of Smoky oak. A little biscuity, slightly piquant to the taste, it has a lovely flavour, smooth and velvety with ripe fruit, savoury smoky oak, rich and delicious with lovely velvety slightly liquorice berry flavours on the finish. Perfect as an accompaniment to Chicken Thighs stuffed with Camembert & Prunes and Wrapped in bacon. 12.5%. 12Jun2004.
Montana Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Garnet coloured pinot with spicy, smoked herb, tamarillo and cherry scents. A light style that is a little tart at first with its well stated acidity and smoky herb and raspberry flavours. Then some more complexity creeps in with cherry, damp leaf strewn ground and a vinous spiced cranberry jam finish. This wine really improves with a day or two sitting in the bottle and although it is a bit short, I feel at the price it offers extremely good value in the pinot-drinking department. 23May2000. $15.
Montana Marlborough Reserve Pinot Noir 2001 Cherry, allspice, bright fruit aromas, upfront spice in palate, richer tannin structure (than the 2000 tasted alongside) and creamy, spicy mellow oak is apparent. Lovely delicately strong finish with plenty of spicy cherry flavours. Well-stated tannins. 11Sep2002
Morton Estate Stone Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Deep in colour but showing a little development on the rims, earthy, slightly gamey aromas, rich tannins and savoury plummy fruit flavours characterise this weighty pinot. There's a decent structure behind this wine that's more typical of pinot with a little age. Good length and a long, spicy, earthy, savoury, tarry finish. 14% alc. $22.95. 31Jul2004.
Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001Youthful ruby pink. Rich cherry and spicy plum jam with fruit cake aromas. Quite fruity in the palate too with concentrated cherry flavours and a touch of spice. A simplistic style of pinot, however. 13.5% $23 10May2002
Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2001 Lots of spice. Quite dry and savoury with a creamy complexity and hints of chocolate and good fruit flavour of fresh black cherries. Reasonable tannins. Lingering allspice. A little hot on the finish. 11Sep2001.
Mt Difficulty Elevage Pinot Noir 2001 - Bannockburn, CO Medium colour weight with pale red garnet hues, this is quite closed on the nose, perhaps a little nutty but the fruit content on the palate is enormous. It's ripe and full with cherries, almonds, creamy chocolatey oak, firm velvety tannins and a long spicy and savoury finish. A mouthfilling fruit-driven pinot. $40.95. 26Feb2003.
Muddy Water Pinot Noir 2001 (screwcap) Light and translucent in colour with strawberry hues. Spicy aroma with cloves and aniseed. A lighter style pinot with savoury and earthy characters, tar, smoke, pepper, beetroot and a dry finish that lingers well with a nice savoury character. However, it's a bit mulled and a bit lollyish, lacking structure and complexity. 3. 16/20. 10Oct2002.
Murdoch James Fraser Pinot Noir 2001 Bright, deep ruby-hued with pinky rims, amazingly youthful in appearance. Itís rich, ripe and velvety with peppery spices, luscious ripe plum and dark cherry fruit, vanillin oak, smooth velvety tannins and a smoky savoury finish. Packed with power and structure and finishing dry, the peppery spices are unusual, but someone said it's like a Cote du Nuit. The aftertaste is soft, mellow, smoky, earthy and just a little funky, and only then does it hint of its five years of age. A wine with pedigree and plenty of life still ahead of it. 14.5% alc. 26Jul2006.
Murdoch James Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Well-coloured pinot with aromas of spice, cinnamon, cloves and orange citrus. Rich pinot flavours with excellent cherry and plum fruit, mulled wine spices, a forest floor earthiness and a rich velvety texture. There's a long lingering finish with hints of cherry chocolate. 14% alc. 16Oct2002.
Nautilus Pinot Noir Marlborough 2001. "Hot asphalt on a summer's day" said someone. Deep ruby, bright in colour, there's definitely a chocolate raisin aroma. It tastes very ripe and creamy and a little funky, savoury and gamey with chocolatey oak, sweet strawberry and cherry fruit, zingy spice and a lovely ripe velvety tannin structure. It is ripe and round with a lovely balance of acidity and ripe savoury fruit. It is a wine that is just so totally delicious to drink now. $35.95. 8Jan2003.
Neudorf Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 (Nelson) Smoky herbal oak with cherries, spiced plums, ripe almost syrupy, nice earthy flavours. A lighter style of pinot with a nice cherry profile. But is it good value @ $37.95? 20Mar2002.
Nga Waka Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 (pre-release sample) Light ruby. Milky aromas - "vanillin oak" says Roger. I also detect rose petals. There's a little toastiness in the mouth with some earthy complexities trying to emerge then lots of cherries and wood flavours with earthy spice. Full-body with good length and great follow-thru. 22Jul2002.
Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 A pretty cherry-coloured wine, there's toast and cherries on the nose of this straight-forward Marlborough style that has cherries and chocolates in abundance. There's a slight sweetness to the finish counterbalanced by the firm tannin structure. It's creamy-textured and a user-friendly style. ***1/2. 14Aug2003.
Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 2001 Light colour and density. Quite full on up front with lovely spice and mushroom flavours, then cherries, flowers and spice again and a smoky savoury finish. 14% alc. 16Oct2002.
Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2001 Just smell this wine and you will say 'yum' and the flavours are incredibly intense also. Rich and savoury with sweet fruit and smoky oak. The flavours wax and wane. I get berry -> smoke -> savoury -> oak -> berry -> savoury -> burnt sugar. Yes, an interesting burnt sugar flavour on the finish that I find a little distractive and detractive. When next tasted 3 weeks later I discussed this character with the winemaker..."The wine spends so much time in barrel and gets this character when meeting the air. It comes out after about 2 months but will integrate well", said Matthew. 20Aug2002.
Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Well coloured pinot showing a little development on the rims. Creamy oak and lots of pinot nuances on nose, cherries, herbs, etc. Ripe and creamy in the mouth with bright fruit, rosemary-like herbs, spices, forest floor, mushrooms, anise. It's savoury, a little meaty, some tar, firm velvety tannins with a tart smoky character on finish. Very flavoursome and complex with good richness and balance. Persists in its flavour and lingers with funky, savoury, smoky notes. 18.5/20. Top wine of tasting on 22Mar2003.
Pisa Range Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 This had a funky, slightly feral aroma that is a little bready (yeasty) too. The aromas bode well but I found the wine had a tart woody, oily, bitter character in the front of the palate. Cherry fruit starts to emerge and linger and the vinous finish is very pleasing. 16/20. $37. 29Sep2002.
Porters Pinot Noir 2001 A big pinot, dense and rich with quite an elegant spice profile. Unlike others this is big upfront but subtle on the finish, closing up. Cherry and plum fruit, herbs, lavender, earthy tannins yet sweet, juicy and musky with a spicy lift to the long lingering finish. 16Oct2002.
Quartz Reef Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Tasted immediately after the Pegasus Bay and so completely different. This wine is all about texture and structure rather than fruit at this stage. Herbs and savoury flavours abound while spice fills out the finish. 20Aug2002.
Rippon Jeunesse Pinot Noir 2001 - Wanaka, CO This second label of Rippon has a light garnet hue, a smoky nose and a savoury, earthy, mushroom flavour. There's not as much cherry as one would expect from a C.O. Pinot, just a hint of fruit emerging on the more concentrated finish of this overall lean herbal style. It received a muted reaction on the night. $29.95. 26Feb2003.
Riverby Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Good deep colour with purple hues. Shy on the nose at first eventually emitting ripe red and black fruits and meaty oak. Quite full bodied with good flavour - meaty, mushroomy, dark and savoury, subtle tar, spice, quite complex with firm grunty tannins. A good style to go with food.
Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Citrus aroma - grapefruit and smoky herbs. Quite herbal in mouth with strawberry, cherries, mushrooms and smoke. Good structure and lingering musky finish. A little ripper of a wine. Something in here set me sneezing though. Made by Mt Difficulty. $29. 3Jul2002.
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 A typical young Central pinot colour of medium density with ruby garnet hues. The nose is gently spicy with cherry fruit peeking out and the merest suggestion of oak. The flavour is a little herbal on entry but quickly fills out with sweet cherry fruit, wild berry flavours and sweet spices. There's a hint of something intriguingly feral in there too along with thyme and tarragon. It's rich and wonderfully vinous in texture - very fine and svelte. The balance is fabulous and the lovely ripe finish that lingers for so so long has that seductive pinot sweetness. Fruit sourced from the Lake Hayes and Gibbston areas. 13.5% alc, 9.9g/l TA. 4 & 9 Nov 2002. WineoftheWeek 17Nov 2002.
Saint Clair Doctor's Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Deep ruby garnet with purple hues. Herbs, cherry fruit, hint of musk and citrus acidity Fruity, great texture, nice savouriness, earthy depth. Bright finish with sweet fruit and good length. Not great but certainly good and I like its price point. $26. 19Jun2002.
Siefried Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 Jammy aroma and a kind of hot herbal style but an interesting flavour that comes through & lingers. 20Aug2002.
Stonecutter Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Bright light cherry colour. Richly scented and fragrant with cherry, spice and oak. Richly flavoured with cherries, lots of lively spice, good tannins, savoury, merest hint of anise and a touch of cloves. Earthy and dense, warm and silky textured. Strawberries emerge and linger on the creamy finish. Little sips are good. Light in colour but not in flavour. 4* 10Nov2002.
Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2001 Garnet red. Fruity aromas with hints of strawberry. Spicy cherries. Velvety yet crisp. Varnishy oak, a touch of oil, a hint of tar, a suggestion of mossy forest floor. Hints of creamy chocolate while cranberry-like flavours linger. Good value. $19. 2Oct2002.
Stratford Pinot Noir 2001 Spicy aromas, rich spicy fruit, lovely savoury characters, silky texture and excellent length. A dry refined pinot that needs some time to open up. 13.5%. 16Oct2002.
Tasman Bay Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 Light in colour and not overly complex but there's some lovely sweet cherry and plum fruit, a hint of woody herbs and pretty spice. There's a touch of an oily character and a nuance that tends towards rose. It is well balanced and has good length without too much funkiness. This easy drinking wine defines value and on the night it had a star performance. 18.5/20. $19. 29Sep2002.
Te Mania Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 Stalky nose, quite a herbal style. Light in palate with strawberry cherry and leather notes and a hint of cherry chocolate on the finish. 2.5 20Aug2002.
Te Mania Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 Better concentration richness and structure in this wine. Quite dense cherry tending to plum with lifted florals tending to violets, creamy texture, quite silky for a pinot. Good colour and flavour. What is so good about this wine is the texture and then there is the lovely savoury and pretty spice characters and terrific palate weight and structure. McShane Road fruit, clones 5 & 115, 10 months in French oak of which 40% was new. Winemaker Jane Cooper. 20Aug2002.
Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2001 Earthy nose with hints of spice and morello cherries. Woody with good pinot flavours, sweet fruit, musk and a hint of citrus. Chalky in texture. Nice fruit emerges and lingers and the after-flavour is excellent with its muskiness. NZ$39. 22Jul2002.
Twin Islands Pinot Noir 2001 Light in colour and simple in style. Pretty berry fruit, a touch of savoury and sweet fruit finish. 23Sep2002.
Valli Bald Hills Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Smoky oak and cherry aromas. There are firm dry tannins at first that give way to chocolate, cherries, subtle spice and hints of cloves. It is a creamy textured wine that is nicely balanced and quite drinkable. The finish is long and dry, rich and savoury with almost mocha chocolate spice characters. A hint of apple emerges. 18/20. $45. 29Sep2002.
Valli Colleens Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2001 Immensely attractive aromatic spice aromas, it's quite earthy with savoury oak and firm tannins, dried herbs, sweet cherry fruit and a long complex finish. The higher acidity in this wine made it a terrific accompaniment to pan-fried prawns. 18.5/20. $45. 29Sep2002.
Vidal Estate Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2001 Light purple red. Aromatic, smells a little of spicy apples, a hint of chocolate too. Light in palate, lots of cinnamon spice, floral, violets but also a touch metallic. 27Apr2003.
Voss Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Lovely ripe cherry fruit, warm earthy and rich, fine tannins and a long savoury finish. I like this much better than the 2000 production of this wine. 20Aug2002.
Wai-iti River Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 Lighter style with a pleasing vinous complexity. Kind of a minty character, fragrant, herbal, lighter red cherry and strawberry fruit and a long sweet finish. "Pretty". Bottled 3 weeks when tasted. 20Aug2002.
Waipara Springs (non-reserve) Pinot Noir 2001 Toasty nutty oak. Strawberries and cherries, spice and forest floor. Nice texture and flavoursome and vibrant fruit finish. $25. 10Jul2002
Waipara Springs Reserve Pinot Noir 2001 Lovely creamy complexity to this cherry fruited earthy savoury garnet-hued wine. Ripe and rich and very drinkable. 23Sep2002.
Waiwera Nelson Pinot Noir 2001 A rich savoury wine with plenty of grunt and flavour. Cherry and earthy traits on the nose lead into the smoky oak, black cherry, bacon and savoury herb flavours that fill the palate with a tarry backbone over quite firm tannins with fruit sweetness on the smoky savoury finish and musky rose petal notes lingering. Even though a little behind the release of other wines coming out right now, it shows plenty of youth because there is plenty of acidity that will see this wine sailing on its merry way for a few more years. 13.5% alc. $29. 9Oct2004.
Walnut Ridge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2001 Pale garnet starting to fade. Mocha-like oak on the nose and crisp cherry flavours first up in the palate, the tannic, herbal, savoury, earthy, medicinal and smoky flavours take over. It's a little nutty, perhaps a little dirty in a Burgundian way with the cherry, raspberry and plum coming back into play later in the piece. Spicy oak dominates the salty finish. A little disappointing 14% alc. $28.95. 6Aug2003.
Wither Hills Pinot Noir Marlborough 2001 seems the most fruitiest wine in the line-up almost to the point of being over fruity. There's ripe cherry and raspberry together with crisp spices, dried herbs, creamy chocolate, firm tannins and a smoky meaty savoury finish with some tea-like tannins lingering. It's an easy drinking style. 17.5/20 tonight. I think this wine will develop well. Later I found heaps more structure in this wine and it was developing quite dense, feral, sweet mushroom characters and had lots of crisp savoury spice with hints of anise. $48. 29Sep2002.