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Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
2004 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 19 Jul 2009

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]

2004 Vintage

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Creamy and succulent with a savoury backbone, rounded velvety tannins and a lifted finish with crisp, juicy fruit. Very flavoursome. 13.9% alc. $39.95. 1Mar2006.
Earthy, smoky aromas and a silky, suave texture, medium to full-bodied with lovely cherry undertones, wild thyme and a long, savoury finish with a little bit of grip and a musky fragrance as it lingers. 13.9% alc. $39.95. 23May2006.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Ripe cherry fruit on the nose with hints of chocolate and sweet cherry and plum in the palate with hints of liquorice, firm tannins and a good seam of acidity to carry the finish. Tasted from a 375ml bottle sealed with a cork. 13.9% alc. 10Mar2006.

Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Light crimson in colour with earthy, dark cherry aromas and a gorgeous silky texture, there's a distinctive 'Martinborough' earthiness, subtle French oak, maraschino and morello cherry fruit and a clean savoury finish with a long cherryish aftertaste. A medium-bodied wine, drinking beautifully already. 14% alc. $28. 30Oct2005.

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Good depth of plum red colour. Slightly herbal, earthy aromas and rounded, mouthfilling flavours with grainy tannins, smoky oak and a sweetness of cherry jam and violets on the lingering finish. Concentrated with good acidity, a vinous depth and a dry, herbal aftertaste. A slight departure from the usual Ata Rangi style. 14% alc. $60. 8Mar2006.

Awa Valley Kumeu Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Quite faded in colour but there's an interesting savouriness to the flavour with plum and guava fruit and a leathery, slightly barnyardy character to the finish. A medium-bodied style. 13.2% alc. $20. 23May2006.

Black Estate Waipara Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Light in colour but rich in flavour; it's silky in texture, earthy and savoury with a gorgeous fruit sweetness, a touch of liquorice, the slightest hint of chocolate then some lovely fragrant herb notes coming through to dry up the finish which is flavoursome and long. Grainy tannins add interest. 13.5% alc. $40. 10Oct2006.

Black Estate Waipara Pinot Noir 2004 (c) A deep translucent garnet colour with appealingly fragrant, sweet-oaked, perfumed cherry and almost floral scents. There's a bright lift to the taste with a cherry sweetness, subtle and well-integrated French oak, smooth silky tannins, a hint of chocolate and a lovely earthy 'forest floor' funkiness emerging on the long sweet / savoury finish. It's drinking absolutely beautifully now and the underlying acidity will see this wine continue to track along this path for a few more years yet. 13.5% alc. $29. 20May2008.

Borthwick 'Paddy Borthwick' Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Translucent cherry red. Smoky, feral notes on the nose with a cherry fruit undercurrent, and a savoury, silky textured palate with cherry and stewed plum fruit, fresh acidity, an earthy richness and orange-infused spices on the lingering, slightly tart, finish where there's a hint of leather too. Quite tight when first opened, it gets better with a little time in the glass to develop a lingering, vinous richness. 13.5% alc. $32.95.

Boundary Vineyards Kings Road Waipara Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Garnet-red with violet flashes. Sweet vanillin oak on the nose continues into the palate with ripe cherry fruit, tamarillo, a hint of orange rind and firm tannins on an earthy savoury backbone. The finish is long and tasty with savoury herbs lingering with sweet oak. Excellent value for money. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 1Jun2005.

Cairnbrae Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Bold coloured with quite overt vanillin oak aromas with 'cherry ripe' chocolate bars in the background and ripe juicy flavours with fruits of the forest, a touch of earthiness and a fruit cake cherry finish. Full of creamy oak, it is just a little sweet for me but has tons of commercial appeal and is a great introduction to pinot noir's charm for the novice. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 18Apr2005.

Camshorn Waipara Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Ripe meaty fruit underpinned by sweet vanillin oak and herbs on the nose, the herbs dominate the palate which has bitter cherry and chocolate with cigar box on the smoky finish. It has all the hallmarks of savouriness with a touch of spice, more silky than velvety tannins and is full-bodied with good length and a touch of mulled citrus as it lingers with alcoholic warmth. 14% alc. $32.95. 1Aug2006.

Capricorn Wines Struggler's Flat Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Ruby garnet, savoury and earthy smelling with stewed plum, guava. An earthy Martinborough style with warm savoury oak, rich red fruit, fruitcake spices and a warm, rich, full finish with good acidity that gives the peacock's tail flare. Good length and an earthy aftertaste. 13.5% alc. 9Nov2005.
Ruby garnet, savoury and earthy smelling with black cherries, stewed plum, red guava, earthy spices, hints of leather, warm savoury oak, plush velvety tannins and a long savoury finish with a warm, rich aftertaste. Fantastic value for Martinborough. 13.5% alc. $19.95 special. 7Dec2005.

Carrick Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Savoury rich and ripe. A little grainy in texture, sweet maraschino fruit, a hint of the Central Otago herbs, it flourishes to a rich, concentrated and juicy finish and a long savoury aftertaste. 14% alc. 18Sep2006.
A ripe luscious style, deep in colour, it's opulent to the smell and taste. Concentrated cherry fills the perfumed bouquet, it's smoky and spicy with sweet savoury oak, firm grainy tannins and mouthfilling flavours of cherry and stewed plums with a hint of chicory and chocolate. The firm acidity that underpins the wine emerges on the lingering savoury finish. Plenty of drink now charm. 14% alc. $35.99. 22Nov2006.

Carrick Unravelled Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A barrel selection for the 2nd label of this company - earthy smelling with a herbal influence and tarry tannin, plum fruit and a savoury finish with chocolate notes coming through as it lingers. Lots of flavour without being too seriously complex. 14% alc. $24.50. 19Sep2005.
Deeply translucent with youthful pinot hues. Smoky aromas and savoury flavours with grainy tannins that give a rounded, full mouthfeel. Lots of juicy wild strawberry and black cherry fruit with smoky, savoury oak and hints of floral herbs, the wild berry fruit comes to linger on the earthy, savoury finish. Nicely integrated since last tasted and representing value for money. 14% alc. $24. 1Mar2006.

Chard Farm Finla Mor Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A lighter Burgundy red in comparison to the dense 2005's, it's a soft mellow style with a cherry jam aroma and ripe red berry flavours supported by savoury oak with hints of liquorice and milk chocolate. The tannins are plush and velvety, and wild herbs and spiced orange peel linger on the zesty finish. 14% alc. $38.99. 15Nov2006.

Chard Farm River Run Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Purple-tinged cherry red. Rich, ripe, concentrated cherry aromas and a concentrated palate with ripe red fruit and a smoky earthy note to the finish. Some sophistication. 13.5% alc. 1Mar2006.

Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Not as deep in colour as many of the region's colour intense wines, but bright in its guava red hue. It smells earthy and savoury yet enticingly fruit sweet with its subtle cherry nuances. Savoury to the taste with a fruity tang, the texture is all satin and silk with just a little bit of grip. Bone dry with fantastic length, if you love the taste of Burgundy but can only afford New Zealand wine, then try this. 13.5% alc. $32. 29Sep2006.

Clayridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep cherry red. Spiced plum and black cherry on nose with fruitcake spices adding to its allure. Quite complex, rich and full with velvety tannins adding texture to the palate. A fruit wine with smoky bacon, spiced mushroom, hints of anise, rose petal, cherries, hints of tamarillo and an earthy undercurrent to the long, ripe, savoury finish. Very fulfilling. 13.8% alc. $29. 31Jul2007.

Clayridge Excalibur Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A deep and sensuous aroma with smoky oak, dark cherries, spice and freshly harvested white mushroom with all the aromas coming through on the silky smooth palate. Rich and sweet-fruited yet soft, subtle and mellow with hints of rose petal and a long savoury aftertaste, a seriously drinkable wine, a very pretty wine, the belle of the ball. And a fantastic accompaniment to the backstraps especially with a hint of lavendar in the herb rub. 13.2% alc. $38. 20Apr2007.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A complex aroma of black cherry and mushroom lead into a surprisingly lighter tan expected palate flushed with strawberry and cherry fruit that exude a succulence over the velvety, earthy backbone. A beautifully focussed pinot noir that is delicate to start but soon fills out with layers of flavour to give that elusive peacock'stail flare on the finish. Packed with pinot noir charm. 14% alc. $41.95. 10Mar2006.

Crossroads Destination Series Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Quite light transparent garnet in colour. Smoky, savoury, earthy aromas with sur bois and a little bit of funk and savoury, spicy and reasonably complex flavours with blck cherry, hints of blackberry, fine tannins and a dry finish. It has picked up some bottle developed characters, there's a hint of tyre rubber and the ripe fruit finish has a spicy aftertaste. Drinking very well now. Good. 13% alc. $19.95. 31Jul2007.

Desert Heart Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Burgundy-hued with a floral, stewed berry fruit aroma - it has a nuance of rose hips to the scent. Sweet-fruited with silky tannins and a fruit cake cherry richness. An earthy, feral note emerges on the finish with a crisp seam of acidity carrying through to the rounded aftertaste where there's a touch of clove and other oak-derived spices. Desert Heart's vineyard is in Felton Road, Bannockburn. 14% alc. $34. 1Mar2006.

Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Rich ruby red, opaque at the core. Ripe and berryish with a nunace of tamarillo and a hint of wild rose on the nose - it smells smooth and it tastes smooth with anise spices, fennel-like herbs and subtle oak. A sultry, supple, savoury wine with that quintessential cherry character lingering on the finish. 14% alc. $39. 21Feb2006.

Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Rich ruby red. Quite opulent, ripe and concentrated with ripe cherry fruit aromas leading into a rich, rounded palate with red berries, macerated cherry and sweet plummy fruit and an intrinsic, savoury depth. Beautifully structured with integrated oak, slightly grainy tannins and a floral, musky, perfume to the finish, it will become even more complex with cellaring. 13% alc. 8Mar2006.

Drylands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Translucent ruby red with smoky oak, sweet jammy fruit, cherries, herbs, mulled wine spices, an earthy mid-palate and a savoury finish and a slightly tart aftertaste. A lighter style. 13.5% alc. 27Jun2005.

Escarpment Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Slightly reductive on the nose when first opened, this quickly disappeared to let the rich, concentrated, earthy pinot aroma shine. Sweet cherry fruit in the palate with herbal nuances, dry grainy tannins, and a touch of citrus on the finish, it was very tight when first opened but opened up with sitting in the glass and a tasting the next day showed it to be rich, concentrated and savoury. 13.5% alc. $45. 8Mar2006.

Fairhall Downs Estate Wines Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Ruby garnet, deeply translucent. Rich cherry aromas with hints of tar and ripe cherry and red berry fruit, savoury oak, crushed velvet tannins and a long, creamy finish with warm spicy oak lingering nicely and a long savoury aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 9Nov2005.

Fairmont Estate Admiral Hill Pinot Noir 2004 - Wairarapa Rich red of medium depth. Aromas of cherry with a slightly herbal backbone then in the palate tart red fruits like guava and tamarillo. The texture is a little oily and the flavours are earthy and savoury with a spicy flourish to the finish. It's a very refined wine with silky tannins, beautifully integrated almost honeyed oak and a rounded, seamless finish. The underlying acidity carries the length. $19.95. 11Jun2006.

Fairmont Estate Block One Pinot Noir 2004 - Wairarapa (sc) Dense ruby-purple coloured with a just a nuance of chocolate coming through the savoury, cedary oak aroma, and beautifully structured, velvety-textured, succulent pinot flavours of plums, black cherries, spices and herbs with an earthy, savoury undercurrent throughout and a rich, earthy aftertaste. 14% alc. $33.95. 28Sep2005.

Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Purple-black, very dense, quite startling for pinot - but this is young, just bottled pinot from a low yielding vintage. Opulent smelling and richly flavoured with terrific fruit concentration in the plum, black cherry spectrum forcing its way out from the tarry, earthy, savoury backbone with succulent velvety tannins, sweet creamy oak, warming alcohol, a lifted red fruits finish and a spicy aftertaste. There's a touch of chocolate, too, as it lingers. Very tight and youthful at this stage but fantastic potential. 14% alc. $46.95 . 22Jun2005.

Foxes Island Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Smoky aromas backed up by rich cherry fruit, soft rounded tannins, vanillin oak and a long silky finish with fruit sweetness to the savoury aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $39.95. 23May2006.
Translucent ruby garnet, smokey, gamey savoury aromas hint of cedar and earthy, savoury flavours flow across the palate beautifully with firm, silky textured tannins, subtle vanillin oak, a touch of anise, a herbal undercurrent, and mellow bittersweet fruit reminiscent of cranberry and bitter cherries. Medium acidity adds a hint of spiced orange and lifts the peacocks tail on the drawn out finish. 13.5% alc. $39.95. 19Aug2006.

Framingham Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Appealing varietal aromas of black cherry and spice. Silky textured, full-bodied and quite gutsy with plenty of fruit in the cherry, plum and tamarillo spectrum, it's juicy and savoury with an earthy richness, vanillin oak, grainy tannins and fruit cake spices. Still drinking well 3 years on from vintage, the slightly dominant oak is the only distraction. 13.5% alc. $28.95. 31Jul2007.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Light coloured pinky garnet. Herbal, savoury, slightly meaty aromas with a subtle infusion of cherry, and medium-bodied savoury, herbal flavours with an earthy depth and an acidic edge until a cherry richness takes over and builds to a fruitcake sweet finish. Tannins are soft and smooth with a slightly graininess, like rubbing velvet against the lie of the grain and there's a delicate rose bush spiciness to the finish. A pretty wine with some lovely lingering pinot noir flavours, lighter than expected from this label probably because of the difficult 2004 Central Otago vintage. And there's a little surprise at the end as well from the tartrate crystals that have accumulated already in the bottle. Good effort. 12.5% alc. $39.00. 22Jun2007.

Gladstone Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Rich ruby red coloured with ripe cherries, smoky oak and slightly herbal aromas setting the scene for a silky textured, savoury mouthful with an earthy richness, a lovely marriage of sweet and tart fruit in the cherry and guava spectrum, spices, silky tannins and a mouthfilling chocolatey finish. Medium to full-bodied, quite dry with good acidity but beautifully balanced throughout. A wine with finesse and charm. Top wine in my under-$30 pinot noir tasting. 13.8% alc. $29.50. 27Jun2005.

Grove Mill Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 Translucent deep cherry red. Ripe and rich smelling with chocolate oak and nuances of sweet fruit with plummy fruit in the plate mixing nicely with the savoury, earthy, slightly herbal backbone, velvety tannins and a ripe, full finish. At the merlot end of pinot noir, almost too fruity but definitely drinkable. 14% alc. $29.95. 17Jul2005.

Hinton Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Earthy and savoury with cherry and strawberry fruit, nuances of herbs, silky tannins and a long clean finish. And although it is a more transparent and lighter style, it has lovely vinosity and is a surprisingly good match to chilled, fresh, early season strawberries. It is the wine to have as the entrťe to the main course. 13.5% alc. $37.95. 3Nov2005.

Hyperion Eos Pinot Noir 2004 - Matakana Light in colour, clear cherry red. Delicately smoky with nuances of herbs and morello cherries, cherry and wild strawberry fruit make a lovely impression in the palate. It's got nice viscosity, silky tannins and a juicy finish with the earthy savouriness of pinot coming through to linger. 12 months in French oak. Match to Ham. 13% alc. $25. 19Feb2006.

James Love Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Not so expressive on the nose, savoury with some sweetish smelling, ripe maraschino-like cherry fruit emerging. A medium bodied style with lightberryish flavours, hints of leather, plenty of underlying acidity that expresses itself like chocolate-covered raspberries, firm tannins and a savoury finish with hints of mocha. A very food friendly style, especially with salmon. 13.7% alc. $26. 17Jan2007.

John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir 2004 -Waitaki Valley (sc)
Slightly orange-tinged garnet in colour, it's pungently aromatic with smoky bacon, deli meats and spices emanating from the glass and a sweet-fruited palate that is actually sweet and savoury with mulled wine spices and dried orange peel. A concentrated, powerful wine with silky tannins and a seductive finish, it has an earthy undercurrent with a smoky veneer of oak, bright acidity and a gamey aftertaste. 14.2% alc. $49.95. 12Jul2006.

Judge Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep translucent plum-red with a purple hue. Glace cherry aromas and reductive, yeasty notes in the palate with big, chunky tannins, crisp strawberry and raspberry fruit and chocolatey notes. It finishes bitter and dry.13.5% alc. $29.50. 1Mar2006.

Julicher 99 Rows Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A light to medium-bodied wine, with a light pinky, translucent colour that is starting to brick on the edge. Savoury and earthy with rose petals and strawberries combining in the pretty palate with a warm, varnishy undercurrent and a delicate yet persistent finish. Surprisingly tasty with a roasted chicken breast wrapped in bacon and infused with thyme. A good food wine. 13.5% alc. $25. 3Sep2007.

Kaituna Valley Canterbury Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Intensely coloured, almost black, with vivid purple edges, it smells ripe and inviting with strawberry over vanillin oak, characters that are even more obvious when you taste it. It's reasonably full-bodied with soft acidity, smooth tannins, fruit cake spices and sweet juicy fruit - in fact it seems a little Grenache-like at first but Pinot's savoury, earthy characters finally emerge to get you back on track, and dark, spicy, mushroom characters loiter on the finish. Quite sweet -perhaps too sweet. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 13Dec2006.

Lake Hayes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A lighter style that seems quite simple at fruit, the vinosity of the wine carries it through to a rounded, fruity, savoury finish with a slightly peppery nuance and tamarillo emerging on the aftertaste. 14% alc. $29.95. 1Mar2006.

Lake Hayes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Savoury and complex but also slightly oxidised and porty with jammy raisined fruit in the palate over a deep earthy backbone with forest floor connotations. Chocolate and liquorice emerge on the finish that falls away and lacks complexity. Tasted from a half bottle sealed with a cork. Another tasting of this wine under screwcap was like a different animal. 14% alc. 10Mar2006.

Lamont Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deeply translucent purple ruby-red. The fragrant combination of new vanillin oak, cherry fruit and pinot spice paves the way for the rich, dark, creamy palate crammed with cherries and chocolate. It's rich, ripe and tasty, fruit and savoury with a herbal undercurrent and a long, impressive mouthfilling finish where there's a touch of citrus adding to the mix. This is the forward style of pinot I've come to identify with Otago. Bendigo fruit. 14% alc. $39. 1Mar2006.

Lindis River Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A seemingly lighter, floral style with mellow cherry and redcurrant fruit, herbs, smoke, silky tannins and delicate oak that does not overpower the fruit. This is a linear wine through the palate but shows everything it has on the finish with plenty of pinot noir charm and a persistent, floral aftertaste. Fruit is grown in Tarras, north of Bendigo. 13% alc. 1Mar2006.
A little lighter in colour with cranberry red hues. Fragrant, floral aromas have sweet cherry and delicate smoky vanillin oak while cherry, strawberry, raspberry and wild herbs deliver the upfront flavours that become quite earthy, gamey and complex. Silky tannins underpin the wine and smoky vanillin oak and cherry linger. 13% alc. $35.99. 15Nov2006.
Deeply translucent with a black red core and a purple garnet edge, it reminds me of an 'old fashioned' style of pinot with a smoky bacon aroma. It's sweet fruited to the taste with hints of liquorice and quite vinous in its texture with dry tannins, spice and cherry and plums emerging on the savoury and slightly herbal finish. 10 months French oak. Cork closure. 13% alc. $39.99. 31May2007.

Lowburn Ferry Skeleton Creek Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deeply translucent cherry flesh-coloured crimson red. Smoky, sweet-fruited aromas with a subtle savoury oak nuance, later quite floral. Savoury in the palate with a cherry fruit crispness, a smoky slightly herbal backbone, silky tannins and a medium to full-bodied flavoursome earthy, savoury finish. A little rustic with herb flowers blossoming on the aftertaste. Drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $29.95. 19Feb2006.

Ma Maison Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (Diam) Light in colour due to a wet year, the earthy, savoury aromas have a touch of leather and strawberry and carry through to the palate. It looks light but the flavour is rich and sweet with a red berry fruit tang to finish and a hint of tamarillo as it lingers. A soft earthy style made in older oak. 13.5%. 9Oct2006.

Main Divide Canterbury Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A classic youthful pinot noir colour of pinky cherry-red leads into classic New Zealand pinot noir aromas of cherries and smoky oak. Savoury to the taste with well balanced strawberry and cherry fruit, a hint of chocolate, velvety tannins and a slightly spicy finish, good acidity carries the length and there's a hint of chocolate raisins on the finish. Soft, round and very tasty. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 20Jul2005.

Main Divide Selection Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Savoury, smoky oak aromas and soft, ripe flavours with silky tannins, raspberry and cherry fruit, honeyed oak, a nuance of herbs and chocolate sweetening the finish with a lingering, slightly floral aftertaste. A new addition to the Main Divide portfolio, it sports a grey label.13.5% alc. $29.95. 19Sep2005.
Dark tamarillo red with smoky, slightly funky aromas and savoury spicy flavours with underlying complexity, bright cherry and plum fruit, good acidity, velvety tannins and more tangy red guava and tamarillo fruit emerging on the lingering, slightly herb-influenced finish. 13.5% alc. $26.95. 26Jul2006.

Margrain Home Block Pinot Noir 2004 Earthy, savoury scents with an appealing layer of ripe cherry fruit and a floral overtone, it'ss sweet on entry with creamy oak, liquorice and plums and spices. A big wine with chunky tannins, it lacks some of pinotís intrigue. Could be a chocolatey merlot, in fact. But very drinkable nevertheless. 16/20. 14% alc. $48.95. 30Dec2006.

Margrain River's Edge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 Bright ruby garnet, a slightly leathery smoky cherry aroma and a richly flavoured, medium-bodied palate that's full of guava and plum fruit with the typical savouriness that we expect from Martinborough , an earthy undercurrent to the smoky backbone, good acidity, velvety tannins and a nuance of rosemary as it lingers. There's a hint of cherry chocolate too. 13.5% alc. $24.95.

Martinborough Te Tera Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Translucent ruby red in colour, lightly floral on the nose and earthy in the palate with smoky oak, velvety tannins and a good expression of tart red fruits in the guava / tamarillo with a nicely balanced savoury earthiness and fruit sweetness on the finish. A wine that improves in the glass. 13.5% alc. $29. 27Jun2005.

Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004 Medium-depth cherry red in colour with a ripe, rich, full, smoky, earthy, savoury aroma and complex savoury, earthy flavours. While seeming light in the palate at first, this is a deceptive phenomenon because it is anything but. Beautifully balanced with silky tannins, integrated polished oak and subtle tamarillo and red cherry fruit, the finish is incredibly long and savoury with spiced mushroom notes as it lingers. Even better and seemingly far richer the second day - a wine that needs time to show its best. Decanting recommended at this stage of its life. 14% alc. $60. 5Jun2006.

Matahiwi Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A light to medium depth cherry red with a pink glow. It shows the savouriness that more complex pinot noirs should have by nature and the earthiness of the Wairarapa region comes through with sweet cherry fruit, musk, spices and smoke, the flavours carried through the palate by its silky tannin structure. Spicy lifted aftertaste. Will evolve. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 18Apr2005.

Matahiwi 'Holly' Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep plum coloured with watery rims. Spiced fruit cake cherry on the nose with a purity of pinot fruit and a concentration and depth to the flavour. Velvety tannins, chocolatey oak, a lovely balance of bitter cherry and wild berry fruit and a spiciness that carries through to the earthy savoury finish. Rounded, balanced and very drinkable. A stunning debut for this new Wairarapa producer. 13.6% alc. $33. 8Mar2006.

Mills Reef Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Medium depth youthful red, lightly fragrant vanilla and cherry aromas, but the appeal that this wine gives before you taste it quickly goes once the wine is in the mouth. Light-bodied, with 'throaties' lollies and raspberry fruit, furry tannins, a tart finish and a savoury aftertaste. Simple and disintegrated at this stage of its life. Wine region not stated. 13% alc. $15.95. 18Apr2005.

Momo Pinot Noir 2004 Cherry and chocolate on a savoury backbone, nicely balanced with lots of user appeal. There's a nice bit of grubbiness (funk) in there that adds to its intrigue without distracting and the aftertaste is long, plummy and savoury. Made by Seresin.15% alc. $22.90. 19Sep2005.

Mount Cass Cellar Select Pinot Noir 2004 (D) A Burgundy red colour of medium depth, savoury aromas and sweet fruit flavours - souped up tart fruits that are juicy, juicy, juicy and there's a gorgeous spicy character, like mulled wine spices with a hint of liquorice and orange peel on the finish. The flavours, the gorgeous silky tannin structure and the medium bodied palate weight make this wine deliciously drinkable. 12% alc. $29.95. 23Mar2007.

Mount Michael Bessie's Block Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 Translucent ruby garnet in colour with a lovely herbal infusion to the polished creamy oak aromas and a smoky, earthy, savoury backbone to the flavour with a touch of orange peel. It's creamy in texture with a long, well-balanced finish and plenty of pinot charm. 14% alc. $34.95. 1Mar2006.

Mount Michael ' Bannockburn' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Stinky nose and savoury, spicy, wild strawberry and raspberry flavours with hints of orange peel - like in mulled wine. Well-structured with silky tannins and the finish is juicy and long, savoury and spicy. Lot's going on here.14% alc. $31.95. 1Mar2006.

Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Stalky guava aromas and dark savoury stewed fruit with firm meaty tannin and a hot, dry, earthy finish. It's a little oak dominant right now and oak lingers on the aftertaste. 13.5%. $19.95. 1Mar2005.

Mount Riley Winemakers Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Garnet with flashes of ruby. Chocolate lends to the red fruit aromas and flavour with a liquerish undercurrent, creamy oak, spice and smoke, warm silky tannins, good acidity to the finish and concentrated cherry and strawberry flavours as it lingers, with a savoury aftertaste. 14% alc. $29.95. 9Nov2005.

Muddy Water 'Mojo' Waipara Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A floral, musky perfume with a nuance of grapefruit. Earthy, savoury, spicy and powerful with dark fruit, hints of liquorice and a gorgeous silky, silky texture this is a wine of finesse with enough acidity to give it edge, and a powerfully long finish. 70% clone AM 10/5, the rest is a mix of clones. Wild fermented with 15 months in French oak, 30% new. 13.9% alc. $60. 15Apr2007.

Murdoch James Blue Rock Pinot Noir 2004 Young, spicy and vibrant with oak quite dominant at this stage but well-balanced to the funky, red guava-like fruit. Itís savoury and spicy with firm acidity, white mushroom, anise and plums on the fruit-sweet, savoury finish that has very good length. Beautifully complex and full of layers. 13% alc. $54.95. 26Jul2006.

Murdoch James Fraser Pinot Noir 2004 Similar colour to the 2001 with a deeper red-black core. Rather voluptuous smelling, the cherry and smoky French oak aromas carry through to the palate. A big powerful brute of a wine with spicy oak, cherry and boysenberry fruit, orange-infused spices and big rich ripe tannins. Thereís a touch of chocolate mingling with cigar box on the lingering, full-flavoured finish. Given the provenance of the stunning 2001, this wine deserves to be cellared for at least a couple of years more before even broaching the cork, especially as some of the delicate intrinsic pinot characters are smothered by the oak at this stage. 13.5% alc. $62.95. 26Jul2006.

Murdoch James Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A blend of Fraser and Blue Rock fruit, this is a bright, youthful pinky red with ripe, juicy, cherry and spice aromas and lots of cherry fruit in the palate with chocolatey oak, firm 'orange peel' acidity and soft tannins. While it lacks some of the complexity and concentration of the previous single vineyard wines, it's made as a more approachable, 'drink now' style. 13% alc. $26.00. 26Jul2006.

Mt Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Bright, purple-edged garnet red coloured with wood smoke and slightly minty herb aromas. Quite a chunky, grainy textured pinot with bitter cherry and earthy mushroom flavours, and quite strong acidity which adds a spicy zestiness to the finish where at last the fruit sweetness comes through. 14% alc. $41.95. 18Jan2006.

Mt Rosa Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Translucent in appearance with a fading brown-garnet colour, it's savoury on the nose and a little bit thin and boiled lolly to the taste with cherries, raisins, dried herbs and hard tannins that become quite silky on the finish. Fairly unexciting at this stage of its life. 13.8% alc. $29.99. 31May2007.

Nautilus Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Showing a little browning to the edges of the fine textured, red guava hue and on sight it looks older than the 2003 and 2002. It smells youthful and floral with hints of woody herbs and nuances of musk and the taste is savoury from the outset though tight in its tannin structure. The cherry fruit is ripe and sweet and the oak is creamy although just a little dominant and it opens up on the finish like a peacocks tail with spiced orange peel/ pomander and tart red guava coming through to linger. Though fading in colour, I feel it needs a little more time. 13.5% alc. $39. 18Oct2006.

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2004 - Nelson Oak driven at this youthful age- oak upfront but with fantastic savoury pinot fruit emerging to fill the palate and cut right through the oak, with beautifully supple, fine-grained tannins and a long, spicy, earthy finish. Already stunning, it can only get better. 14.5% alc. $48. 19Sep2005.
Fading, guava red in colour. Smoky oak, sweet cherry and red guava-like aromas with a nuance of mint, and a firmly structured rounded palate with good fruit weight, fine-grained tannins, an anise-like spiciness to the finish and the smoky oak coming forth on the long, savoury aftertaste. 14.5% alc. $56.95. 8Mar2006.
It's not so deep in colour, a fading pinky-red, translucent in its depth and smells savoury, earthy, slightly feral with the woody scents of the Neudorf old church pews, silky almost creamy in texture, gorgeous flow and mouthfeel, strawberry / cherry / red guava fruit, firm tannin structure and a touch of acidity on the finish to ensure a long life. I like this wine. 14.5% alc. $48. 18Sep2006.
A wine that seems to have considerable age with the translucent orange-hued garnet colour giving that clue. Perfumed, savoury, just a little viscerally funky. Mellow in the palate with fruit a distant memory - a hint of dried strawberries, perhaps, and subtle chocolate. Tannins are silky and the gentle oak is savoury. Interesting, Burgundian-like, but this bottle indicates it is past its prime. Probably worth drinking now if you have in your cellar. 13.5% alc. $59.99. 8Jul2009.

Nga Waka Three Paddles Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Savoury, slightly smoky aroma with a hint of stewed tamarillo and sweet cherry. Cherry fruit and tamarillo abound in the palate with lots of savoury herb connotations, dark, charry oak, velvety tannins and an earthy finish with a touch of acid emerging. Quite a full-bodied, flavoursome style - but question whether the oak is too chunky, however the next day the wine is rounded and complete, with the acidity now integrated and the oak sitting nicely in balance. 13.5% alc. $25. 1Aug2006.
Fading browning red, translucent in its depth. Perfumed and a little soapy on the nose, it's has stewed cherry and plum fruit flavours with a sweet strawberry backbone, a savoury undercurrent and a vinous richness to the earthy spicy finish. Becomes quite complex wine as the flavours evolve in the mouth. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 8Nov2006.

Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) An inviting pinot noir, fragrant smelling with bright cherry fruit over creamy smoky oak and an intrinsic earthy, savoury, smoky depth to the beautifully rounded, seamless palate. There's a touch of herb, juicy cherries, polished savoury oak, smoky bacon and a hint of chocolate as it lingers. Finely focussed with silky tannins and excellent length. 14% alc. $33.95. 22Mar2006.

Okahu Estate Shipwreck Bay Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Light pink-red colour and light in body with savoury, slightly herbal, floral aromas, sweet fruit, smooth tannins and a hint of liquorice on the savoury finish. A simple style but varietally correct and tasty with elegance and charm. 12.5% alc. $16.95. 27Jun2005.

Ostler Caroline's Pinot Noir 2004 - Waitaki Valley (sc) Deep ruby/violet in colour, translucent but almost opaque at the core. The aroma is complex, smoky, floral, and plummy then in the mouth the spicy freshness of the wine shines through. It's a wine with complexity, savouriness and length, a medium bodied wine with beautifully balanced flavours of tart red fruits at their optimal ripeness with an earthy, fungal undercurrent. The texture is silky and the finish is plush and rounded and the aftertaste goes on and on. 13.5% alc. $45. 17Apr2006.

Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Pinky red, deeply translucent. Earthy savoury aromas - a true expression of Martinborough. A full-bodied savoury, gamey wine with good tannin structure, plum and red guava fruit, succulent tannins and a creamy oak finish with a cherry sweetness as it lingers. Excellent potential. 14% alc. $38. 9Nov2005.
Dark pink red - medium in its depth. Earthy and savoury with a reasonably firm tannin structure, there's an underlying complexity and firm acidity that shows in the flare of spiced orange on the finish, which is creamy compared to the grippy nature of the first taste. I taste strawberry, guava and plum fruit with underlying anise-like spices, rose petals and lavender too. 14% alc. $38. 28Nov2006.

Palliser Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Perfumed spicy aroma. Juicy plum and brambly fruit, herbs and spices in the palate. It's a little jammy with an earthy undercurrent, hints of red guava, stewed tamarillo and spiced plum with blackberry jam and a flair of acidity on the bright, spicy finish. 13.5% alc. $20. 31Jul2007.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep ruby red, almost opaque - fantastic colour saturation. Ripe and succulent aromas with a faint hint of musk and an underpinning of oak lead into a concentrated pure pinot palate with gorgeous ripe black cherry and plum fruit, smoky oak, lots of savoury earthy connotations and a spicy kick. The tannins are succulent and velvety and the finish is powerful and just a little funky. Delicious already, but this is a wine with a long life ahead of it and is definitely worth cellaring. 14.5% alc. $45.95. 26Jul2006.
Many similar aroma and flavour traits to the deeply coloured, smoky oaked and ripe black cherry fruited 2005 Chard Farm Viper Pinot Noir (tasted besdie it on this occasion), only this is a bigger, tighter and noticeably more alcoholic wine. It's full-bodied, ripe, creamy, fleshy and integrated with smooth velvety tannins, a musky floral perfume, macerated black cherry fruit and a deep, penetrating, spicy core. From 20 year old vines with the original planted clone Am 10/5 plus clones 5, 115 and a selection of Dijons. Matured in Burgundian barriques (40% new) for 18 months. 14.5% alc. $45. 15Apr2007.

Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A lighter coloured wine with sweet cherry fruit and woodsmoke on the nose, it's savoury to the taste with grainy-textured tannins, spiced mushrooms, smoky bacon, red fruits and a touch of citrus lifting the dry finish. A lighter-bodied style, showing some bottle developed characters already. 13.5% alc. $20. 8Mar2006.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Fragrant, youthful, deep, crimson-hued ruby colour, smoke and black cherry aromas and silky-textured, rich savoury flavours with loads of sweet and tart cherry fruit, herbs and spicy oak with an earthy, savoury undercurrent and just a touch of chocolate on the lingering, succulent finish. 14.5% alc. $39.95. 14Sep2005.
Quite deep purple/Burgundy red with good depth of colour. Chocolate and cherry aromas with a touch of spice carry through to the velvety-textured palate with earthy, thyme-like herbs, beautifully integrated savoury French oak and a rounded, balanced, complex creamy finish. Very smart, a double gold medal winner and one of the best Central Otago pinots from the vintage. 14.5% alc. $35.95. 4Jan2006.
Deep Burgundy red, almost opaque. Chocolatey oak and hints of cherry on the nose and an abundance of juicy cherry fruit toned down by a touch of wild blackberry in the palate with an array of wild Central Otago herbs and supporting grainy tannins that morph into a velvety finish. A spicy, savoury wine with beautiful mouthfeel and lots of substance. 14.5% alc. $35.95. 8Mar2006.

Pisa Moorings Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep, translucent, plummy colour with purple hue. A savoury style with lots of earthy notes, chocolatey oak, grainy tannins and a bitter cherry and chocolate finish. The savoury notes of the herbs stand out on the lifted finish. Good concentration. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 1Mar2006.

Pisa Range Black Poplar Pinot Noir 2004 - Central Otago (sc) Deep dark red with purple garnet hues. Initially savoury, earthy and herbal on the nose, then it becomes quite chocolatey, the creamy richness carrying through to the savoury palate with spicy, smoky oak; dry velvety tannins; rich cherry, plum and tamarillo fruit; a touch of forest floor and smoky bacon lingering on the long, spicy finish. There's a good dollop of balanced acidity that lifts the wine and adds a red fruit brightness to the aftertaste. 14.5% alc. $37. 5Jun2006.

Porters Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 Deep ruby coloured. Earthy and savoury with a slightly grippy graininess to the texture and a succulence to the juicy finish. A rich, concentrated pinot noir that is extremely appealing with a spiciness that adds to its attraction and sets it apart. 13.5% alc. $55. 23May2006.
Fading in colour and translucent in hue. Savoury, maraschino cherry and an underlying juiciness with a fine silky texture, an earthy savoury depth and a little bit of acidity that adds an orange pomander character and intrigue to the finish. There's a grainy edge to the tannins - it's the nap of the silk. This has the little known Mariafield clone from Germany in the wine. 13.5% alc. 3Sep2007.

Quartz Reef Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep ruby hues, this is a concentrated style with creamy oak, rose petal and a touch of herb in the background. Very tight at this stage but overall a much fruiter wine than expected from this producer, although the savoury complexities may emerge with time. 14.5% alc. $30. 1Mar2006.

Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Medium depth cherry red with a crimson-purple glow. Savoury smelling with the sweetness of oak and cherry fruit pushing through. There's a feral complexity to the flavour with that typical Central Otago's herbaceousness, beetroot and raspberry, then more complex cherry and chocolate. Smooth and velvety, almost creamy, with a nice bite to the finish and a sweet fruited smoky aftertaste. Good commerical appeal. 13% alc. $22.95. 18Apr2005.
Translucent cherry garnet. Smoky, herbal aromas and a crisp palate with lots of succulent cherry fruit and a juicy finish with an earthiness to the morello cherry aftertaste. A lighter, easy-going style, made by Chard Farm. 13% alc. $23-$25. 1Mar2006.

Rimu Grove Nelson Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Smoky oak, musk and spice on the nose and musky, cherry-infused flavours with rich, crushed velvet tannins that impart lovely mouthfeel and weight. Sweet-fruited, ripe and well-balanced with a touch of fennel on the long, savoury finish which has lots of complex layers. Very drinkable. 14% alc. $40. 10Mar2006.
Lighter hued, translucent ruby garnet. A little varnishy on the nose, a nuance of herbs too with ripe fruit cake cherry and spice, the varnishy oak carries through to the palate which is smooth and silky in texture and underpinned by firm acidity. Itís quite fruity with fresh crushed red berries adding a juiciness to the lifted finish which is perhaps a little hot but overall it's just a little tight right now, I'd like to see it unfold a little more. 16/20. 14% alc. $40. 30Dec2006.

Rippon Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (D) A garnet-hued wine, fading pinky red. It looks like a lighter style, light to medium-bodied, savoury and earthy with guava and cranberry fruit. At first it seems to lack complexity but a chocolatey vinous character builds on the palate, giving it a sweeter end. It becomes quite creamy and silky and the aftertaste is long and sultry. A complex, layered wine with well-poised acidity and a herbal savouriness. 13% alc. $48.50. 28Nov2006.
A medium weight garnet colour, showing a little development, it smells quite complex, earthy and savoury with a hint of anise, and it tastes medium-bodied with strawberry, rhubarb, earth, smoke and slightly grippy tannins. Then the vinous richness of the wine takes over bringing a silkiness to the texture, hints of vanilla from the integrated French oak and a cherry sweetness to the lingering finish. Refined and layered. 13% alc. $53.99. 14Feb2007.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Transparent ruby with a perfumed, slightly peppery, smoky aroma and medium-bodied savoury flavours. There's a touch of herb amongst fruit cake cherry and good acidity that carries the mellow finish to a long, savoury, musky aftertaste. I like the complexity and charm of this silky textured wine and the intensity of the flavours that linger in the mouth. 13.5% alc. $28. 10Mar2006.

Rocky Point Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Bright ruby in colour with a smoky, herbal aroma and light, fruity, cherryish flavours. It's silky structured with good vinosity while savoury herbs with a minty nuance come through on the juicy fruit finish. The '2nd label' produced by Prophet's Rock in Bendigo, this is a dry wine with good commercial appeal and priced accordingly. 13.7% alc. $28. 1Mar2006.

Sacred Hill Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Good colour and plenty of flavour with a wallop of black cherry and tamarillo fruit and spices melding into creamy oak. A rounded wine with nicely balanced velvety tannins that smooth out on the clean, tasty finish. Lots of flavour. Excellent drinking for the price. 14% alc. $27. 27Jun2005.

Saddleback Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Garnet red with good depth, herb and cherry aromas and juicy cherry and plum fruit with savoury oak, an earthy backbone and a velvety-textured finish. Mostly Central Otago with a little bit of Marlborough fruit to make up the shortfall, this is not overly complex but terrific drinking never the less. 14% alc. $22.95. 5Oct2005.

Saint Clair Doctors Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Fragrant and smoky with herbs and cherry jam on the nose and a savoury palate with cherry and plum fruit, a touch of rhubarb, spicy oak, grainy chunky tannins and a herbal rusticity. A medium to full-bodied style but just a little short. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 10Mar2006.

Saint Clair Sawcut Pinot Noir 2004 - Ure Valley (sc) Ruby hued with savoury aromas and sweetish flavours. Smooth textured with cherries, herbs, a touch of richer, riper berries and chocolate on the finish. Approachable but perhaps not so refined as the other Saint Clair pinots. 13% alc. $24.95. 13Sep2005.
This has fattened up beautifully in a year. Medium weight colour with cherry red hues - the cherry of the colour carries through to the nose and palate. Smoky and savoury, full of ripe fruit with a backing of sweet vanillin oak, savoury gamey undertones, silky tannins and a juicy finish with a dry, earthy and spicy cherry aftertaste. Underlying tartness and crispness ensures freshness.13% alc. $19.95. 30Sep2006.

Saint Clair Vicars Choice Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Cherry red coloured. Mulled wine spices on the nose, juicy and spicy in the palate, moderate acidity with a touch of orange juice over fruitcake spices and glace cherries with smoky, charred oak on the fruit-sweet finish. A straight-forward entry level pinot noir. 13% alc. $15.95. 31Jul2007.

Schubert Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Fragrant and floral with wild berries, cinnamon, cloves and hints of mocha, the aroma is complex and inviting. A concentrated wine with richness and depth to the mulled red fruit flavours and lots of spice, almost peppery on the finish. Velvety-textured, earthy and succulent, excellent length. 14.5% alc. $50. 8Mar2006.

Schubert Marion's Vineyard Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Rich varietal aromas with smoky bacon, bitter cherry, tea and hints of chocolate lead into a full-bodied, velvety textured palate with lots of acidity, tart cherry and other savoury red fruit building to a ripe, rounded, savoury finish with good length. 14.5% alc. $33. 8Mar2006.

Selaks Premium Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Youthful translucent dark cherry red coloured with savoury aromas, spicy flavours, ripe cherry fruit, a hint of mint, an earthy, slightly leathery mid-palate and fruit sweetness on the finish. Nicely balanced in a light, easy drinking style. 13.5% alc. $15. 27Jun2005.

Seresin Leah Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Intense in colour and flavour with fragrant aromas, this is a fleshy wine with substance. Ripe and velvety with fantastic texture and structure, lingering flavours of chocolate and cherries with a nice touch of earthiness, this a very good wine indeed. Named after Michael Seresin's first born daughter. 14% alc. $29.90. 19Sep2005.
Awash with a rich, dense Burgundy-purple colour, this is as intense in taste as it is in appearance. Ripe cherry and dusky dark plum fruit with savoury oak and mulled wine spices beautifully supported by an earthy savoury backbone and a long, creamy, velvety-textured finish with a touch of bitter chocolate as it lingers. Delicious. 20Dec2005.
Good depth of deep garnet red colour with a pinky-red rim. Fragrant smelling with hints of violet, spiced bitter cherries and savoury oak on the nose, it's full-bodied and succulent to the taste with velvety tannins, plenty of robust, earthy, spiced mushroom and woody herb flavours, plum, cherry and tamarillo fruit and chocolate emerging on the strong finish. Very moreish. 14% alc. $31.95. 14Jun2006.

Seresin Momo Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Light in colour, itís quite faded for a 2004 but the colour befits its medium weight. With smoky bacon, savoury herbs, stewed plum and tamarillo fruit, mulled wine spices, pepper, vanilla and a touch of sweetness to make it more commercially appealing, it's rather succulent and drinking well now. 14% alc. $20.95. 14Jun2006.

Seresin Raupo Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) There's a touch of vanilla and chocolate oak and ripe, sweet cherry fruit on the nose that carries through to the soft, rounded, smooth, creamy palate which has a spicy savouriness to the finish. Medium-bodied in style, not overly complex, but utterly seductive and very easy to drink. 14% alc. $45. 28Nov2006.

Seven Terraces Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep translucent ruby red with creamy oak aromas overlain with cherry-like fruit, and a medium-bodied, velvety textured palate with smoky oak, strawberry, raspberry and cherry, a chocolate nuance that gives richness to the fruitcake-like finish and a lacing of citrus acidity that adds a tartness to the aftertaste. It builds in palate weight on the finish. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 27Jun2005.

Sleeping Dogs Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Dense ruby red, youthful. Richly flavoured with succulent cherries and black fruits overlain with anise and chocolate with smoky herbal oak providing a savoury backbone with grainy tannins and an earthiness coming through on the spicy finish. Very alluring and immediately appealing. Central Otago, 13.5% alc. $27.95. 10Aug2005.

Solstone Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A light colour, reflective of vintage, this is dry, earthy and savoury, with cherry and strawberry fruit, a touch of spice and grainy tannins. Needs to open up a little more to garner additional complexity which may come with bottle age. 11.9% alc. $33. 9Oct2006.

Southbank Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) The light, youthful, red cherry colour is fitting with this lighter style of pinot that has smoky savoury aromas and tart cherry and guava fruit giving way to sweeter strawberry and cherry. It's silky textured with a hint of liquorice a touch of citrus and an earthiness coming through on the fuller finish. 13% alc. $23.95. 27Jun2005.

Summerhouse Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Light purple red, fragrant, medium bodied, silky textured, delicate strawberry and cherry fruit, lots of earthy nuances and a touch of herb. Subtle and long. 13.5% $25. 9Oct2006.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A little closed on the nose at first then cherryish aromas come forth. Savoury in the palate with slightly drying tannins, tart fruit and a spicy peppery, smoky oak finish - a smooth, velvety medium-bodied style with excellent length. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 27Jun2005.

Stratford Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 A creamy luscious tasting pinot noir with good depth of colour, a glycerolic texture, good acidity, dark cherry fruit, beautiful anise spices and a long savoury finish. Very, very good. 14% alc. $45. 23May2006.

Te Hera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A light colour introduces this pretty wine that's full of cherry and strawberry fruit with subtle oak nuances, satin-like tannins and an earthy undercurrent. An immensely drinkable wine from a light year. 13.5% alc. $29.50. 9Oct2006.

Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) It smells sweet and ripe with fruit cake cherry and cough lollies on the nose, and bittersweet flavours in the palate with soft tannins, strawberry fruit and savoury herbal oak. It's the entry level wine of the Te Kairanga range and just a little too fruity and simple for me. 13.5% alc. $20. 8Mar2006.

Te Kairanga Runholder Martinborough Pinot Noir 2004 (c) Burgundy-coloured with watery rims. Soapy, perfumed aromas and smoky, savoury flavours, a lighter, herbal, rustic style with dry tannins, an earthy depth and a sweet fruit finish. 13.5% alc. $30. 8Mar2006

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Vibrant, ruby red. Earthy, floral, musky aromas with a touch of cherry. It's ripe and spicy in the palate with well-balance tang acidity, sweet cherry fruit, delicate white mushroom, silky smooth tannins and a rounded finish. Fresh and clean, is a lovely example of Marlborough Pinot Noir. 13.8% alc. $36. 10Aug2006.

THE (Terrace Heights Estate) Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Translucent ruby / purple red. Sweetish smelling, cherry and musk aromas - very different from the 2003 and even though so fragrant this is a gorgeously savoury pinot with a nice, earthy, forest floor influence, fruits of the forest, crushed velvet tannins with the sweet musky notes coming through to linger on the finish. Long, warm and rich. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 9Nov2005.
Deep, youthful, pink-tinged burgundy red, cherry and plum aromas and ripe, tasty, full-bodied flavours of fruits of the forest with fine tannins, pinot spice and a long savoury finish. Excellent length and very good. 14.5% alc. $25.95. 21Dec2005.
Typical youthful, translucent Burgundy red colour. Smoky aromas and savoury, earthy, dark cherry and plum flavours with subtle smoky oak, silky tannins, a reasonable whack of acidity and a spiciness to the finish. 14.5% alc. $25.95. 26Apr2006.

Triplebank Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 - Awatere Valley (sc) Although the medium-weight Burgundy colour appears to be fading, this new vintage wine has appealing cherry chocolate aromas, soft, lightly smoky, sweet fruit flavours, a slightly acidic, herbal undercurrent and a smoky savoury aftertaste. With plenty of vinosity and a soft tannin structure, this quaffable wine will have wide commercial appeal. 13.5% alc. $22.95/$19.95. 13Apr2005.
Deep in colour, with dark plum hues, savoury, earthy, cherry aromas and spicy flavours, this is juicy and appealing with its smoky savoury backbone, plum and black cherry fruit, velvety tannins and lingering finish. It has good acidity which means it will stand in good stead for at least a couple of years. Smartly priced too. 14% alc. $20.95. 10May2006.

Two Paddocks 'First Paddock' Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deeply translucent purple/violet red. New oak on the nose gives a subtle smoky allure with rose hips adding fragrance. Spicy in the palate with a richness to the savoury backbone, mulled fruit, cherries, a hint of peach and an earthiness to the finish. Love texture and silkiness of this wine. It has lovely concentration and the tannins are quite deceptive as to their power. Gibbston Valley fruit. 13% alc. $40. 1Mar2006.

Two Paddocks 'Picnic' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep translucent purple red. Soft and juicy with ripe, rounded flavours of mulled fruit supported by a savoury backbone and chunky tannins with a smoky, herbal fragrance to the finish. An easy-going, drink-now style. A blend of Gibbston and Alexandra fruit. 13.5% alc. $25.95. 1Mar2006.

Vavasour Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Fading in its cherry red colour, tasted alongside a bunch of 2005's, it looks older than the others - and it is. A dry, earthy mushroom style with savoury aromas, red fruit and herb flavours, a smoky, spicy backbone and a touch of citrus on the finish. It seems a little simple and tasted older with the primary fruit now gone. There are hints of coffee and liquorice and the initial furry tannins becoming silky with time in the glass. 14.5% alc. $30. 15Apr2007.

Vidal Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Stalky - like the Villa Maria - but not as sweet. Dry, quite lean, tomato stalk, earthy style and very savoury in this context. Pizza pinot. Juicy finish. 14% alc. $24.95. 6Sep2005.
Today this has opened up. A medium-bodied savoury style with cherry notes on the nose & a fragrant (herbal) nuance to the earthy backbone with good velvety-textured tannins & a warm finish with ripe slightly musky fruit and orange pomander lingering and acid coming through to give the peacock tail's flare. 14% alc. $24.95. 9Nov2005.

Vidal Stopbank Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Smoky smelling- rich and earthy. Earthy, dark and savoury with slightly metallic flavours at first then mushroom, truffle and black cherry with firm tannins and good acidity that gives an orange zest lift to the finish. A fairly complex style from Hawkes Bay. $29.95. 6Sep2005.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Slightly grainy in texture, this is savoury and earthy with cherry and plum fruit, a touch of mushroom and smoky polished oak on the finish with good acidity giving a flare to the aftertaste. 14% alc. $29.95. 6Sep2005.
A medium translucent, pinky red with hints of chocolate and cherry adding to the savoury aroma, cranberry and red plum fruit in the palate with a touch of mushroom, spicy savoury oak and an earthy finish. There's a fair dollop of acidity in the wine too, giving a 'peacock tail' flare to the finish. 14% alc. $29.95. 23Nov2005.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Aromatic with guava and black cherry scents and softly textured, stalky, earthy flavours with good fruit pushing through with chocolatey oak and pinot spice on the finish. 14% alc. $21.95. 6Sep2005.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Dense ruby purple in colour with alluring exotic aromas of red and black fruits, herbs, polished savoury oak and cherry guavas. Quite earthy to the taste, forest floor, sweet mushroom, wild red strawberries and a touch of guava with fine-grained velvety tannins, creamy savoury oak, and a touch of bitter chocolate. A rich wine but delicate at the same time with anise and other delicious spices lingering on the sustained finish. 14% alc. $49.95. 12Aug2005.
Smoky with red and black fruits, a hint of guava, savoury and chocolatey with a silky texture and a long, lifted finish. 14% alc. $49.95. 6Sep2005.
Rich, graceful and silky with alluring aromas and tantalising flavours of wild berries, guavas, sweet mushrooms, forest floor, exotic anise and nutmeg spices and just a hint of chocolate on the long, savoury finish. A delectable wine with a beautiful tannin structure, it takes New Zealand Pinot Noir to a new level of excellence. 14% alc. $52.95. 21Sep2005.
A deeply coloured wine with an opaque black-red core and ruby garnet rims. Rich and savoury with captivating black cherry and spiced plum aromas and concentrated ripe cherry and plum fruit, a beautifully structured palate with silky tannins, creamy savoury oak, an earthy richness and a juiciness to the spicy, savoury finish. 14% alc. $48.95. 7Dec2005.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Rutherford Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Sweet fruit aromas, spicy with a lovely seam of anise, with lovely ripe red and black cherry and plum fruits. Savoury, rich and silky with polished oak that needs to integrate a little more at this stage. However, this is delicious and even more opulent than the stunning Villa Maria Reserve. $55.00. 6Sep2005.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Earthy, stinky - lots of barnyard - a big, savoury style with that dirty Burgundian character overtaken by plums and blueberries and black fruit with varnishy oak and a long, rich finish. An intriguing wine - get past the first taste and it seduces you. 14.5% alc. $55.00. 6Sep2005.
Purple red. Fantastic, powerful, savoury, cherry, guava and supple (honeyed) oak on the finish. Lovely vinosity. Juicy. 9Nov2005.

Waitiri Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) A lighter coloured pinot noir with a savoury oak, macerated cherry and savoury herb fragrance and a savoury, gamey, lightly oily, tarry palate with a lovely balance of sweet plum and sharper cranberry fruit, a hint of liquorice, silky tannins and a flourishing sweetness to the long dry finish. If you are not obsessed with the colour of your pinot noir, try this. 13.5% alc. $34.99. 30Aug2006.

Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 Deep plummy red, rich and savoury with tamarillo and plum fruit, a herbal rusticity and a gamey savouriness. The sweetness of the fruit comes forth on the spicy, herb-infused finish and there's that important peacocks tail flare of flavours with a touch of spiced orange peel. With the earthy, gamey, herbal notes to the wine, it lives up to its Wild Earth name. Made from a blend of Bannockburn and Lowburn fruit, this is complex and very satisfying. $38. 1Mar2006.
Deep garnet with pinky hues. Rosemary on the nose and earthy forest floor in the palate with hallmark Central Otago herbs quite upfront and cherry fruit filling out the weighty mid palate as it builds to a ripe, rounded, spicy, long, mouthfilling finish. The tannins are dry and grainy and the peacock flares its tail. 13.5% alc. $38.95. 8Mar2006.
A little closed on the nose at first but it opens up to become fully aromatic with smoky, savoury oak, vanilla and concentrated cherry. The oak is quite powerful in the palate but it fits this complex, earthy, style that is crammed with dark fruits of the forest, mushroom and spices. The finish is long and creamy with a savoury sweetness as it lingers. A robust mouthfilling pinot with terrific length and a dark, earthy, mysterious edge.13.5% alc. $38. 10Mar2006.

William Hill Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003 (sc) Hints of chocolate on the nose but also a slightly weedy, herbal nuance. The green notes carry through to the palate where the tea-like tannins are just a little hard, with cherry fruit and a touch of orange liqueur on the finish. 14% alc. $35. 5Jun2006.

Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004 (sc) Deep coloured with smoky, savoury meat aromas morph to sweet plummy fruit in the palate with an earthy, tarry backbone, velvety-rich tannins with a little bit of grip and a long, savoury spicy finish. A powerful, muscular wine with a savoury aftertaste that goes on and on. 14.5% alc. $40.95. 22Mar2006.
Brick red, fading but still glimmers of purple, it's so much fuller in body and so much more satisfying that the previous wine. It's smoky and savoury, ripe and juicy, succulent and spicy and very tasty with its plum-like fruit, a touch of herb and silky tannins that have just a little bit of grip. Delicious drinking right now and for the rest of this year. 14.5% alc. $49.99. 10Jan2007.

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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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