edited by Sue Courtney
Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 2 Feb 2011
[2008/2007]        [1999 and older] [index]
Akarua 'The Gullies' Pinot Noir 2002 Deep dark, ruby red, this rich and creamy pinot has strawberry and cherry scents and toasty, spicy, savoury flavours, it's quite ripe and the cherry fruit becomes a little raisiny. A posy of violets lingers on the finish. 24Jul2003.
Akarua Central Otago Pint Noir 2002 There's deep purple hues in this dark red wine which is immediately more complex on the nose than its stablemate, 'The Gullies'. The fragrance of the scents morph to flavours on the palate - there's spice, anise, liquorice, herbs, violets, cherries, plums and a dry earthy finish. It's much more savoury and refined than the Gullies, which is what winemaker Carol Bunn is aiming for. It carries its 14.5% alcohol well. 24Jul2003.
Alana Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 A riper style, spice leather, plum, it's musky and sweetish, a lifted wine with a citrus layer on the spicy finish and good length. It' s a good ruby colour with a smoky, slightly earthy, brambly nose. 13Oct2003.
Alexander Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 A full-bodied savoury style with some crisp cherry, brambly frit, leather and earthy complexities coming though on the finish. Quite firm tannins at this stage. The 14% alcohol sits well with the style. One of the bigger Martinborough pinots. 13Oct2003.
Alpha Domus Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2002 Purply red. An earthy style with reasonable tannins, red fruits in the cherry, guava, tamarillo spectrum, some creamy smoky bacon oak supporting it and savoury herbs lingering on the finish.. Good body. Lots of interest. A touch of spice as it lingers. Brettanomyces adds a slight barnyard character that some may like but distracts me a bit. 13%alc. 15Feb2004.
Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Wonderfully aromatic with the perfume of violets, musk and spicy wood the first impression, rich ripe cherries the second. Smooth and silky in texture with just a tittle of graininess that will settle as the wine matures. Plenty of spice, cinnamon and anise together with cloves and a crack of coriander. A woody herbal flavour comes through to join the spicy rich flavours, then finishing dry and savoury with the sweet cherry fruit balancing it to perfection. Good acidity lifts the finish and the anise flavours linger for an age. It's just delicious. 13.8% alc. (WOTW, 22/6/03). 15June2003.
Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) What can I say? Wow! This is perhaps the best 2002 pinot I have tasted all year. Deep ruby red with a gemmy glow. Totally enthralling and inviting aromas of smoky spiced berries and cherries with a slightly herbal savoury edge. Fruity to the taste with divine roast cherry and cracked berry flavours, a little earth, a touch of herb and creamy smoky oak binding it together with a gorgeous silky smooth texture that flows across the palate to culminate in a slightly tart finish warmed by the alcohol. Compared to something like a Shiraz, this is a medium weight wine that was just perfect for the food (turkey with roasted red cherries, and lamb) and the time of day. 25Dec2003.
Ata Rangi Young Vines Pinot Noir 2002 Fruity pinot with lovely cherries and 'fruit of the forest' flavours. Young and approachable with a nice spicy complexity and a savoury note to the finish. 9Sep2002.
Babich Winemakers Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Light in colour and medium in palate weight style, slightly feral on the nose and earthy with the intrigue and mystique of Pinot, sweet underlying strawberry and guava, tamarillo and spicy on the long savoury finish. The sweetness of the fruit comes out to linger and the finish is lifted and long with a lingering muskiness. 13% alc. Mar2004.
Berridge Vineyard Drystone Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Good colour and bouquet with chocolatey oak and cherries on the nose and in the palate. Ripe and round, smooth textured, very easy and approachable with berries and spice. A big wine, as many of the CO 02 PN's are, with lots of delicious pinot noir intrigue. 18.5/20. $39.95. 19May2004.
Blackridge Pinot Noir 2002 - Alexandra Pinky purple red in colour with good depth, its primary aromas are earthy and savoury before sweeter, marinated black cherry scents push through. There's some funk in the palate that gives it a slightly feral (gamey), savouriness with velvety tannins, polished oak and spicy cherry fruit. It finishes well and there are characteristic Central Otago herb flavours lingering on the good length finish. 13.5% alc. $37.95. 24Nov2004.
Blackwater Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 Chocolatey nose. Quite stalky , herbal in palate, fills out with sweet cherry richness, a slight metallic tinge, anise-like spiced lingering on finish. Medium weight style. 16.5/20. $13.95. 19May2004.
Bilancia Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2002 A lighter bodied style of pinot. Cherry, savoury, smoky and meaty on the nose though there's a hint of boiled lollies too. Distinctly pinot. Vibrant with sweet cherry fruit, lots of savoury notes, good balance, acid and a crisp fruity finish. Develops a meaty, musky, savoury, herbal and spicy fruit character with a little bit of licorice, perhaps a bit of chocolate. Velvety texture, long and crisp with cherry fruit lingering. Offers excellent value at the price. 17.5/20. $25. 22Mar2003.
Burnt Spur Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 Creamy oak on the nose and quite oak dominant in the palate. Herbs, guava, earthy and slightly gamey with good varietal character and a floral intrigue to the finish. Good acidity on the finish gives the peacocks tail flare. 17/20. $39. 19May2004.
Canterbury House Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 This is a well-coloured, easy drinking fruity pinot with good density of magenta colour, a perfumed smoky, cherry, chocolate and brambly oak bouquet and lots of black cherry and plum fruit. It's spicy and a little earthy with a velvety texture, a pleasing richness and a juicy succulence to the finish that is long and savoury. Hard to believe the $18 price as this delivers so much, it tastes like it should be twice the price. Double 'thumbs up'. 13% alc. 10Sep2003.
Cape Campbell Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Medium-bodied, a similar colour to the Stoneleigh, there's smoky citrus and mulled wine spice aromas, smoky bacon, salami and gamey flavours with good fruit and texture. A well-balanced, tasty little savoury number with a hot, spicy, savoury, baked berry and lots of oak on the smoky finish. At $20, this is affordable and drinkable. 14% alc. $19.95 17Sep2003.
Capricorn Estate Strugglers Flat Pinot Noir 2002 Good nose, good colour. Sweet vanillin oak fills the palate with spice and ripe fruit leading this rich, weighty wine into a savoury finish. Lots of interest. 16.5/20. $23.95. 19May2004.
Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Deep purple in it dense colour, this complex smelling wine has crushed wild thyme and musky rose petal scents. It's smooth and silky in texture, fruity and spicy, savoury and earthy with a good tannin structure and a juicy succulence coming from the concentrated purple fruit. It's a wine of power and structure with a fineness that is elegance plus. 28Aug2003.
Chard Farm Finla Mor Pinot Noir 2002 - Central Otago A youthful dense, almost opaque dark red, this is tarry, earthy, leathery, savoury and spicy with dark red cherry and plums. Creamy oak is more noticeable as is the firm tannin structure, there's a touch of mocha, some damp earth, succulent red berry cherry fruit and a thyme-herb flavour lingering on the smoky finish. A good sound Central Otago pinot with a good persistence of flavour. Built to last. 13.5% alc. $35.95. 27Aug2003.
Chard Farm River Run Pinot Noir 2002 A ruby coloured wine with smoky thyme-like herb aromas and a creamy opulent concentrated fruit flavour with abundant cherry, a touch of liquorice, spicy oak and good acid balance. Mostly Otago fruit, there's a smidgen of Nelson in this too. $28. 30Aug2003.
Chard Farm Red Gate Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) A big wine that smells ripe, rich and sweet.. Fairly tannic, full of cherries with a suggestion they could have been soaked in liqueur, together with red and black berries, earth, chocolate, spice and liquorice. Hints of leather and a touch of tar. A big succulent wine that needs food, this was excellent with the BBQ'ed chicken and mushroom sauce while the commerically prepared cranberry sauce brought out the fruit and enhanced the chocolate. This wine definitely has aging potential. It just worries me a bit that it is tending a little towards Merlot with its grunt. 13.5%. ***** 19Dec2003.
Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 This is one of those delightfully, pretty, elegant pinots with a lovely depth of savouriness combining with delicious cherry fruit and an array of spices. It's not too deep in its colour that has a pretty purple crimson hue. There's a succulent complexity to the dry finish. Winemaker Sam Weaver talks about tannin management, tannin extraction and post extraction reaction. Very moreish. 13% alc. 26Aug2003.
Coney Pizzicato Pinot Noir 2002 Smoky cherry and musk on the nose - it's definitely got the pink smokers and rose petal., a pretty, spicy style, smooth, well-balanced, with everything you'd expect from Martinborough. 13Oct2003.
Coopers Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Good colour with black cherry and chocolatey oak aromas and lots of sweet cherry fruitcake spices, cloves, citrus and a long creamy smoky finish. With just 1/3 new oak, this is a wine that is easy to drink, a definite crowd pleaser. 3Jul2003.
Coopers Creek Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 - Smoky red fruits and spice on the nose, much finer tannins than the cheaper wine, this is silky textured in palate though the tannins are sold and firm. It's a savoury wine with a touch of rosemary, some mushrooms and a little gamey but w. lovely overriding sweet cherry fruit and some lovely Burgundian-like characters coming through. tbr later in the year. 3Jul2003.
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2002A light and elegant pinot with chocolate and cherry, that typical grainy texture that Craggy wines aspire to, an underlying savouriness to the developing cherry fruit, it lingers well with hints of chocolate. 13Oct2003.
Crossroads Collectors Edition Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2002 Earthy smelly, smoky and just a little lollyish. Light and just a little brassy in the palate with fruitcake cherries, tomatoes and a dry tannic finish. 13.5% alc. $32. 9Oct2004.
Daniel Schuster Twin Vineyards Pinot Noir 2002 - Canterbury Light cranberry in colour, this has a lollyish, red fruit nose. Sweet cooked strawberry flavours carry through to the palate that is rather light in body with little influence of oak apparent. It has herbal overtones and tart acidity but fills out and lingers with warm savoury fruit, spice and gamey characters. A light, dilute style of pinot, not a blockbuster in any sense of the word. 14% alc. $25.95. 9Apr2003.
Daniel Schuster Omihi Vineyard Canterbury Pinot Noir 2002 Even more developed looking in its translucent red garnet colour. Cherry, macerated strawberry and smoky bacon on the nose, creamy in the silky textured palate, seems to have headed to a secondary phase. Savoury, a little leathery, a suggestion of herb and rose petal and a spiciness to the creamy finish. Good length. A seemingly elegant wine, the power comes through on the finish. 13.5% alc. $59.95. 28Jul2004.
Domaine Georges Michel Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Faded colour. Smoky savoury aromas with a floral, herbal nuance. Juicy berry fruit, cherry, subtle tamarillo, spice, a touch of musk, velvety tannins and a dry finish. Many layers of flavour make this an intriguing wine with fruit sweetness as it lingers and a long aftertaste. Subtle in its power. 13% alc. $34.00. 17Jul2005.
Dry River Pinot Noir 2002 Deep red black, inky in its depth. It's wonderfully structured with a velvet silken texture, a touch of cracked pepper, the lift of woody herbs that characterise the creamy oak, marinated cherries, deep blue plums, fragrant spices, a touch of liquorice. It's quite woody with cedary spice as it lingers after the climax, a beautifully enticing wine, hard to push off its pedestal. WOTW w/e 21 March 2003. 13Mar2003.
Drylands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Fragrant, very easy, medium-bodied style of pinot, nice to drink. Cherries, plums, slightly earthy oak, a herbal intrigue and a nice touch of spicy acidity to the finish with ripe fruit lingering, lingering very well indeed with ripe fresh cherry flavours. A good pinot that is suitable to drink on its own, it also suits a lot of foods. I tried it with barbecued beef and whole portobello mushrooms, and lamb racks with a cherry sauce. I rate this very highly for the style and price. 13.5% alc. ****1/2. 27Dec2003.
Escarpment Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 A tarry, earthy savoury wine with a touch of leather, dark cherry, guava and plum fruit and a developing chocolate complexity, it has beautifully smooth though quite firm tannins and a flare of acidity that lifts the finish. Texture and richness is the key to this multi-layered wine that is made to be matched with food. A pre-release taste, the wine will be released in October. 3Sep2003.
Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2002 - Central Otago (sc) 'Even nicer' was the first comment I heard of this rich deep purple wine with pinky crimson rims. It's a ripe smelling pinot with plums, cherry, liquid chocolate and herbal oak on the nose, black plums, black cherries and other black fruits in the palate. It's smooth and creamy with a velvety texture. There's a nice touch of savouriness, a little white mushroom and a flash of fennel on the finish. Difficult to describe, it's a wine you just have to try for yourself. 14% alc. $47.95. 9Jul2003.
Felton Road 'Block 5' Pinot Noir 2002 - Central Otago (sc) This deeply coloured youthful looking pinot with a smoky aroma is the perfection of integration in the palate. It's smooth and harmonious, spicy and lifted with cherry, black plum, mulled citrus, cloves and a suggestion of anise with tannin and oak behind it all. There's a touch of moccachino and an earthy savouriness with sweet fruit and violet/rose/herb flowers on finish. A wonderfully structured, velvety textured wine, the peacock's tail flares and the finish goes on and on. Deserves its status as one of Central's best. 14% alc. 4Mar2004.
Fiddlers Green Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 The first bottle tasted fresh, crisp and raspberryish. A second bottle showed earthy richness with a touch of chocolate, liquorice, and richness on the finish. Food wine. $38.95. 19May2004.
Fraser River Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Show some richness on the nose but it lacks depth and varietal character in the palate. It's slightly minty, a character I do not associate with this grape. $27.95. 19May2004.
Fromm Marlborough La Strada Pinot Noir 2002 Well coloured, dry, spicy, a little leathery, the black cherry and brambly flavours fill out well, there's good acidity and a lovely spicy yet savoury complexity. Terrific length. 14% alc. 26Aug2003.
Fromm Marlborough Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002 More alcohol than its stablemate, and it's immediately apparent. It's a big plummy, spicy wine with lots of power, the finish is dry. Just bottled when tasted and tannins quite obvious just now. 14.%% alc. 26Aug2003.
Fromm Marlborough Fromm Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002 (barrel sample) Showing distinct cherry in its flavours, this has just the slightest hint of Brett. There's leather, spice, some anise and at this stage it is mind-boggling dry and tannic with heaps of development ahead of it. Get past that tightness and you will find the linger flavour has succulence plus with cherry and rose petal adding the elegant factor. 26Aug2003.
Foxes Island Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) A ruby hued wine that is showing lovely ripe flavours with cherry plum notes backed up by creamy savoury oak and a hint of herb. Long in the palate with a biscuity texture, this wine is ripe and balanced and has an aura of outstanding quality. 9Aug2004.
Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Chocolate, black cherry, lots of herb, smoky herbs, full-bodied, elegant, ultra-ripe character on the nose and tamarillo on the finish. 9Oct2003.
Gibbston Valley Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Another almost opaque, black cherry coloured wine but wow! the nose is so-o-o-o fragrant with cherries, savoury herbs, violets and herb flowers. You immediately sense a huge step up in quality in this wine that is earthy, spicy, savoury and concentrated with anise, liquorice, rose petal, violet, game, brambles, tobacco, integrated oak and silky tannins - it's all there with power, weight, balance and length. Seamless in its texture and flow across the palate, the lovely array of spices and balanced acidity lifts the finish and draws out the lingering persistence of flavour. "Damn good" said someone. They are absolutely right for this is great, great New Zealand pinot noir. It doesn't get much better than this. 13.5% alc. $107.00. 27Aug2003.
Greenhough Hope Vineyard Nelson Pinot Noir 2002 A medium depth pinot in colour, not at all like the inky C.O. 2002's, more like Martinborough if you were trying to pick a region. It's got lots of fruit, sweet fruit, cherry, dry chocolate and underlying savoury characters with honeyed oak. It's a fruitier wine that the 2001 with a herbal note, a touch of Nelson rosehips and violets. Dry firm tannins assert themselves far more than you would expect from the lightness of the colour and it finishes with a spicy, slightly peppery and musky finish. 13.5% alc.11Nov2003.
Grove Mill Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Savoury, lots of herbs, cherry, creamy oak, a touch of earth, some rusticity, spicy lift to the finish with a touch of anise. Came up very well in this tasting. 18.5. $39.95. 19May2004.
Huia Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 A fruity pinot style, a little different from the Marlborough norm, this is herbal and spicy with underlying feral, savoury complexity, It seems a little lean but the sweet jammy fruit hints to its Marlborough origin. 13Oct2003.
Hunters Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Savoury and slightly earthy with rose petal, a touch of tar and leathery complexities, cherry, raspberry and plum give good fruit weight and the wine has length and depth. 17.5/20. $27.50. 19May2004.
Isabel Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 A translucent deep coloured garnet red. Smoky aromas and a deep, earthy, savoury, gamey flavour. Quite herbal but with chocolate, strawberry, spice and just a touch of menthol emerging on the finish. Quite chunky in texture for pinot, but tasty, regardless. 13.5% alc. $39.95. 25May2005.
Johanneshof Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 A light coloured wine with a slightly floral, prune and game meat aroma, slightly sweetish in palate becoming savoury on the finish. Seems a little light and simple on its own but it was very good with food, both venison sausage and grilled mushrooms. 13% alc. 15Feb2004.
Judge Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Medium depth of colour with a ruby hue. Fragrantly scented, a little floral with cherry, macerated strawberry and earthy hints, soft and velvety to the taste with rose petal, cherry, savoury herbs and an earthy, slightly tarry backbone. There's plenty of depth and length with creamy chocolately oak and a touch of acidity from the red berry flavours that give a peacock's tail flare to the finish. Good persistence. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 23Jul2004.
Jules Taylor Pinot Noir 2002 A medium weight garnet red with attractive cherry scents this a light to medium-bodied pinot with cherry fruit cake, raspberry and rose petals. An easy-going style, quite soft and very fruity with a touch of sweet spicy creamy oak on the finish makes it an attractive wine for its weight. 8Aug2003.
Kawarau Estate Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 There's massive colour extract in this bright maroon-hued, inky wine that smells so ripe and savoury with it's oak layered plum, black cherry and baked tamarillo fruit, smoky bacon, damp earth and spicy leathery aromas. There's kirsch-like concentration in the palate with a chocolatey oak backbone, spice, youthful velvety tannins and a savoury complexity. Cloves and leather linger with just a touch of pepper. Such a stylistic departure from the fabulous and more elegant offering from 2001, this is still fabulous - its grunt, power, flavour and length reflecting the terrific 2002 vintage in Central Otago. 14% alc. 1Oct2003.
Lawsons Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) A medium-bodied style that smelt like the first of the season's field mushrooms from our paddock Ė or unseasonal mushrooms bought on by the humid summer rain. The taste was also like the sweet young things as they started to cook. Add to that good vinosity, texture and weight with a lingering cherry fruit and savoury mellow oak finish and you have a charming wine statement to enhance many food styles. 1Feb2004.
Lincoln Heritage 'Nina' Pinot Noir 2002 Good depth of crimson red colour with more than medium opacity. Guava aromas backed up by creamy oak, raspberry and cherry fruit in the palate with a fruit cake richness and a smooth texture. Spicy acidity and a herbal note to the finish. Quite a big full wine for pinot, with an old-fashioned rustic charm. Made from Te Kauwhata fruit with 12 months in new and used French oak. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 18Apr2005.
Main Divide Pinot Noir 2002 - Canterbury Ruby red, fragrant, savoury, slightly smoky and spicy with herbs, strawberries and cherries, it's dry, slightly oily, earthy and gamey. A generally well-liked wine with a good persistence of flavour and lingering fruit sweetness. 13% alc. $24.95. 27Aug2003.
Margrain Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 Quite savoury on the nose developing more savoury complexities in the palate together with red cherry, guava, strawberry, plum and spice in this multi-flavoured, multi-layered wine. Good palate weight and nice acid balance. 13Oct2003.
Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir 2002 - Martinborough Vineyards pinots have never been as deeply coloured as the newer wines from Central Otago and Marlborough, and this is no exception. It's a deep cherry red in the core of the bowl but a little watery on the rim. Fairly closed smoky aromas and mouthfilling savoury flavours with good tannins, a lovely array of aromatic spices culminating in a lifted, floral finish with an earthy, meaty backbone. Itís very long, very dry and very good - especially with food that is influenced by the flavour of mushroom. 10 clones of pinot up to 24 years vine age. Younger material from new clones. 13.5% alc. 560. 31May2004.
Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir 2002 - Martinborough The ring-in! A pale translucent pinky-red with a whiff of cherry on the nose, then mushroom, forest floor and smoke, it's savoury and a little nutty with mulled wine spices, a touch of liquorice and a dry finish. What sets this wine apart is its silky texture, its subtle underlying power and the very persistent savoury, tarry, earthy, spiced fruit flavour that lingers. A very good wine that delivers so much more that it's pale-like appearance would suggest. 13.5% alc. $28.95. 27Aug2003.
Martinus Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 Red cherry and plum are the up-front fruit components of this brambly, savoury wine; it's light to medium-bodied with a lovely palate weight and a velvety texture, building in power towards the finish. There some earthy complexities, some honeyed oak and acidity lifts the finish. 13Oct2003.
Matariki Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2002 Faded, light tamarillo red with an earthy, slightly jammy, sweet-fruited aroma and savoury flavours with mellow fruit, silky smooth tannins, a touch of mulled wine spices infused with citrus and a salami meat / leathery nuance to the long, savoury, rounded finish. The aftertaste is long and shows the subtleties of pinot with a little age - perhaps comparable to a Cote de Beaune style. 12.5% alc. $28.95. 19Jul2006.
Matua Valley Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2002 Cherries, meaty, musky, very silky in texture. Lovely wine. 8Dec2003.
Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Deeply coloured but not totally opaque, this smells sweet and nutty in comparison to the drier Carrick. It's a silky textured wine with integrated tannins and oak and loads of flavour with juicy wild berries, hints of chocolate, a subtle influence of Central Otago herbs and a long, savoury, slightly gamey finish. 14.5% alc. $40.95. 3Mar2004.
Mt Difficulty Single Vineyard 'Pipeclay Terrace' Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Dense deep red-black, quite fragrant on the rich creamy nose with chocolate, cherries and a touch of spice adding intrigue. Rich and spicy in the palate with liquid cherry flavoured chocolate, plums, musk, spices, anise, cedar and quite robust earthy tannins, it has a lovely velvety texture and a long savoury, slightly meaty finish. In fact it's totally voluptuous. 14.5% alc. $59.95. 17Mar2004.
Montana 'T' Terraces Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Well defined pinot scents, savoury, a little spicy with hints of chocolate. A ripe, rich rounded wine with an infusion of chocolate, plums and cherry on a savoury backbone with an infusion of smoky oak and aromatic spices. Nicely balanced and rounded with good acidity, a long finish and a spicy aftertaste. The top pinot in the Montana stable and deserving of its status. 14% alc. 9Oct2004.
Morton Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 (c) Pale, fading in colour but with nice sweet and sour flavours and good vinosity with its smooth satin texture, vanillin oak and a touch of spice on the savoury finish. Good drinking in a lighter style. 13% alc. $18.95. 27Jun2005.
Morworth Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Herbal and slightly feral scents characterise this light styled pinot that has a sweetish, cherry finish. 13.7% alc. $30. 9Oct2004.
Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Light crimson red with youthful purple hues. Richly aromatic cherry scents. Rich in the palate too with good palate weight, rustic tannins, spicy red fruits, cherries and lingering spices. 27Apr2003.
Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Pinot Noir 2002 This wine entices with its sweet chocolate cherry aromas, like Christmas cake with chocolate icing, plus spice and sweet fruit. Very appealing in your face aromas. Big, rich, ripe and creamy, merlotesque, juicy and luscious. There's a lot of oak in the wine and the oak is quite forward now, but the big fruit can handle it magnificently. 13% alc. $35. 1Mar2005.
Mountford Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 A well-coloured, dark pinot with a richly fragrant nose and wonderfully mouthfilling fruit and spice with hints of anise, musk and savoury complexities. It's round, textural, full-bodied, and smooth in the palate making it very drinkable. Delicate but with delicious concentration. The savouriness of the finish combines with strawberries and plums and the lovely tannin structure carries the wine harmoniously throughout the palate leaving a memorable impression. It's got a slightly earthy, hot finish and rose petals linger. Top stuff. 13Oct2003.
Muddy Water Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 (sc)
Muddy Water Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 Light, almost see-through, with bright ruby hues. A fruity wine with strawberry and cherry and creamy oak that dominates a little in the mid-palate. Silky textured, very tasty, has a lovely charm to the wine. They donít all need to be big and bolshy to express the delicacy of the pinot grape. 17.5/20. $38. 19May2004.
Muddy Water Waipara 'Reloaded' Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) A bigger richer wine than its stablemate, more colour and depth and more savoury throughout with a long rich spicy finish. It has great length and 'pinosity'. 24Aug2004.
Murdoch James Blue Rock Pinot Noir 2002 Deep, translucent, pinky red with a youthful brightness. Lush, full, rich ripe fruit with a firm spicy backbone and smooth, integrated velvety tannins, it has the spicy gamey tamarillo fruit of the Abel clone with underlying fruit cake cherry and fresh oak coming through to linger on the smoky savoury finish. With its good acidity it should continue to drink well for some time yet. Very good. 14.6% alc. 26Jul2006.
Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2002 - Nelson (sc) Medium depth, deep garnet colour with a smoky nose that hints of herbs, citrus and rose petal. Strawberry, guava and herb flavours fill the palate which is savoury rather then sweet-fruited. Firm tannins build onto the soft velvety texture with subtle oak, gentle spices and a rich smoky finish. It's a beautifully balanced wine, persistent in its flavour with hot smoke and musky spices, the fruit fills out and herbs, roasted strawberries and red cherries linger. Typical of the Neudorf Moutere pinots, it's a legend of a wine and made to last. Cellaring is recommended. 14% alc. 17Sep2003.
Neudorf Moutere Home Vineyard Nelson Pinot Noir 2002 More developed in its medium-depth, translucent, ruby garnet colour. Fragrant aromas, smoky tamarillo, floral, rose petal. Spicy in the palate, light but not lightweight as it dances across the tongue, savoury, gamey and a little earthy. Nice use of soft oak adds a slightly vanillin character to mingle with the mushroom, forest floor and red guava. Savoury finish. Serious wine with great length. 13.5% alc. $64.95. 28Jul2004.
Nobilo Fall Harvest Pinot Noir 2002 A blend of Aus and NZ fruit in the supermarket red smalls and tastes like Pinot, a sweeter style to appeal to the masses with cherry jam and musky rose petal to make a light refreshing drink that could even be ever so slightly chilled on raucously hot days. About $10. **1/2. 6Jan2004.
Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) A pleasant enough medium to full-bodied pinot with a savoury earthy profile, tamarillo and guava fruits and a herbal edge. A food-friendly wine that will complement many food styles. 13.5% alc. 2Feb2004.
Olssens Jackson Barry Pinot Noir 2002 - Bannockburn Another well coloured deep purple red pinot, this is immediately cleaner and fruitier to the smell and taste with perfumed plum and black cherry fruit, fruit cake spices and wild herbs. Smooth, rounded and polished with silky tannins and creamy oak, there's a tasty savouriness throughout with a slightly meaty character emerging on the warm spicy finish. Excellent length. 14.5% alc. $38.95. 24Nov2004.
Olssen's Slapjack Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 A beautifuly rounded pinot in every respect. Fabulously dense purple red colour, deep aromas and lovely savoury flavours overlain with wild Central Otago herbs, wine poached stonefruit, liquorice, anise, cherry and chocolate. Exceptional quality and so smooth and beautifully balanced you can easily drink and enjoy without food if you want to. 14% alc. $58.95. 19Jan2005.
Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 Lovely fruit definition, there's a richness of strawberry, cherry and guava on the palate that merges with musky spice and some earthy, mushroomy, savoury notes. Good tannin structure, nice integration of oak and a lingering spicy finish that emits some heat. Nice wine all round. 13Oct2003.
Palliser Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2002 A much lighter version than its big brother, it's more earthy and tarry with a light rose petal influence on the finish. 13Oct2003.
Pegasus Bay Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 A deep red wine with a fruity pinot aroma enhanced by violets, it's ripe, spicy, full, fleshy and mouthfilling wine with a firm velvety tannin structure to support it. Black cherries, plums, a meaty bacon-like nuance, tar, liquorice, damp earth and wood, it's a wine to be cellared right now to let the flavours settle and integrate. 14% alc.3Sep2003.
Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 A dense purple-colour pinot with smoky tamarillos, violets, wild thyme and sweet jammy berries on the nose, this is sweet and savoury in the palate with wild herbs, smoky oak and spicy acidity. It's a rich chewy grunty pinot with mixed berry jam flavours and a spicy finish in which aniseed emerges to linger with boysenberries. The finish is long and more-ish. 14% alc. $35.95. 9Jul2003.
Pisa Moorings Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Quite fragrant with cherry fruit and creamy oak, nice touch of spice with nuances of cinnamon and clove, nicely rounded with good depth and intensity and an earthy finish with lingering savoury oak. A bigger, deeper wine than the 2003 tasted alongside it (reflective of the vintage) and ready to drink now. 14.5% alc. 5Oct2004.
Pisa Range Estate Black Poplar Block Pinot Noir 2002 Funky, definitively Pinot, a little earthy and feral to the nose, herbal and meaty too. A lovely lifted wine with hints of spice, lots of Central Otago wild herbs and very sweet cherry plum fruit in the palate, which makes it a very user-friendly style. In a tasting of four Central Otago pinots, this was the most sweet fruited and would be the easiest to stand around and sip on while you talk. Served with barbecued chicken and a choice of a mushroom sauce or a commericually prepared cranberry sauce, this was good with mushrooms but a bit of a clash with the tarter cranberry. Fairly robust with its 14.5% alcohol. Ready. ****. 19Dec2003.
Quartz Reef Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) There's plenty of grunt in this smooth, delicious wine. Purple red, inky in its depth. Red berry, plum, cherry, chocolate, spice, lots of savoury herbs, full-bodied and rich with terrific balance and terrific length, lovely use of oak and velvety tannins. Drinking beautifully already, this is my pick of the 2002 vintage Central Otago pinots to date. 14% alc. $43.95. 10Dec2003.
Rimu Grove Nelson Pinot Noir 2002 Light red. Fragrantly perfumed. In the palate it's herbaceous with lots of acidity, red fruits and savoury oak. It's a lighter style and doesnít have the complexity and structure of some of the others but the finish is long with ripe cherry fruit sweetness. A wine to match to foods, try savoury / gamey foods such as venison or Nelson salmon. ***. 13% alc. 15Feb2004.
Riverby Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Dark ruby in colour and smelling a little chocolatey, it's a smooth textured, medium weight wine with lovely balance and a good fruit backbone of cherry and plum. There's a touch of exotic spices including anise and musky pepper and good acidity which makes it quite invigorating. Crisp on the finish, it lingers well. ****. 6Jan2004.
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Rich as! A succulent, savoury, hot wine with the 14.5% alcohol quickly flushing the cheeks, there's liquorice, clove and spiced cherry in this big, chunky, powerful, flavoursome pinot that is rich, juicy and almost raisiny on the finish. 24Jul2003.
Saint Clair Doctors Creek Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Medium-depth cherry red in colour, this soft, smooth, fruity, easy drinking style has lots of spicy influences such as cloves and cinnamon, creamy oak and red cherry flavours leading into a savoury finish. Next day an earthy richness has developed. Good pinot for the price. Does what it is meant to do. $24. 12.5% alc. 10Apr2004.
Saint Clair Vicars Choice Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Bright purple red with good density of colour, this wine first emits an aroma of burnt jam but it definitely improves to become quite smoky, gamey and savoury. There is a good depth of pinot character in the mouth with cherry and plum fruit and dried herbs supported by furry tannins and finishing with lots of acidity. Some creamy chocolate flavours develop as it lingers. $18.95. 12Feb2003.
Schubert Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 Rich, powerful, full-bodied, terrifically structured, spicy with dark berry fruit and just a touch of chocolate, it's a big, robust yet juicy wine with lots of flavour and length. 14.5% alc. 13Oct2003.
Schubert Marions Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002 A little developed in colour, quite rustic in style, savoury with tobacco and tar, then fruit cake richness with a chocolatey oak sweetness, a mocha complexity and liquorice on the finish. Nice drink, but could be merlot as it lacks some of the pinot noir delicacy. 16/20. $30. 19May2004.
Selaks Founders Reserve Pinot Noir 2002 Slightly feral on the nose, robust and savoury in the palate. A dark, concentrated wine with cocoa, cherry and smoky oak and a touch of game. A very good Marlborough pinot, perhaps a little hard on entry but it fills out nicely and lingers with a smoky, cherry chocolate sweetness and just a touch of Turkish Delight. Lovely velvety texture and good balance with a lovely touch of acidity flaring the finish to leave a slight choc-orange aftertaste mingling with the savoury notes. ****. 9Jan2004.
Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2002 A medium depth, dark cherry red, with cherries, raspberries and rosehips mixing in with a touch of chocolate and a mocha barrel characters on the savoury and slightly earthy nose. It's a creamy textured pinot with good acidity, lots of savoury winter herbs, leather and just a touch of mint. Everything you expect in pinot and opens up well in the glass. Savoury cherry flavours linger. I wouldn't want to have to pick the region. It's actually from a higher altitude, inland vineyard in Hawkes Bay. Ready now. 12% alc. $24.95. 19Nov2003.
Shepherds Ridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Pinky-red, deeply coloured in the bowl of the glass but still translucent, it's fruity and spicy with plenty of cherry on the nose and in the palate, tasting sweet & ripe with lovely youthful tannins, a savoury backbone and a touch of winter herbs. This wine has plenty of charming pinot flavour, it's not too heavy and I think it's a very tasty, user-friendly style. 13.5% alc. 22Oct2003.
Shingle Peak Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Slightly meaty, mushroom scent, herbs, and good tannin structure, full and ripe on palate, nice pinot in a light style. Lingers with a spicy finish. 27Apr2003.
Sleeping Dogs Pinot Noir 2002 - Central Otago Almost opaque in its black cherry colour with citrus peel, musk, violet, black cherry and smoky herbs on the nose, it's spicy, savoury and a little tarry with dusty blackberries and big chunky concentrated purple fruits. There's lots going on in this multi-layered, velvety-textured, ripe-fruited wine and the finish is long, savoury and succulent. Not so subtle, it's more "in your face - like Shiraz", as Bernard on the other side of the room pointed out. 13.5% alc. $31.95. 27Aug2003.
Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Fairly dense though not inky in its magenta red colour, itís an earthy, spicy, rustic pinot with a myriad of bittersweet flavours. Itís smoky and savoury with cherry, mixed berry, pomegranate seeds, fruitcake spices and smooth chocolatey oak. Good acidity gives a bright, lifted and moreish finish that is long and savoury. Perhaps just a little hot on entry but a well-deserving gold medal wine that is very smartly priced. 14% alc. $29.95. AirNZ Gold Medal tasting. 26Nov2003.
Stonecutter Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Medium weight colour, translucent cherry red. Its smells earthy and savoury, mushroomy and gamey with liqueur cherry overtones, Rustic and savoury in the mouth there's some lovely cherry and red guava flavours over strawberry then some baked tamarillo. Itís a smooth textured wine with plenty of acidity, gaining complexity in the glass with the oak and alcohol balancing it out. A thinking man's wine, long in flavour with plummy tamarillo flavours lingering. ****. 14% alc. 27Nov2003.
Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 A medium weight pinot with youthful purple hues, there's some nice herbal, bramble and purple fruit traits among the distinctive savoury pinot characters together with a touch of liquorice, and chewy raspberry 'fruit leather'. It's spicy and succulent with a herbal nuance joining the black cherries on the crisp dry finish. Well recommended as an excellent introductory pinot. $20. 22Aug2003.
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Pinot Noir 2002 - Marlborough Medium body in appearance with the colour of ruby garnet, it's savoury and a little oily smelling on the nose with smoke, bacon, game, herbs, plums and cherries in the palate. It's savoury rather than fruity though the finish is fruit-sweet, spicy, slightly peppery and oaky. Lovely texture and good length, a lovely Stoneleigh pinot, one of the best I've seen. 13.5% alc. 17Sep2003.
Tasman Bay Vintage Special Selection Pinot Noir 2002 Light weight colour, garnet with reddish hues - no youthful purple notes at all. Savoury, earthy, almost gamey in character, soft tannins make it quite drinkable. Very slight oily tarry note. Cherry flavours linger on the musky finish. A blend of five regions - Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough, Nelson and Waipara. An OK winter quaffer for under $20. 2May2003.
Terrace Road Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Marinated cherry , strawberry and raisin fruit, alcoholic sweetness, firm tannins, concentrated with lots of spice and a slightly hot finish. Good length. 16.5/20. $19.50. 19May2004.
Torlesse Canterbury Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) A lightweight fruity pinot with strawberry, cherry, stewed plum and a touch of mushroom, it's got subtle mocha-like oak, musk, a little earth with a touch of raspberry and citrus on the savoury finish. An easy wine to match to an easy meal like spicy meatballs in tomato with tomato, avocado and basil salad. 13% alc. 17Nov2003
Torlesse Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 (cork) Bready aroma, a little creamy on the nose. Medium to full-bodied it's a more structured pinot than the Torlesse Canterbury blend, with a good solid backbone, creamy cherry and chocolate upfront, a smooth, soft, silky texture and a rustic earthiness. Zippy and spicy with red guava-like and smoky bacon flavours lingering. This didnít go with the spicy meatballs Ė they brought out a leathery character to the wine. It was much much better with grilled lamb chops. 13.4% alc. 17Nov2003.
Torlesse Reserve Waipara Pinot Noir 2002 Earthy scents overlain with sweet cherry and musk. Savoury fruit, vanillin oak, a touch of chocolate and a smoky, spicy finish. A nicely rounded wine with quite dense tannins and a long, savoury, slightly earthy aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $28. 9Oct2004.
Trinity Hill White Label Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Light and savoury with white mushrooms, fruit cake spices, sweet red cherry fruit, hints of chocolate and hints of rosemary. A lovely well-balanced, soft, smooth and velvety pinot in a ready-to-drink style. It may be light in colour but it has plenty of flavour. Bottle notes say: Further bottle age will add secondary characters of tobacco, leather, truffle and savoury, gamey characters A few days later. Quite smooth and savoury at first but with lots and lots of red cherry flavours, a fruity wine. 13.5%. $20. 24Jun2003.
Trinity Hill 'Hill Country' HB Pinot Noir 2002 Twice the price of the white label. Darker colour, spicy nose, primary spice, cinnamon and cloves. Toasty cherry, lots and lots of spice. Herbs on the nose, herbs and mushroom with a touch of thyme and clove. Creamy, savoury and spicy, a far more complex wine that's for sure. 24Jun2003. Featured as a Wine of the Week.
Twin Islands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 A nice easy going style but unmistakably pinot. Plenty of fruit, a touch of chocolate and spice and a fruity, slightly savoury finish. Soft and round. Good value for $19.95. 13Oct2003.
Valli Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2002 Dense, deep red black, cedar and savoury herbs on the nose, it's a meaty, slightly earthy wine with spicy oak, a touch of tamarillo and spiced plums. It's full-bodied, slightly leathery, a little tarry with lots of depth and a robust long finish. There's lots going on in the wine. Woody herbs, wine soaked field mushrooms and anise linger and there's that 'peacock's tail' flare on the finish. A complex wine and a bit of a grunter in this line-up. 13.5% alc. $44.95. 17Mar2004.
Valli Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002 Youthful and bright, dense in its dark red colour. Slightly herbaceous, slightly metallic, oily and savoury on the nose, spicy oak, herbs, red fruits, lots of savoury and just a touch of chocolate in the palate. A little grainy in texture, wonderful length of flavouron the finish, a mouth-filling wine with lots of immediately appeal. 14% alc. **** 15Feb2004.
Vavasour Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Ripe and rich with upfront sweet fruit and underlying savoury complexities. Good pinot with terrific length, I could drink this.11Nov2003.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 A medium coloured garnet-red with smoky bacon and sweet cherries on nose, it's charry, spicy, a little savoury and gamey with a hint of white mushroom and lots and lots of fruit in the strawberry, cherry and tamarillo spectrum. It's a soft silky-textured medium-weight pinot that is just a little jammy and lingers with fruit-cake spices on the reasonably hot finish. A good wine. 14% alc. $32.95. 2Jul2003.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Good dense colour with magenta rims. Slightly feral on the nose, it's nutty, toasty and spicy with firm tannin structure, dark cherries, dark chocolate, black plums, it' s got lovely a silky smooth texture and a lifted, spicy, herbal note. A big, mouth-filling, full-bodied wine, sweet fruited yet savoury and a long, persistent spicy oak finish with lingering flavours of spiced plums and toasted herbs. Packed with power yet still retains the elegance and finesse that is pinot noir. Screwcap. 23Sep2003.
Waipara Hills Canterbury Pinot Noir 2002 Shy on the nose, it's a full, rich, ripe tasting wine with savoury seasoned oak, quite meaty but with a lovely succulence. Plummy, long and savoury. V.v. good, I preferred this to the Waipara Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002. 24Jul2003.
Waipara Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Light in colour with cherry and smoky bacon aromas and spicy cherries, mushroom and anise in the palate. 24Jul2003.
Waipara Springs Reserve Pinot Noir 2002 Seemingly a lighter style pinot than many from 2002, this smells of woody herbs and cherry with a touch of mushroom leading into a savoury, tarry, cherry flavour and a lengthy savoury finish that lingers with herb flowers and cherries. It develops some feral nuances as it sits in the glass and overall it has elegance with a good fruit backbone and soft velvety tannins. It's a young wine and should develop some interesting flavours with time. From a cooler season in Waipara. 13Oct2003.
Walnut Ridge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 Red guava, lighter, more tannin, more fruit, fantastic palate, silky, feral, savoury, cherry, honeyed oak. Very approachable. Delicious. 9Oct2003.
William Hill Otago Pinot Noir 2002 A well coloured pinot with chocolate and cherryish scents and broad plummy fruit flavours but it seems to have unbalanced acidity and a rustic metallic finish with uncharacteristic flavours of mint and cigar. 13.5% alc. $35. 9Oct2004.
William Hill Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 Typical of the vintage, well-coloured with medium depth ruby hues, smoothly textured and generously flavoured with creamy oak, black cherry and just a touch of chocolate. Crisp and fruity mid-palate with savoury herbs emerging on the earthy finish that is slightly reminiscent of fresh button mushrooms together with red fruits, black cherries and creamy oak lingering. A mouthfilling full-bodied style. 14% alc. $46. 3Sep2004.
Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 Metallic, tobacco, chocolate, a lovely richness, spicy, a little hot, heaps of savour, sweet and jammy. 9Oct2003.
Wollaston Nelson Pinot Noir 2002 There's quite a lot of new oak with guava and cherry plum fruits in this spicy, full-bodied red. It's quite rich with some plummy Merlot-like traits. Good length. Lingers well.