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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
2003 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 27 Jul 2007

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 on year to go to reviews for that vintage
[2008/2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2003 Vintage [top] [index]

Allan Scott Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Cherry red hues of medium depth. Stewed plum and game meat aromas. Quite savoury in palate with fruit in the black cherry / plum spectrum and a balanced creamy oak. A medium to full-bodied style with spice on the finish accentuated by anise and the peacock's tail flare as it lingers. Quite robust with fruit sweetness and grippy tannins behind it. 14% alc. $25. 23Oct2004.

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Translucent crimson ruby, aromatically appealing, youthful, juicy and ripe to the taste, laden with cherries and a touch of smoky herb, intense in flavour with good acidity and a spicy musky finish, excellent potential for aging. It has a lovely elegance when compared to the higher alcohol 2002 Akarua, which was one of the biggest blackest NZ Pinot Noirs ever made. 14% alc. $38.95. 25Aug2004.
Made from the best barrels, rose petal aromas Lead into a dry, full-bodied, quite gutsy wine with good fruit, a lovely spicy backbone, silky tannins and good length. 14% $39.95. 5Oct2004.
Dark cherry red, almost opaque in the centre with translucent ruby rims. A richer, meaty, more savoury, gamey wine with spicy oak and a silky, velvet-edged texture. It has a mouthfilling complexity with black cherry and plum fruit, a hint of liquorice, savoury herbs and a long creamy finish. 14% alc. $38.95. 25Jan2006.

Akarua The Gullies Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) (Bannockburn, Central Otago) Fragrant and fruity with a ruby colour, red berries and smoky oak, the earthy savoury flavours fill the palate well while tamarillo and cherry fruit mingle with herbs on the slightly tart finish. An introductory style of Central Otago Pinot and the second wine of the Akarua label. 14% alc. $33.95. 8Sep2004.
A barrel selection for an earlier drinking style, this is soft, light and juicy with the perfume of rose petal and a velvety textured finish. A Pretty wine. 14% $33.95. 5Oct2004.
Bright, clean, translucent garnet red with a pinkiness to the hue. Earthy, slightly oily aroma with hints of cherry and musk. Silky textured in the palate with smoky oak and sweet fruit, good acidity and a warm finish with herbs and spices lingering. A medium weight pinot with sweet fruit nicely balancing the savouriness, delicious to 'drink now'. Cuisine Top 10. 14% alc. $33.95. 2Feb2005.

Alana Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Savoury smelling with mushrooms, flowers and hints of barnyard, it shows some interesting Burgundian-like characters in the earthy palate. Silky textured with a dry savoury earthy finish, there's lots going on. 17/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Alexander Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Intense aromas lead into a savoury palate but it is just a little chunky with slightly grippy tannins, good fruit comes through to linger in a savoury mould. Quite lifted on the finish with good length. 16.5/20. 13% alc.$33. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A lovely rich, velvety and silky textured wine with good mouthfeel and weight, well-balanced fruit, some yeasty notes on the finish. 5Oct2004.
Richness of colour and a slightly earthy, beetroot aroma mixed in with cherry jam initiates this savoury wine that has a touch of anise and other aromatic spices on a mushroom-influenced backbone. A medium weight wine in its delivery with a long savoury finish with lingering warm spice and cherry fruit on savoury, slightly herbal oak. 14% alc. $40. 23Oct2004.
Youthful garnet red. Appealing, slightly earthy, pinot aromas and savoury, complex flavours. A multi-layered wine with smoky oak, fruits of the forest, cherry jam, mushrooms, anise spices, sage-like herbs, silky tannins, a long succulent finish and a brightness to the aftertaste. Very smart and deliciously drinkable. 13.9% alc. $43.95/$38.95. 13Apr2005.

Ashwell Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Savoury, vanillin oak aromas and a rich savoury backbone characterise this silky textured wine that has lots going on in the palate. Savoury fruit melds into vanillin oak with an earthy undercurrent and a long sustained spicy finish. Lovely balance and length. 13.5% alc. $45. 18.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Astrolabe Young Vines Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Medium weight purple crimson hues. Light, dry and fruity with a creamy oak influence, macerated strawberry and cherry fruit, a subtle suggestion of herb and lots of spicy oak on the slightly peppery finish. A nicely balanced, fruity style that is very approachable right now. 13.5% alc. $27.95. 26Jan2005.

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Wonderfully aromatic and full of bountiful fruit flavours of cherry, plum and blueberry with spicy, smoky oak, ripe grainy tannins and a long finish that hints of the complexity this wine will develop with more time in the bottle. A perfect match to smoked beef, I wasn't sure if the smoky aftertaste came from the beef or the wine – it could easily have been from both. 13.5% $20. 20Sep2004.
Quite intense in colour, rich and savoury smelling with a lovely mouthfilling flavour of plum, cherry and red guavas with spicy oak and an earthy backbone. A lovely, round wine with velvety tannins and a long savoury finish. 13.5%. $60. 18/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Auntsfield Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Deep cherry red. Earthy, maraschino-infused aromas. Savoury, earthy, slightly muddy flavours with a good expression of sweet cherry fruit with just a hint of strawberry - seems a little concocted and simple in the line-up though quite easy drinking style with grainy tannins and a dry finish. 12.5% alc. $39.95. 17Jul2005.

Aurum Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Translucent cherry red. Herbs and smoke on the nose and light red fruits in the strawberry, cherry spectrum, a little tart at first with increasing richness mid-palate, velvety tannins and a sweet spiciness coming through on the finish. Nice wine but in a line-up of over-$30 pinot noir, it seems a little light and simple. 13.5% alc. $35. 17Jul2005.
Perfumed oak and purple fruit on the nose and fruitcake cherry and cooked blackberry fruit in the palate. A creamy textured wine with spice coming through on the soft, biscuity finish. 13.5% alc. $29.50. 1Mar2006.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Translucent ruby-garnet coloured with smoky bacon and cherry aromas and spicy, cherry chocolate flavours lifted by abundant acidity with herbs and a smoked meat character as it lingers. A lighter style of pinot, ready to drink now. Central Otago 14% alc. $29.95 . 22Jun2005.

Bilancia Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2003 Savoury on nose, marinated cherry, anise and clove-like spices, smoky oak, good acidity and bite giving a flare to the finish and soft, youthful tannins. Long finish. Has potential. 17.5/20. $25.95. 19May2004.

Blackridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 A little smoky on the nose, a floral style of pinot, quite lifted, a little chocolatey, cherries, rose hips, Creamy oak, savoury and spicy with a lovely lifted finish and good length. There's an intriguing slightly peppery note to the wine that adds character and bite to the finish. 13.9% alc. 5Oct2004.

Blind Trail Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (c) A little lighter in colour than some of the other Otago pinots. Smoky herbs and macerated cherries on the nose lead into a dry savoury palate with mulled wine spices, subtle fruit and a long, spicy, citrus-infused finish.. It may be light in colour but while it lacks in colour, it does not lack in substance with its fine silky tannins and all-round, gutsy, vinous pleasure. 13.5% alc. $28. 10Mar2006.
Smoky and savoury with concentrated black cherry jam and earthy, almost truffle-like scents. This is a big wine, a robust wine, with quite powerful tannins for the variety. It's spicy in its flavour with an acidic zesty bite from the subtle orange-like citrus underpinning red and black cherry fruit and a sweet earthy savouriness to the full-bodied finish. It has evolved in colour over the last 15 months to a deep translucent garnet, and it's mouthfilling, vibrant and long. 27Jul2007.

Borthwick Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Translucent deep ruby red. Creamy aromas of macerated fruit-cake cherries with smoky oak, tart red fruits and dry, slightly grainy tannins leading to a long, sweet-sour finish with a nuance of thyme-like herbs. I'd want to match this with food, perhaps coq au vin. 12% alc. $29.95. 27Jun2005.

Cable Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Fruity wine with a good backbone, the light translucent colour of the wine deceives the power. Sweet cherry flavours with a creamy velvety texture and a ripe fruit aftertaste. 12.5% alc. 20Sep2004.

Canterbury House Pinot Noir 2003 Garnet coloured with good density, almost opaque. Herb influenced smoky aromas with ripe pinot fruit, good acidity, a velvety textured richness and a long smoky, savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $17.95. 29Jun2005.

Cape Campbell Limited Edition Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 - Marlborough Deeply coloured with purple red hues, luscious aromas of ripe spiced cherries and a full, intense flavour with lovely palate richness, sweet cherry fruit, musk, rose petal, smoky bacon and a spicy kick to the savoury finish. Ripe, round and deliciously drinkable. 13.5% alc. $34.95/$30.95.

Carrick Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Plum and cherry fruit with tarry oak and a velvety-tannined fruit sweetness coming through on the herbal finish where thyme and dried rosemary add an interesting complexity to the savoury, juicy aftertaste. A pretty wine. 14% alc. $38.50. 19Sep2005.
A very refined pinot aroma - it smells smooth and in the palate it is with its fine, silky tannins. There's a dark, tarry, almost leathery nuance to the mulled fruits of the forest with a gorgeous, Burgundian-like, earthy savouriness. The finish is long and lingering with macerated cherries coming forth and hints of chocolate as it lingers. 14% alc. $38.50. 1Mar2006.
A concentrated, deeply hued maroon colour, smoky, earthy, savoury aromas and a full body with velvety tannins, ripe cherry and cranberry fruit, spicy oak and musky herbal nuances to the rich, savoury, earthy finish. Full-flavoured, mouthfilling and long. 14% alc. $38.99. 16Aug2006.

Chard Farm 'Vipers Vineyard' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Ripe cherry and musk on the nose with nuances of fennel and forest floor, and ripe cherry and plum fruit in the palate with musky spices and a touch of chocolate as it lingers. The upfront sweeter fruit is balanced by the underlying savoury complexity that comes from the herbs and spicy oak while a chocolatey richness builds on the finish, which has the peacock's tail starting to open up. A powerful, silky textured wine, and quite youthful. 13.5% alc. $41. 10Mar2006.

Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Youthful rich red colour. Full-on aromas of ripe fruit and smoky, slightly herbal oak lead into a rich, ripe, mouthfilling flavour full of succulent red fruit with musky spices on a satin-like texture and a lovely spicy, smokiness coming through on the finish. A very generous wine with perfectly balanced acidity, it has lots of user appeal. 13.5% alc. $32.00. 17Jul2005.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 On the nose the aromas are clean and bright with cherry and fruitcake nuances carrying through to the palate with a slightly liquorish backbone. With silky tannins and beautifully integrated oak, this is a refined and elegant wine - it doesn’t smack you in the face, just seduces you slowly as the flavours draw out to a long, savoury finish that balances the concentrated cherry fruits. 14% alc. $40. 5Jun2006.

Coney Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Earthy, savoury aromas of a classic Martinborough style. Ripe and rounded in the palate with red cherry guava fruit on a savoury backbone. A beautifully structured wine with lovely balance of fruit and oak, silky tannins, good acidity and a long savoury finish. TBR Feb 05. 14% alc. $35. 19/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Craggy Range Te Muna Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Good depth of grape garnet colour, this is a crisp young pinot with fruits of the forest and savoury oak building on the creamy palate then filling out with more meaty, gamey, cherry flavours with a long sustained finish. Quite reserved at this stage of its life, it is not yet released and will blossom with a little more bottle age. 13% alc. 1Sep2004.
Brightly hued with rich and appealing aromatics that exude lovely pinosity and meaty scents. Ripe fruited with lots of plums and black cherries balancing the lovely savouriness of the wine. A big full rounded style of pinot with silky tannins and excellent length, very appealing and easy to drink. 13% alc. $39. 18.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Daniel Schuster Twin Vineyards Canterbury Pinot Noir 2003 Light in colour with cherry biscuits and a hint of smoke and tar on the nose, it's dry, earthy and savoury in the palate with subtle fruit that only makes itself known on the aftertaste when those light cherry and cranberry flavours come thru to linger with the biscuity oak. It's not a weighty wine but has plenty of vinosity and good acidity, a crisper wine than some of the others, you could imagine this being a quite fresh and appealing light red on a hot day. 13% alc. $25. 31Jul2004.

Daniel Schuster Waipara Pinot Noir 2003 Translucent guava/cherry red. Ripe smelling with savoury, smoky bacon nuances on the nose and a sweet-fruited palate with cherries and a touch of plum. Quite a big wine with polished savoury oak, grainy tannins, herbs and fruit cake spices as it lingers with its mouthfilling aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $39.95. 17Jul2005.
Rich red of medium depth with cherry and smoky herb aromas than emanate richness and power. An earthy style with sweet dark plummy fruit emanating out of its depth to balance the more upfront tarter cherry and tamarillo fruit with grainy tannins, and a savoury, smoky finish. It seemed a little disintegrated but as much improved the second day, this is worth decanting. 13.5% alc. 5Jun2006.

Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Light ruby. Smoky, slightly sweetish, chocolate and cherry with a herbal overtone in the palate and noticeable acidity and slightly drying tannins on the savoury finish where spicy oak with a clove-like nuance lingers. Try with tomata pasta or pizza. The acidity will go well with this type of food. **(*) 14%. $21. 10May2004.

Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 A tight youthful pinot with all the hallmark characters you expect of Dry River – intensely deep colour, floral aromatics laced with creamy oak and this time olives. The luscious palate is full of sweet ripe fruit, savoury oak, smoked meats and aromatic Asian spices. The finish is lifted by all the delicate florals that emerge again to linger with just a hint of anise and a savouriness to the powerful aftertaste. 13% alc. $69. 20Sep2004.
Very deep and inky in colour with intense plummy Merlotesque aromas, this is a big chunky chocolatey style that initially lacks the delicacy that I associate with pinot yet wonderful pinot traits come through on the meaty savoury finish. Very long in flavour and quite distinct for Martinborough (though some Central Otago pinots have achieved this level of ripeness and depth). 13% alc. 17/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Domaine Georges Michel La Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 A ripe, plush pinot noir with rich cherry red hues and smoky savoury aromas flushed with maraschino cherry and a mouthfilling savoury flavour where the earthiness of the wine and the ripe fruit harmonise beautifully in the mouth. There's subtle strawberry and richer red currant with a hint of toffee and the finish is long and spicy. 13% alc. $24.95. 26Oct2006.

Drylands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Light cherry red, almost identical in colour to the Nobilo Icon tasted alongside it. Spicy oak, soft tannins, earthy notes, cherry, red guava, a touch of herb with a smoky finish, this sweet-fruit medium-bodied style will have wide user appeal. Match to slightly acidic food to balance the sweetness - a grating of lemon zest will do the trick. $RRP 18.95. 26Apr2004.
Vanillin oak – smells like American oak with a slightly cherry coconut influence. Medium weight colour, fruity, fresh, varietal backbone, savoury influence, light, fruity, easy style, has some charm. 16/20. $18.95. 19May2004.

Escarpment Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Earthy, herbal aromas lead into a savoury meaty wine with sweet cherry fruit pushing through the mushroom and forest floor flavours. Dry grainy tannins need to soften and meld in. Shows promise for the future but just a little awkward at this stage. 13% alc. $45. Cork. 15.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Escarpment 'Kupe' Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003 Bright, youthful, intensely coloured deep crimson purple-black with crimson rims and a deep black-red garnet core in a well-filled glass morphing to a gemmy rubellite colour when the glass is nearing empty. Very softly aromatic on the nose, it has a floral and oak spice perfume and the spice carries through to the palate where it is joined by voluptuous fruit and smoky savoury oak, the oak quite dominant at first until it is swamped by the fruit. Earthy with a great intensity of plum and cherry fruit infused with clove and cinnamon spices and liquorice, the texture is plush with quite firm grainy (crushed velvet) tannins and a long, sweet fruited, dry spicy finish. There's good acidity with a hint of liquorice chocolate on the aftertaste while amongst its youth and perfume it has an earthiness that is typical of Martinborough. 14.1% alc. $60. 1Apr2005.

Fairmont Block One Pinot Noir 2003 – Wairarapa (sc) A denser, more savoury wine with smoky oak, nutmeg and musk aromas and savoury earthy flavours. Deep and intense with just a hint of chocolate and a fine velvety texture, a complex wine in many respects it is difficult to define the fruit at first until plum fruit sweetness and a balancing tamarillo-like tartness emerges on the lingering, full-bodied finish. 13.5% alc. $34.95. 17Nov2004.

Felton Road Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Purply-red. Wild berries and Central Otago herbs on the nose. Slightly woody in the palate. It's spicy and savoury with wonderful fruit concentration, cherry, red berries, red currants, musky/rose petals, lifted finish. It looks like it is going to be very good. Barrel sample. 4Mar2004.

Framingham Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Quite rich and savoury to the nose with hints of mocha, cherry and mushroom. Lovely vinosity to the texture with silky tannins, plum, guava and cherry fruit and a warm finish with a savoury, stewed fruit aftertaste. A savoury, earthy style with a full body, a touch of spice and a warm finish. 13% alc. $29. 1Mar2005.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Youthful in colour with purple hues, while immediately lighter than the '02 there is a lovely charm and elegance with its silky tannins and mouthfillingly rich flavours of purple fruits alongside the cherry and Central Otago herbs. Sweet cherries linger with spiced smoky oak. There was no reserve made in this year and it seems the overall quality is up, shown by the finesse of this wine. 13.5% alc. GV vertical tasting, 24Aug2004.
This is deep in colour, with youthful purple hues reminiscent of the flesh of ripe Black Doris plums, the plummy theme carrying on into the sweet fruit aroma that is permeated with chocolaty oak. It's rich and earthy to the taste with a velvety, creamy texture, firm ripe meaty tannins, black cherry and plum fruit, mossy forest floor and a hint of orange citrus marmalade as it lingers. An interesting wine with plenty of layers. 13.5% alc. $47.95. 8Feb2006.

Gladstone Avatar Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Deep, translucent, ruby colour. Savoury, earthy and slightly spicy aromas with hints of strawberry and guava. Rich, savoury and tarry in the palate with a good wallop of black cherry and spicy red guava on a smoky, earthy, slightly mushroom backbone. A powerful, mouthfilling wine with a velvety tannin structure that is well integrated to the concentrated fruit with lingering spiced cherry flavours and a hint of rose petal muskiness that adds intrigue to the finish. Smooth, round and very drinkable. Very good. Fruit comes from TeHoro, north of Wellington. 14.9% alc. $39. 23Oct2004.

Greenhough Nelson Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A little lighter in colour than the 'Hope' but still with plenty of depth. Cherries and chocolate on the nose together with nuances of cedary oak. Earthy and savoury with a rounded silky tannin structure, lots of floral musky notes, good fruit in the red cherry, raspberry spectrum and a mouthfilling creaminess. Quite in your face with lots of flavour, a dry spicy finish and a lingering, slightly herbal/violet aftertaste with just a hint of tamarillo as it lingers. An appealing style. 13.5% alc. $27. 23Oct2004.

Greenhough Hope Vineyard Nelson Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Lovely depth of pinot colour. Floral smelling with hints of fresh lavender and wild red berries over creamy oak. Smooth tannins and ripe round flavours with a definite chocolate nuance, good fruit definition in the cherry and plum spectrum with a blueberry nuance, peppery spices and herbs. A riper style with plenty of flavour and depth, well balanced acidity and a hint of liquorice on the almost floral-like finish, it builds in the palate to leave a powerful, lingering, slightly earthy, savoury fruit aftertaste. 14% alc. $42. 23Oct2004.

Hinton Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A seductive style with a velvety lushness and spicy flavours with rich, sweet berry and cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate that melts the senses. It's a richly coloured, full-bodied, mouthfilling wine with a smooth texture and a savoury edge to the lingering finish with those cherries and chocolate hanging in there, deliciously - very much what I expect from good Central Otago Pinot Noir. 14% alc. $37.95. 3Nov2005.

James Love Pinot Noir 2003 – Alexandra, Central Otago Medium depth pinkish red. Smoky vanillin oak aromas and wild boysenberry and blackberry fruits on a soft spicy palate with a sweet earthiness coming through. Good acidity that builds the long tarry finish and the aftertaste is long and creamy. A nicely balanced pinot in the riper fruits spectrum. 14% alc. $39.95. 5Jan2005.
Deep red, but without any purple hues, it smells of bittersweet red berry fruit - like cherries and guavas and cranberries - together with earthy notes and savoury tones, even a hint of smoky bacon. It's become quite mellow, soft and savoury with bittersweet fruit, leather, rose petals and mulled wine spices. Hints of chocolate and plush velvety tannins add to the full-bodied mouthfeel while the acidity pushes through to bring a zesty flair to the lingering finish. Very good. 14% alc. $33. 17Jan2007.

Judge Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Plenty of perfume in this aromatic, lifted wine, a medium weight wine, perhaps not as complex as the '02. Cherry fruit with a herbal backbone and a spicy bite to the finish with oak adding weight and richness to the long fruity finish. 13.5%. 5Oct2004.
The colour emits purple from the translucent dark cherry red while on the nose the aromas are of creamy oak with fruitcake cherries and attractive spices. There's fruitcake cherry in the palate too with a chocolatey richness and lots of smoky herbs emerging to linger on the savoury aftertaste. Integrating nicely with the sweetness of the fruit adding juiciness. 13.5% alc. $29.50. 1Mar2006.

Julicher Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Smelling rich, intense and very varietal, this is a full-flavoured wine with black cherries melding into a herbal, earthy savoury backbone, some earthiness to the dry, long finish with layers of ripe fruit and later, definitely some mocha! 13.5% alc. $36. 17.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Kawarau Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 - Central Otago Medium depth, garnet red. Smoky, damp earth aromas with a hint of bacon, initially tarry and oily textured in the palate with a tart herbal overtone but as it opens up the classic red and black cherry flavours of Central Otago pinot come through. A multi-dimensional wine with lots going on as it builds to a rich, generous, mouth-filling finish with an earthy, savoury aftertaste. A wine to savour in a big glass. Certified organic. 13.5% alc. $37.95/$33.95. 6Apr2005.

Kina Beach Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Densely coloured savoury wine with firm meaty tannins and a powerful rich gamey palate filled with black fruits, savoury oak, liquorice, anise and a mouthfillingly long, chocolatey finish. A wine with incredible power and delicious flavours. 14.5% alc. $40. 12Sep2004.

Lake Hayes Central OtagoPinot Noir 2003 (sc) Spicy, rich, lovely texture, mouthfeel and weight, a nice kick to the wine, not too light, not too heavy. Quite intense smoky berries on the nose, cherry, raspberry, spice, sweet oak, medium tannins, savoury oak, a little floral with violets and herbs lingering on the warm spicy finish. Mouthfilling and long with a ripe fruited, cherry and chocolate aftertaste. 13.5%alc. $29.95. 16Jul2004.
Quite a meaty style with a musky spicy backbone, quite good. $29.95. 5Oct2004.
Light in colour with forthcoming savoury aromas but just a little light and lollyish in the palate, a fruity wine without too much complexity, a cordial-like cherry/berry flavour and a smokiness to the drying finish. 14% alc. $29.95. 23Oct2004.
The translucent, dark cherry red colour introduces a soft, fruity, easy drinking, medium-bodied Pinot Noir with strawberry and cherry fruit, a savoury gamey backbone, a silky texture, just enough smokiness and a juiciness to the ripe fruit finish. These medium styles are very versatile with food. 14% alc. $29.95. 25Jan2006.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) This is a big fruit bomb, a merlotesque style of pinot with fruit cake cherries and spices on the nose, but wait, there's a savoury, earthy richness that comes through in the palate with firm tannins and good acidity on the finish. The graphite-like oak is quite dominant, however, and the fruit is too much in the blackcurrant spectrum - too big for the variety and for me a distraction. 13.5% alc. $27.95. 10Mar2006.

Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Deeply coloured, full of flavour and panache with voluptuous cherry and berry fruit on a spicy backbone with leather and savoury notes and plenty of gutsy pinot charm. Drinking well now. First crop fruit from Roger and Jean Gibson's vineyard at Lowburn near Cromwell in Central Otago. 13.5%. $33. 12Oct2004.

Olssens Jackson Barry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Deeply translucent black cherry red, this is almost opaque. Creamy oak, ripe black cherry and spice on the nose with a floral nuance coming through then in the palate the ripe fruit is almost jammy, like cherry jam on toast. The finish is soft, rounded, full-bodied and savoury with good persistence. 14.5% alc. $37.50. 1Mar2006.

Olssens Slapjack Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Big colour, big fruit and big flavour, ripe, almost jammy and slightly tarry with a ton of cherry, plum and spice that builds to a rich fullness. Clean, ripe and juicy with a creamy texture, beautifully structured tannins and a lovely elegance to the finish. Very stylish with lots of appeal. 14.5% alc. $59.95/$50.95. 23Mar2005.
Deep, youthful, densely coloured purple-red with crimson edges. Smoky aromas with nuances of ripe black cherries and red guava. Rich, voluptuous flavours, warm alcohol, sweet smoky oak, a touch of herbs and liquorice, and a rich, spicy, savoury finish. A big wine with structure and power. 14.5% alc. $59.95. 25May2005.
Depp in colour but not opaque. Savoury, sweet mushroom and mellow spicy oak aromas lead into a palate full of juicy, primary, sweet cherry fruit with silk-lined velvety tannins, a chocolatey undercurrent, a touch of anise and musky floral notes. It's concentrated and seductive throughout its flow to leave a lingering aftertaste of spiced cherry and plum. Beautiful now but will develop more intriguing complexities with further cellaring. 14.5% alc. 9Sep2006.

Ma Maison Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (c) With good colour extraction, this is brightly hued to the eye. Savoury, meaty aromas and sweet plummy fruit in the palate with a burst of cherry makes this spicy, robust, velvety tannined wine with an earthy citrussy tang quite appealing. Good acidity. Excellent length with those cherry bursts emerging again. 13%. 9Oct2006.

Ma Maison Martinborough Pinot Noir Reserve 2003 (c) Several more levels up (than the non-reserve of this label), this is a lovely, earthy, savoury, silky mouthful with just a hint of musk to add to the charm. The aftertaste is long and juicy. Clone 5. 13%. 9Oct2006.
It smells rich, ripe and concentrated with savoury, cedary oak and the taste, wow, it's ripe and savoury with bitter cherry, chocolate, subtle spice, cedar, smooth silky tannins and a rounded complexity. As the wine opens up in the glass the intensity of the fruit comes through with a touch of liquorice as it lingers. Complex and fulfilling. 13% ac. $30. 26Oct2006.

Main Divide Canterbury Pinot Noir 2003 Bright in its colour with black cherry hues, seductive vanillin oak and a silky texture on entry, it's quite savoury with a gamey richness, tart fruits in the cherry, tamarillo, red guava and cranberry spectrum and rose pepper and musk on the spicy, slightly woody more velvety finish. 13% alc. $23.95. 31Jul2004.
Deep crimson red with purple tinges. Smoky, savoury, slightly earthy aromas with a redolence of sweet plum and guava fruit adding to the olfactory appeal. Smooth to the taste with velvety tannins, creamy oak and a savoury richness, good acidity brightens the finish and woody musk and spiced cherry flavours linger for ages. Good colour, generosity, curvaceousness and complexity for the price. 13% alc. $23.95. 14Apr2005.

Margrain Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Earthy, savoury and slightly bretty aromas that mar the fruitcake scents. It is earthy flavoured and leathery in the palate with a sour finish. Possibly a faulty bottle. Another sample showed that this is a big strapping wine with quite grippy tannins at this stage. 13.0% alc. $48.00. Cork. 15/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Martinus Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Chocolate aromas add to the intense full scents. Savoury to the taste, slightly earthy and herbal with good tannins, ripe cherry fruit and a touch of rosemary on the savoury finish. Good wine, just a little chunky at this stage. 13.5% alc. $34.95. Cork. 18/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Martinborough Vineyards Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Quite intense, varietal and earthy, the appealing aromas are followed by a savoury mouthfilling drop with plenty of weight and flavour. Cherries, fruits of the forest, a slightly herbal influence and a lovely silky textured sweet fruit finish with a long, savoury aftertaste characterise this beautifully balanced wine. TBR Feb 2005. 13.5% alc. $60. Cork. 18.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.
Rich dense red with bright aromas - a nice meld of smoke, savoury oak, fruit and just a hint of rose-petal. A vivid wine in the mouth with great expression of earthy savouriness, tart fruits in the tamarillo and guava spectrum infused into the creamy oak with a silky mouthfeel and a long, dry finish. Good acidity and well-balanced through out. A complex wine - dry, earthy, savoury, tarry, Burgundian-like - it expresses its terroir. 13.5% alc. $60. 17Jul2005.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Lovely translucent deep ruby hues, this wine has a lovely herbal backbone and nice pinot tartness, it is a lighter style but has plenty of charm and flavour with an earthy note to the dark berry fruit finish. 20Sep2004.

Matua Valley Shingle Peak Pinot Noir 2003 Cedary oak, slightly earthy, gamey, good colour, good depth of flavour, musk, spice, herbs, youthful, has promise, savoury finish. 17/20. $18.95. 19May2004.

Matua Valley Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2003 Oaky influence on nose, creamy, lots of berry, spice, some development to the colour and tastes rather older than a 2003. Oak dominates and ripe raisiny fruit lingers. 15.5/20. $28.95. 19May2004.

Mills Reef Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A light to medium weight pinot in both appearance and taste. Quite an intense berry fruit and vanillin oak aroma. Sweetish on entry with a creamy texture, firm tannins, a spicy backbone and chocolatey influence to the tarry savoury flavours that emerge. Good length with a juiciness to the lingering smoky finish and a touch of liquorice on the aftertaste. An appealing style at the introductory level. 13%. $15.95. 23Oct2004.

Mt Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) This is a beautiful wine, ripe and balanced with a lovely juicy undercurrent, not too rich, very complete, great potential, well worth recommending. 14% alc. 5Oct2004.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2003 - Central Otago (sc) A medium-hued pinot. Smoky aromas with smoky bacon, damp earth and cherries, savoury and fruity in the palate, quite sweetish in some respects. Lovely texture and balance and a long delicious aftertaste. 14% alc. $24.95. 17Nov2004.

Mt Rosa Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A bright ruby-hued red of medium depth. Earthy smoky to the nose, the first taste tells of the lovely texture and roundness. It is savoury, earthy, gamey, just a little leathery with smoky herbs and a lovely savouriness. A mouth-pleasing meaty wine yet still lifted, floral, rose hip traits. Food brings out the red fruits in the wine. 13.5% $21.95. 26Jul2004.

Mount Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 A spicy savoury wine with a lovely herbal influence of wild thyme and fresh lavender, good colour and weight and a lovely lifted finish. Good tannin structure, Quite firm, this wine has lots of charm and will develop well. Savoury plums and spicy Herbal oak on finish And Lovely aftertaste. Good wine. 13%. 5Oct2004.

Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Juicy smelling ripe-fruited Pinot, tasting ripe and fruity too with cherries, strawberries and chocolate building on the soft, smooth silky texture and a slightly earthy, gamey note that adds to the long savoury finish. Nicely balanced with good vinosity, very easy to drink and enjoy. 13% alc. $22.95. 22Dec2004.

Mount Rosa Black Saxon Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Light, fading ruby coloured, this is a medium-bodied style with smoky oak and spiced cherry aromas and bittersweet cherry flavours with spicy oak and silky tannins. It's savoury and lithe with a hint of thyme on the finish and a surge of citrus as it lingers. Winemaker Dean Shaw. 13.8% alc. $25.99. 10Jan2007.

Muddy Water Waipara Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Sweet cherry fruit and spice aromas infused with subtle oak. I like the vinosity in this wine, the silky tannins that deliver a smooth mouthful with multi-layered flavours of chocolate, cherry, savoury oak, a hint of anise, a touch of herb make a very enjoyable taste experience. There's a nice earthy backbone, the wine has lovely structure and flow and it finishes dry. 13.5% alc. $39. 17Jul2005.
Quite floral on the nose with hints of rose petal, herbs and savoury oak, leading into a ripe palate with silky tannins and an earthy sweetness. A delicate style of pinot, beautifully balanced throughout and quite divine. 13.5% alc. $40. 19Sep2005.

Murdoch James Fraser Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Perfumed, fruity, cherry-like aromas lead into a more savoury wine in the palate, showing some hardness at first, it rounds out to a softer finish with lingering cherry fruit. Well structured with firm tannins and a lifted perfumed finish with lingering rose petal nuances. 13.5% alc. $60. Cork. 16/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Nautilus Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 A dense ruddy red with fading rims. Ripe and round with a savoury, slightly salty, rosemary influence to the stewed fruit flavour, and a lingering, slightly minty finish. Showing a little development and ready now. 14.5% alc. $32.95. 19Oct2005.

Neudorf Home Block Nelson Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) There's a lovely density to the deep ruby hue. Chocolate and cherries with savoury, slightly herbal characters on the nose. Smooth and round in the palate with plenty of spice, hints of fennel, crushed berry fruits and a juiciness to the sweet, ripe, rounded, musky finish. Quite obvious creamy vanillin oak on finish with lingering anise and a long aftertaste. An appealing floral, user-friendly style with a lot of charm, just needs a little more time on its side. 14.5% $56. 23Oct2004.

Neudorf Nelson Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Medium depth pinot in colour, savoury and gamey with tart cranberry and guava-like fruit together with herbs building to a smoky finish. A wine with an interesting, almost indescribable pinot intrigue, it has a hint of chocolate on the creamy savoury oak aftertaste. This wine took a while to open up and tasted rather velvety on day 2. 9Aug2004.
Smoky notes characterise this velvety tannin wine. Lots of good fruit in the plum, cherry spectrum, Savoury oak and meaty notes linger on the long finish. 14% alc. $28. 20Sep2004.
A well-coloured intriguing, complex wine with a lovely balance of savoury earthy flavours with spicy oak, plummy fruit, a silky texture and a sweetness to the lingering finish. 14% alc. $28. 19Sep2005.

Nga Waka Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A lighter coloured wine in a line-up of 22 Martinborough pinots. Quite chalky textured with rose petal nuances, strawberries and cherries. Dry puckery tannins detract from the spicy finish which leaves some hot peppery flavours lingering. Though tight right now, there are some very appealing characters and it should evolve well. TBR Mar 2005. 13.5%. $35. 16/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.
Smoky, savoury, slightly herbal aromas and tarry, oily, earthy flavours with a hint of leather. Get past this to find ripe strawberry fruit with a touch of raspberry to add tartness, soft velvet tannins and a powerful, creamy, ripe-fruited finish. 13.5% alc. $35.00. 17Jul2005.

Nobilo Icon Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Light cherry red in colour, fruity in the palate with fruit cake spices and vanillin influences on the finish. Medium bodied wine with a warm pinot finish. RRP $22.95. 26Apr2004.

Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Deep ruby red with crimson flashes. Ripe-fruited, creamy aromas with abundant cherry and a nuance of herb. Quite lifted flavours with red fruits on a smoky, savoury backbone, velvety tannins and a long succulent finish with an earthiness emerging with sweet fruit as it lingers. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 9Nov2005.
Deep guava red with pinky-crimson rims, aromatic, appealing black cherry aromas with just a nuance of herb and smoky, savoury flavours with nicely weighted red fruits and velvety tannins building to a long succulent spicy finish with an earthiness emerging as it lingers. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 23Nov2005.

Olssen's Jackson Barry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Sweet fruited with tasty ripe black cherry and strawberry and a creamy richness like Roses' strawberry chocolates with savoury oak and nuances of Central Otago wild herbs coming through on the finish. Long and flavoursome with excellent length. 5Oct2004.

Olssen's Slapjack Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Made from a selection of the best barrels, This is intense and savoury with a little more spice than the Jackson Barry, I'd like to see it with food. Good grip, weight and length with lovely herbal nuances and a savoury finish. 5Oct2004.

Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Intense, vibrant, inky black red with ruby rims, it has an intriguing, smoky, savoury aromas, like spit roasted lamb studded with rosemary and Asian spices. Over the course of the tasting the aroma changes, but it is always savoury and just a little funky. Powerful and concentrated in the palate with black plum, dark cherry and boysenberry fruit, tight-grained silky tannins, smoky spices and a long, savoury meaty finish with fruit sweetness titivating the aftertaste. A complex wine that needs time to reveal all its fascinating intricacies. 14.5% alc. $75. 26Jul2006.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A savoury complex style with polished cedary oak on the nose and oak and tannins quite dominant in the palate which hides some of the variety's intrigue, but gee the finish is good. There's spiced cherries, plums and chocolate that push the oak away to linger on the lush, savoury finish. A wine with lots of life ahead of it. 13.5% alc. $42.95. 10Mar2006.
Dark ruby red with lighter pinky-red edges, this is a wine of pure finesse with an alluring pinot perfume and fine silky tannins that envelop the mouth and excite the senses. A savoury wine with a gamey, meaty, earthy complexity, mellow integrated fruit and oak and a long silky finish. A beautifully balanced wine to sip and savour. 13.5% alc. $42.95. 26Jul2006.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Purple-red, medium to deep colour, savoury smoky nose, quite earthy with strawberry guava and cherry flavours, velvety tannins and a chocolatey smoky savoury oak finish where there's a lingering woody herbaceousness. A young wine with bitey acidity throughout, at this stage nowhere near as seductive and big as Peregrine's previous vintage. 14%. 16Apr2004.
Cherry, hints of chocolate and thyme, developing nicely with a good acid backbone, good weight and length. An aromatic style with a spicy richness and a creamy finish. $35. 9Aug2004.

Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2002 (sc) Light in colour with a vinosity and richness to the flavour more than the colour would lead one to expect. Savoury and earthy with sweet stewed plum and cherry fruit, a nice balance and a pretty pinot charm. This style of wine matches to so many foods, it is a great asset for a restaurant wine list. $22. 1Mar2005.

Pisa Moorings Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 A more savoury wine with lovely cherry and plum fruit, spices and savoury complexities, lovely tannin structure and a long savoury, silky textured finish. Good potential, not released when tasted. 5Oct2004.
Creamy vanillin oak makes this seem quite mellow in the palate with an integration of soft plum and bitter cherry fruit, a herb-smoke backbone, a rounded medium-bodied finish and good acidity to keep it crisp. A little lighter than the '02 and '04 from this producer. Screwcap. 1Mar2006.

Pisa Range Black Poplar Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A well-coloured, medium weight Central Otago pinot with sweet smoky cherry and musk on the nose. Ripe and rounded in the palate with well defined cherry fruit, a nice influence of French oak, hints of spice, and a lovely savouriness to the long, smooth, velvety tannined finish that has a warming alcoholic punch. It has that 'hard to describe' pinot intrigue and is very enjoyable to drink. 14.5% alc. $37. 12Nov2004.
Translucent guava-red in colour with savoury aromas and juicy plum and cherry fruit flavours integrating into the savoury backbone that is supported by suave tannins. A medium-bodied wine, it builds in the palate to a creamy, spicy, vibrant berry fruit finish with lots going on in the aftertaste with a hint of tamarillo and an earthiness as it lingers. Showing some lovely development with lots of life ahead of it. 14.5% alc. $37.95. 1Mar2006.

Pond Paddock Hawk's Flight Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A lighter coloured pinot with a fruity aroma, it seems quite light, fruity and simple at first but develops some nice savouriness with rosemary tinged vanillin oak and a rose petal muskiness to the finish. 17/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.
Translucent ruby-garnet. Savoury aromas and sweet, ripe fruit in the strawberry, cherry spectrum. A medium-bodied style, plush in texture with juicy fruit and just a touch of citrus to add the tartness that the variety needs. There's a nice, spicy mulled wine character with smoky oak as it lingers. 13% alc. $29.95. 27Jun2005.

Porters Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Lighter in colour but strongly savoury with a chocolate richness and cherry sweetness to the full-bodied finish. Rich but not overpowering with juicy underlying fruit and good tannins. 13% alc. ~$49. 24Aug2004.
Light red with ruby hues, aromas of chocolate, cherries and smoky vanillin oak, good bright acidity in the palate with crisp red fruits, seductive velvety tannins and a long savoury finish combine with mouthfilling richness.13% alc. $49. 12Sep2004.
A lighter hued wine with lovely cherry scents and a spicy, peppery backbone that complements the fruity characters. The finish is ripe and rounded. Not an overly complex wine but it has some lovely pinot charm. 13% alc. $48. 16.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Quartz Reef Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Savoury slightly earthy, forest floor aromas, earthy in the palate too but with good structure and acidity, a savoury earthy richness and a hint of chocolate. This wine flows across the palate with its silky tannins and sweet spiced plummy fruit while lovely balanced acidity come across like a hint of orange and gives that exceptional peacocks tail flare to the finish. 14.6 %alc. $41.95. 1Mar2005.

Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Cute bunny label that would draw buyers confused by the plethora on the pinot labels on the shelf at a similar price point to perhaps pick this one out. Fortunately the wine's quite good. Light, sweet cherry, savoury oak, a touch of Central Otago thyme, musk and spice with a seam of acidity throughout make up the flavours in the soft, entry level, early drinking style. Made by Chard Farm. 13% alc. $22. 2Apr2004.
Cherry, grape garnet colour. Slightly smoky with spiced cherry aromas, spice and cherry chocolate in the palate, it's a little sweetish and jammy with medium tannins, a hint of a feral character and an earthiness with woody herbs as it lingers. 13% alc. $22. 16Jul2004.

Richardson Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Deep purple garnet in colour with cherries, herbs and slight earthy nuances on the nose, this velvety textured wine is full of ripe strawberry and cherry fruit with a lovely spicy, anise-like character that lingers on the full-flavoured aftertaste. Likely to develop a touch of chocolate with time, this beautifully balanced wine has lovely vinosity that makes it so approachable and easy to enjoy as a drink right now. Made by Michelle Richardson. 14% alc. $49.95. 15Dec2004.

Rimu Grove Nelson Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Good colour. Cocoa/ mocha, wild berry and slightly cherryish aromas. Spicy in the palate with rose petals, hints of pepper, a whisper of chocolate and a ton of cherry and sweet concentrated fruits of the forest that balance the firm savoury tannin structure of this wine. It seems delicate at first but has plenty of mouthfilling gusto and is drinking well now. Quite dry. 13.5% alc. $38. 23Oct2004.

Rippon Jeunesse Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 Fruit cake spices and black cherry on the nose. Fruity in the palate with maraschino cherry to the fore. Nice texture, vinous, tending towards silky with an earthy savouriness coming through to linger and a hint of spritziness on the finish. Pleasing aftertaste. I think it will improve in the bottle. 13.5% alc. $37.00. 17Jul2005.

Rippon Lake Wanaka Pinot Noir 2003 Rich, ripe, succulent aromas with subtle smoky oak and rich juicy cherry fruit becoming almost liqueurish, kirsch-like. Earthy backbone with gorgeous spices like anise forging their way through the truffle-covered forest floor with sweet oak and fruit balancing the earthiness perfectly. Silky tannins and cedary French oak as it lingers. Big wine. Big score. 13.5% alc. $45. 17Jul2005.

Riverby Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Strawberry herbal and boiled beetroot aromas with clove studded oranges. Light in palate with strawberry, lollyish flavours and a minty, metallic finish with sappy sweet oak lingering. There's could possibly have been some taint affecting this wine. 13.5% alc. 1Mar2005.
Deep ruby/garnet coloured with sweet smoky oak and maraschino cherry on the nose. Quite jammy in the palate with ripe cherries balanced by a touch of citrus, building to a savoury spicy finish with abundant vanillin oak coming forth again to linger with cherry chocolate and just a hint of musk. Ripe, rounded, medium to full-bodied silky tannins - and so much better than the last bottle tasted. 13.5% alc. $29. 27Jun2005.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 A lot of fruity charm, lifted and aromatic, the quality is there. Velvety tannins and a lovely backbone of Central Otago herbs. 5Oct2004.
Deep in colour and rich in flavour, this earthy smelling wine has red cherries pushing through the dirt. Soft and silky textured with strawberry fruit, creamy oak and a warm ripe finish, savoury herbs emerge to linger on the finish, reminding you this ripe, lush, gutsy wine is really Pinot. 14.5% alc. $38.95. 10Aug2005.
Lovely silky tannins, rose petal, a touch of chcoolate and a spiciness to the creamy aftertaste. Long, with excellent pinosity. A great expression of Central Otago pinot noir, and one of the best that I tasted at the Central Otago Winemakers tasting in Auckland on 1st March 2006. 14.5% alc. $39. 1Mar2006.

Sacred Hill Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Rich in colour, a dark ruby red, this smells quite earthy with a smoky bacon nuance and a woody herb complexity (fennel rather than the more common Otago thyme). It's a fairly rich, mouthfilling pinot with solid velvety tannins, a chocolatey backbone and a rich, fruity, cherry berry finish. Good body and weight throughout and good length too. Improves with sitting in the bottle a couple of days. ***(*) 14% alc. $30. 10May2004.

Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) There's a medium depth of colour in this purple hued wine, a light weight chocolatey pinot with black cherry, savoury oak, mulled wine spice, velvety tannins and a fruit cake spice finish. Seems a little off dry, a slightly sweeter wine that balances the acidity that appears on the fresh, lively finish. 13.5% alc. 16Apr2004.
Good depth of colour with a deep centre and ruby rims. Cherry, spice, herbs, smoke and savoury mushroom aromas and flavours with good texture and mouthfeel, a touch of sweetness and a hint of chocolate on the creamy, smooth finish. Affordable, drinkable and tasty, undeniably pinot, ready to enjoy now. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 28Jul2004.

Saint Clair Doctors Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Ruby-hued colour of medium depth. Spicy oak characterises the earthy flavours of the typically varietal style. Black cherry, tamarillo, herbs, smoky bacon, a youthful wine that needs to soften just a little to let the sharp acidity that comes forth on the finish, integrate. Rounded tannins, good balance. Dry finish. A little bit of sophistication for the price. 13% alc. $24.95. 18Apr2005.
Ruby hues with savoury, earthy aromas and a good definition of herbs running though the palate with a morello cherries, plums, slightly dry grainy tannins and nicely balanced French oak in the background. A more earthy wine than the Omaka with a slightly feral influence. The oak is a little more predominant at this stage. 13% alc. $29.95. 13Sep2005.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Ruby hued. Rich flavoured with smooth, ripe, silky tannins, smoky oak, black cherry, a hint of cherry guava and a chocolatey finish with good acidity carrying the length and the long savoury aftertaste. Very approachable with lots of pinot noir charm. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 13Sep2005.

Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) The good thing about this wine is that it immediately smells like Pinot. A light, fruity, slightly spicy wine with clove-like flavours from the oak and cherry and guava-like flavours from the fruit, a nuance of white mushroom adds an earthiness, there's a touch of tar and a slightly herbal, anise-like complexity on the finish. A sweeter, entry-level wine with lignering cherry and cloves. *** 12.5% alc. $19.95. 10May2004.

Schubert Marion's Vineyard Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Savoury, earthy, smoky bacon and guava scents then smoky bacon, cherries, tamarillo and guava flavours that build on the palate of this earthy, savoury, meaty style with smooth, flowing, silky tannins, creamy oak, crisp mulled wine spices, lifted acidity and a rose petal / floral delicacy to the lingering finish. Will evolve well. 14% alc. $30. 23Oct2004.

Schubert Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Smelling of fruit cake cherry and vanillin oak aromas, rounded cherry fruit and fruit cake spices characterise this soft, savoury wine that is quite forward already. Smoky, savoury, earthy with a slightly feral character, juicy berries and musky characters linger on the spicy finish. Nicely balanced with reasonably complexity. 14.5% $45. 23Oct2004.

Seresin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Mouth-puckering drying tannins distract from the well-balanced savoury oak and sweet fruit that build on a savoury, earthy backbone, but overall just a little lean and extracted. Shame because delicate rose-petal characters that show off Pinot's charm come through. At this stage have with food or cellar for a little longer to let it open up. 13% alc. $42. 17Jul2005.

Shaky Bridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A fragrant pot-pourri of an aroma with thyme-flower and hints of rose petal and lavender, the fragrant herbs carry to the palate with spiced berry fruit, a creamy, velvety tannin structure and a berry-pie character to the backbone. A round, smooth full-bodied style that is very approachable, without losing the focus of the pinot fruit. Shaky Bridge is used as the export label for William Hill and is a different barrel selection to the William Hill label. 14% alc. $36. 1Mar2006.
A well-coloured red with little fading for its age, the aroma is earthy and savoury, even a little 'pongy' to start, with dark, spicy oak and subtle cherry and red guava fruit that carries through to the finely structured, silky textured palate. It's very dry but with natural fruit sweetness imparting balance and a touch of clove-studded orange peel coming forth on the lingering smoky finish. 14% alc. $36. 1Aug2006.

Shepherds Ridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Quite dense, slightly purple colour. Fruity smelling, strawberries, raspberries. A sweeter style with fruit cake cherry and guava, a savouriness coming through on the finish with a rose petal musky character and spicy aftertaste. Firm tannins. Dry finish. Nice aftertaste. 13.5%. $32. 23Oct2004.

Shingle Peak Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) The first I've had from the 2003 vintage, perhaps less intense than the same brand from 2002, it's quite savoury, light and fruity, soft and easy going with fruit cake cherries and soft tannins. We had it with pizza the first night and the leftovers went with garlic prawns and calamari rings – yes you can drink red wine with seafood. 12.5% alc. 20Mar2004.

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 A youthful ruby-hued pinot with a dense core, Earthy, savoury and herbal with spiced plums, smoky oak, a crushed velvet texture and an almost chocolate finish, but a little let down by the acidity that emerges to linger sharply. 14% alc. $27.95. 19Oct2005.

Staetelandt Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Good mouthfeel and flavour, plush and juicy with savoury oak and a tartness to the long, sophisticated, sumptuous finish. This wine seems to have gone to a new level – it could be new clones coming into play or it could be the vintage. 13.5%. $35. 24Aug2004.

Stonecutter Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Fruitcake cherries characterise the aroma of this appealing wine made in a lighter style without too much complexity, it is ripe and clean with plenty of pinot charm with good fruit weight on the finish and lingering flavours of cherry. 13.5%. $35. 16.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Stratford Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Characterised by aromatic peppery scents almost reminiscent of syrah, there's good fruit balancing the pepper, a dry tannin structure and a meaty savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $42.00. Cork. 15.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.
Deep red black hues, smoky, savoury, earthy aromas and cherry, plum and charry oak flavours with an earthy backbone and firm, ripe savoury tannins. A big, rich, mouthfilling wine with good depth, beautiful balance, a spicy finish and that essential pinot intrigue. Very good. 13.5% alc. $42.95. 23Mar2005.

Te Hera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Wonderfully aromatic, good pinosity, lovely hue. A wine that shows a lovely savoury complexity with a delicious cracked berry flavour, a warm savoury backbone and typically earthy pinot traits. Very balanced throughout with a velvety tannin structure and rose petal nuances to the finish. 18/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Te Kairanga Reserve Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (c) Garnet red, it's a little bitey with its youthful acidity on the first taste (tasted immediately after a luscious gewurztraminera) but the palate soon adjusts. Smoky aromas and flavours of cherries, raspberries, tamarillos, bacon and leather with firm dusty tannins, a spicy, savoury wine with a silky texture and a long smoky finish. Powerful and mouthfilling with great length, I think it needs a bit more bottle maturation to see it at its best – give it 6 months. **** 13% alc. $50.95. 12May2004.
Savoury, slightly earthy scents, dry to the palate with flavours quite typical of Martinborough in style. Good cherry fruit and a long savoury finish with a touch of leather and a long full aftertaste. Just lacking a little in complexity in the line-up of 22 pinots. 13% alc. $52. 16/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Earthy aromas and lean, leathery, weedy, savoury flavours ubderpinned by firm slightly bitter tannins are all the hallmarks of a corked wine - problem of the closure not the wine. There's underlying cherry fruit that emerges and it builds to a rich finish. 13% alc. $55. 17Jul2005.
There's an old rose allure to the aroma with an earthy savoury richness and brambles, and a smokiness to the flavour with red fruits, silk-grained tannins and a long, dry, savoury finish with rose petals emerging again to linger on the aftertaste. Lots of oak and lots of interesting layers of flavour. 13% alc. $55. 8Mar2006.

Terrace Heights Estate Pinot Noir 2003 - Marlborough (sc) Amazing depth of colour with youthful pinkish rims, a little bready on the nose with earthy, mossy forest floor scents behind that and full, rounded flavours of spicy oak and ripe cherry fruit with mushrooms, hints of anise, and woody tannins. Full-bodied and juicy with a savoury complexity to the finish. 13% alc. $27.95. 16Mar2005.
Deep red-black colour, inky in comparison to the Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée. Smoky vanillin oak and cherries on the nose and lush ripe flavours of cherries and plums with fruit cake spices and an earthy richness. A weighty, fruity wine with good grip on the finish. At the Merlot end of the Pinot Noir spectrum. 13% alc. $25.95. 27Jul2005.

The Crossings Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Great depth of youthful colour. Lovely spicy backbone to the bright red and purple fruit flavours with cloves, sweet spicy oak, hints of thyme and a feral, gamey character to the warm finish. Softly textured with spicy oak lingering. 13% alc. 2.5g/L rs. 19Jul2004.

Thornbury Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A sweetish smelling pinot with ripe cherry, strawberry and cedar aromas and ripe-fruited flavours with a touch of chocolate coating the strawberry and cherry fruit, quite dry tannins and a savoury flourish to the finish with that citrussy 'peacock's tail' flare. Drinking very well now. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 30Oct2005.

Trinity Hill High Country Pinot Noir 2003 Showing good structure and savoury complexity with a firm tannin backbone and smoky oak. It softens up with some aeration and the initial flavours of guava, tamarillo and cherries become more spiced black cherries with a touch of anise. The finish is smoky and musky and there's just a hint of strawberry that adds a touch of sweetness to the long, savoury finish. Grown grapes grown in the cooler hills to the south of Hawkes Bay's Heretaunga Plains. RRP $39.95. 26Apr2004.
Fragrant and appealing with spicy oak and cherry aromas. Mocha-like oak and spice in palate, reasonable depth with quite drying tannins and a little metallic on finish. Otherwise very appealing. 17/20. $38.95. 19May2004.

Two Paddocks First Paddock Pinot Noir 2003 - Central Otago Dark garnet in colour, quite dense. Earthy, smoky aromas with a hint of strawberry and well-balanced savoury flavours with an earthy complexity, spicy oak, firm tannins and a long deep finish with a touch of chocolate and cherry coming through. More savoury than I usually expect from Otago, the sweet fruit and the chocolate is the clue. 13.5% alc. $38.95. 11May2005.

Two Paddocks The Last Chance Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Deeply translucent,. Subtle smoky notes on the nose then in the palate the exotic spices, orange peel, strawberry and cherry fruit and herbs make an interesting flavour combination. It is tightly structured with dry silky tannins and a fullness coming through on the smoky, lifted aftertaste. Alexandra fruit. 13.5% alc. $40. 1Mar2006.

Two Paddocks Picnic Pinot Noir 2003 - Central Otago Savoury tar, liquorice and spicy oak with sweeter Christmas cake cherry and raspberry fruit and a tart herbal edge to the finish. A medium-bodied style with good acidity and length. 12.5% alc. $26. 16Jul2004.

Valli 'Gibbston Vineyard' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Ruby-garnet hued, densely translucent but not quite opaque. It smells rich and chocolatey at first but an alluring floral fragrance of herb flowers overlain with cherries, emerges. Ripe and round in its flavour with a smooth texture, a good depth of sweet and tart cherry fruit, an underlying earthiness, a touch of anise spice and a long succulent savoury finish, it has good acidity that indicates the wine will age. It is the balance of the wine that makes it stand out. 14% alc. $43.95. 24Sep2005.

Vavasour Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Youthful, deep ruby red with good depth of colour. A dry wine with cherry and spices, a touch of anise, smoky oak, a hint of bacon, pinot's quintessential earthiness and a creaminess to the spicy finish where a pleasing, savoury and slightly herbal nuance comes through to linger with tamarillo-like fruit and smoky oak. A vibrant wine, nicely balanced throughout. 14% alc. $29.95. 27Jun2005.

Vidal Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Savoury smelling and lightly earthy with sweetish cherry and guava fruit coming through. A lighter, early drinking style with a feral complexity that adds interest.13.5% alc. $17.95.12Nov2004.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Purple hued in its deep ruby colour, smoky slightly meaty aromas, bright cherry and red fruit flavours, good acidity, hints of liquorice, a crushed velvet texture, a fruity finish and a smoky, earthy aftertaste. Cherries linger with an earthy richness. Offering plenty for the price. 13% alc. $22. 31Jul2004.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Rich colour and intensely aromatic with a cherry and chocolate aroma. Bright fruit flavours of cherry and plum balance the savoury, slightly herbal oak and the earthy tarry backbone. Beautifully balanced with wonderfully fine tannins, aromatic spices and a long creamy aftertaste. A big wine but still retaining the pinot noir delicacy. Without a doubt, a superstar. 14% alc. $52.95. 6Oct2004.
Ruby hues. Lovely aromatics, lightly floral, herbal, savoury scents. Savoury flavours fill the mouth with a smoky backbone of oak, violets, spices and just a hint of anise melding into a silky tannin structure. Good acidity with exquisite balance and a long powerful finish, it just flows. A delicious match to a creamy duck liver pate. 14% alc. 19Oct2004.
A brilliant deep ruby hue and very appealing lightly floral, slightly herbal, savoury pinot aromatics lead into a fine silky textured savoury wine with smoky spicy oak, a hint of anise, earthy mushroom flavours, black cherries and a hint of chocolate. There is so much going on in this beautifully balanced wine and with good mouthfeel and lovely acidity to match the ripe fruit, it takes New Zealand Pinot Noir to another level. It has a good tannin structure and is built to last. 14% alc. $52.95. 17Nov2004.
Dense black-red with crimson rims, very fine in appearance. Savoury smelling with ripe cherry fruit and smoke, smooth, silky and seamless in the palate with concentrated cherry and plum fruit, savoury oak, a touch of winter herbs and an aromatic spiciness to the rich, almost chocolatey finish. Beautifully textured with a long, lingering savoury aftertaste - a wine of incredible finesse. 14.5% alc. $52.95. 25May2005.

Villa Maria Rutherford Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 Deep ruby purple in colour with fragrant smelling, rich savoury aromas and mouthfilling spicy flavours with ripe black cherry and juicy plum fruit, firm velvety tannins and a tarry, earthy influence to the long savoury finish. Rich, full-bodied and rather opulent as well as succulent and although very young, it is already drinkable. 14% alc. $57.95. 19Oct2005.

Voss Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003A quite robust savoury wine with more oak that they usually use. Earthy and savoury with good fruit weight and a long pleasing finish. A main course style. $35. 9Aug2004.
Savoury smelling with hints of cherry and crisp to the taste with fruitcake cherry on a savoury, earthy backbone. There's lots going on in the wine and though there is some palate hardness right now, good pinot characters come through on the finish to linger with fruit sweetness. 13.5% alc.$38-$42. 16.5/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Vynfields Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 Earthy, savoury meat aromas lead into well rounded flavours of sweet cherry and chocolate with good texture and vinosity, cherry fruit richness on finish and a barnyard nuance as it lingers. 14.6% alc. $39. Screwcap. 17/20. Martinborough Pinot tasting. 7Oct2004.

Waipara Hills Canterbury/Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Slightly biscuity aromas with smoky, burning herb twigs in the background. Tarry, earthy and savoury with a firm tannin structure, a creamy texture, tart cherries and stewed plum fruit, and a savoury smoky finish with lingering slightly herbal oak. Overall a little sour which makes it a little too drying on the finish. 13% alc. $19.95. 23Oct2004.

Waipara Hill Simmonds Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Densely coloured with slightly savoury, meaty (meat casserole) aromas over cherry fruit on the nose while in the palate it is a lush fruit bomb of a wine with chocolate, cherry, mocha and spicy oak adding character. Balancing the sweet fruit to perfection is acidity in the form of citrus and a good tannin structure that gives the wine a solid spine. With its juicy fruit, sweet oak, lingering spices and that elusive pinot muskiness, it seems a very user friendly, drinkable style but watch the alcohol punch on the finish. 15.5% alc. $52.95. 23Oct2004.

Waipara Springs Pinot Noir Reserve 2003 (sc) Deep coloured, almost opaque in its dark, plum flash red colour. Earthy aromas with a liquerish note, this is a rich, mouthfilling savoury style with a hint of tamarillo joining plum, cherry and guava fruit, with polished French oak enhancing the Burgundian-like earthy characters - there's a sweet herbal character emerging on the creamy finish (like very faint mint). Long, warm and rich with silky tannins. Very good. 13.5% alc. $36. 9Nov2005.

Walnut Ridge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Rich and chocolatey smelling with bright cherry fruit, an earthy grainy tannic backbone and a slightly feral, leathery finish. 13.5% alc. $26. 20Sep2004.

William Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 – Central Otago (sc) Soft, smoky, aromatic. A little jammy, plenty of fruit with black plums, cherry and raspberry with smoky herbal-like oak and a chocolatey touch to the lingering finish. A hint of leather, herbs, plenty of fruit and smoky oak with a spicy lift to the bright fruited finish. A wine that has the potential to age. 14% alc. $36.95. 15Sep2004.
A rich, plummy, slightly earthy aroma with a hint of apricot. Earthy and savoury in the palate with macerated cherry and plum fruit, herbs, a touch of chocolate and a funky character coming from the yeast. Rounded and full-bodied with a spicy note to the creamy finish and a long, savoury, herb-infused aftertaste. 14% alc. $35. 1Mar2006.

Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) A fruitier style and less complex style than the 2002, with a savoury backbone and a fruity charm. The finish lingers well. 24Aug2004.
Beautifully hued with earthy, mushroom and mossy forest floor aromas while in the palate there is sweet crisp cherry and plummy guava fruit with warm cedary, smoky oak in the background and rounded velvety tannins. Good complexity in a savoury style with good acidity and bite giving the peacock's tail flare on the finish. Savoury, slightly salty (think rosemary) and long with lots of depth and flavour, a rose petal muskiness on the aftertaste and hints of spiced tamarillo too. Quite intriguing. Very good indeed. 19/20 and top wine of the 23rd October tasting. 14% alc. $47.95. 23Oct2004.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Earthy and savoury with cherry, wild boysenberry and raspberry fruit building up in the earthy, complex palate with grainy, chamois-like tannins and a spiciness to the lifted finish. A touch of orange citrus comes through to give a little flare to the finish. Fruit sourced from the Mt Michael Vineyard, nearby. 14% alc. $34.95. 1Mar2006.

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Index to Varietal Tastings
Chardonnay Gewurztraminer
Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc Other Whites
Bubblies Sweeties Pinks
Cabernet dominant Merlot dominant Pinotage
Pinot Noir Shiraz Other Reds

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