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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
2006 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 22 Dec 2013

Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my Pinot Noir notes, listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.

Click here for a fact file of Pinot Noir in New Zealand.

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

2006 Vintage

25 Steps Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A rich, earthy, savoury mouthfilling wine with thick chunky tannins and a soft, cherry fruit finish. The deep savouriness balances the opulent fruit. 14% alc. $34.95. 29Sep2008.

8 Ranges Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Youthful ruby garnet with flashes of purple. Aromatic, perfumed, creamy oak scent. Soft creamy and chocolatey to the taste – quite oaky too, with a higher proportion of new oak, it seems. Quite rich, plummy and sweet-oaked, on the tripe spectrum of fruit flavours with thyme coming through on the savoury finish. Label branding reflects the features seen from the Hillview Road airport. $30. 15Aug2008.

Akarua Cadence Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A deep maroon red with youthful brightness, there's a freshly baked cherry pie nose and ripe, juicy, savoury flavours infused with stewed cherry, spiced plum and chocolaty oak with supple tannins, underlying acidity, earthy mushroom notes and a sprinkling of wild thyme flower. Full-bodied with moderately high alcohol, this youthful wine, which has had 11 months in French oak, is still evolving. Right now it's very powerful just on its own. 14% alc. $39.99. 9Jan2008.

Alana Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Smoky bacon dominates the scent. Spicy, earthy, leathery, almost chewy, it has that intrinsic Martinborough earthiness and tart red fruits with grainy tannins while the bacon scents re-appears on the finish. On the sheet as a 2008 - I though it had amazing depth and complexity, but as it is correctly a 2006 it seems a little lighter in comparison to the other three that followed. 17.5/20. 14% alc. $60. 14Oct2008.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Garnet red, a little murky in appearance. Smoky, hints of age, stewed fruit, yet bright fruit aroma. There are still a fair amount of tannins in this wine and though it doesn't have the intensity of the 2007's, it has a savoury gamey character and a soft but firm impression. 13.9% alc. $43.99. 17Feb2010.

Amisfield Central Otago Rocky Knoll Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Very deep and dark in colour, the aroma is spicy and deep with beef stock and game. Quite chunky in the palate with thick-set tannins, forest floor, vanillin oak, blackberry and raspberry fruits, mushrooms, charcoal, leather and a lift of cake spices on the end. Quite tannic in this tasting. 14% alc. $99.00. 5May2012.

Ata Rangi 'Crimson' Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Rich red in the glass. With fruit cake cherries and blackcurrant aromas carrying through to the velvety textured flavours this 'pretty' wine, with musky floral notes and hints of dried herbs, has a reasonable amount of power with an underlying fresh acidic bite that adds to its overall charm. The bright yet savoury finish is long and lasting, the spicy oak is integrated, the fruit is ripe, it's ready to drink, it's easy to drink and it's definitely a real crowd pleaser. 13.5% alc. $28. 5Jan2008.

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Savoury with a sweetish overlay, this stylish, refined, full-bodied pinot has a touch of gamey, savoury funk with fruit in the cherry and tamarillo spectrum, smoky bacon-like oak, spice and hints of anise. Although quite youthful and saying, "I need more time," it has wonderful mouthfeel and texture. The pedigree is definitely there. 13.5% alc. $72.99. 6Feb2008.
Classic Burgundy red with a deep translucency to the hue. The nose is savoury with a sweet cherry overlay and in the palate the tannins are firm despite the allusion of smoothness. It is earthy, gamey and savoury with brooding smoky French oak and dark cherry fruit along with hints of yummy poached tamarillo and those tarter red fruits that fit in so well with the overall savouriness. There's something quite different to the flavour - very ripe fig perhaps - and a nuggetty, tarry layer that is heading towards truffle. Slow to start but expands beautifully in the mouth, building sultry layer upon sultry layer, finishing with a coating of chocolate garnache. A sipping wine, a thinking wine, it's long and penetrating and the afterglow lasts for ages. An excellent cellaring proposition too.13.5% alc. $65. 10Oct2008.
A deeply translucent Burgundy red. Savoury aromas with a sweet cherry overlay and a bright aromatic lift. An intriguing texture - a little grainy and not too forgiving at first but nevertheless the texture is sultry / pleasurable / sexy. On first tasting the oak seems quite dominant but slowly planes off to reveal the intrinsic depth and complexity . On this sample, fruit is not really a big factor. I like it for its subtlety and length. A wine of discovery, it opens up beautifully and the palate finds something new to mull over on every sip. 19/20. 13.5% alc. $65. 14Oct2008.

Auntsfield Hawk Hill Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A bright ruby colour introduces this earthy savoury style with a black cherry and blackberry fruit sweetness, subtle spicy oak, silky tannins and long, savoury, full-bodied finish. 13.5% alc. $45. 9Oct2007.

Bald Hills SV Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Full of cherry and berry scents with a chocolatey overlay carrying through to the milky, creamy, red-fruited cherry and guava jam and vibrantly spicy palate. Medium-bodied with an earthy depth, and a peacocks tail flare to the finish, this is good, solid, straightforward, sweet-fruited Bannockburn pinot noir. 14% alc. $44. 20Apr2008.
Translucent garnet with perfumed floral aromas, this seems like a light to medium bodied wine with a gentle attack but builds in the palate to a rich full finish. Earthy and savoury with sweet red fruit, sensual sultry tannins, a smoky savoury finish and very good length, it needs attention for the utmost enjoyment. 14% alc. $46.99. 8Apr2009.

Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep purple red with hints of chocolate to the creamy oak and sweet fruit aromas and powerful, savoury, meaty flavours with ripe red and black fruits, a dried herb complexity, musky spice, mocha, sweet oak, plush velvety tannins and an earthy, gamey, savoury depth. Powerful and grunty with immediate oomph and appeal, it's a terrific expression of Bannockburn Pinot Noir. 14.5% alc. $45.99. 26Sep2007.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep Burgundy red with bright purple-plum edges, this generous pinot noir is full of the sweet scents of vanillin oak and ripe plummy fruit with savoury nuances and hints of chocolate. The juicy ripe taste lives up to the promise. It is sweet, spicy and savoury with macerated plum and cherry fruit and a sprinkling of herbs. An opulent, velvety textured Central Otago style. 14% alc. $26.99. 16Apr2008.

Big Sky Te Muna Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Lovely smoky, cherry notes on the nose, rich and savoury in the palate with silky tannins, smoky cherry and a flourish of spice, it has an earthy depth with red and black fruit. A very appealing wine with length and lasting flavour. 2Sep2007.

Black Estate Omihi Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Showing a little bit of age to the colour, this has an earthy, fruit of the forest and funky oak aroma and a smooth textured mouth feel to the spicy, savoury flavour. It's one of those earthy styles with nuances of freshly picked mushroom and a hint of cranberry in amongst the concentrated cherry with the subtlest touch of chocolate adding creaminess. A multi-layered pinot with a potpourri of dried herbs and roses, it's a little woody and bittersweet red fruits linger on the expansive finish. Initially seems quite tight with underlying acidity to look after the wine in the cellar yet still offers rather sensuous drinking right now. 13.6% alc. $39.95. 31Jul2009.

Blind River Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Moderate depth of purple red colour. Gorgeously enticing sweet smoky, savoury fragrance with chocolate and cherry adding to the sexy musky allure. It's sweetish to the taste - more so than I would have expected, but the apparent sweetness melds in beautifully to the spicy savouriness, red fruit and nutty oak of this creamy textured, velvety-tannined mouthful. There's a slight gamey earthy character too and the finish is long and svelte. A very enjoyable Pinot Noir. 14% alc. $37. 13Nov2007.

Blind Trail Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Semi-opaque purple garnet. Hauntingly smoky with spiced cherry on the nose. Ripe and juicy in the palate with a velvety texture, tart red fruits, hints of plums, spicy oak, dried herbs and a suggestion of rose petal on the perfumed finish. There's a lovely earthy savouriness to the wine, which delivers exceptional quality and amazing complexity for its $23 price tag. Try it with bangers - beef, herb and garlic sausages are sensational. All Felton Road fruit with 8 months in oak, 30% new. 14% alc. $23.00 19Aug2007.

Cable Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Light and fruity to the taste, which is what one expects from its light colour. Savoury on the nose with strawberry and raspberry scents, it is not a particularly generous-tasting wine at first, but it opens it tight knit fine-tannined cloak to reveal a plushness and richness and a lingering aftertaste. This is actually a superb food wine - and will work well in the Cable Bay restaurant. We matched it to tuna, which clashed with a fruitier pinot noir, as well as to salmon, which was also good. 14% alc. $35. 13Mar2008.

Carrick Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Burgundy red with cherry hues, starting to fade on the edges. A savoury, earthy 'Burgundian-like' scent and a hint of chocolate too. Quite dry to the taste with grippy tannins balanced by vinous sweetness. There's black cherry, a hint of anise, a sappy herbal undercurrent and a spicy lift to the slightly port-like finish. 14% alc. $40.99. 7Jan2009.

Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (c) A deep colour hints to the richness within the glass. It's quite closed on the nose at first but full of vibrancy in the ripe, creamy, spicy palate with savoury oak, red guava and black cherry fruit, silky tannins and power, richness and depth. Fantastic length that shows the long term potential of the wine. 13.5% alc. $40. Cork. 9Oct2007.

Clayridge Excalibur Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Rich, spicy and savoury - mulled wine spices like cloves, cinnamon mingle with orange peel and smoky oak. Full-bodied and spicy with some earthy funk. Young and awkward. Decanting recommended. Tasted from the same bottle two days later it has become warm, rounded and sensual with slight gripp to the velvety tannins. It is smoky and savoury on the nose with an infusion of cherry and a hint of florals while the dominant taste of mulled wine spices the other are now integrating and secondary. A thinking wine with lovely fruit sweetness that so suits the funky earthy savouriness and reasonable acidity to ensure its cellaring potential. 14.5% alc. $38. 3Jan2008.

Clayridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Quick - write notes before it is all gone. A savoury wine - rounded and intense - this is Pinot Noir with layers and loads of finesse - the kind of Pinot Noir that we like to drink. Well-balanced underlying acidity, fine textured velvety tannins and just a little bit of gip - gorgeous fleshy bittersweet fruit and essential savouriness rounding out the finish. 13.5% alc. $29.00. 10Jul2009.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Translucent black cherry red in colour, delicately scented with cherry and spicy savoury oak on the nose and a lovely silky textured mouthfeel with a touch of a grainy thread. The see-through colour belies the rich presence and taste of the smoky, savoury, earthy flavours with smoky bacon-like toasted oak, black cherry, dried herb and a delicate touch of spice. A beautiful rounded expression with that elusive 'pinosity' and a Burgundian-like allure, it shows great potential and flare. 18.5/20. 14% alc. $46 - $51. 23May2008 & 16Jul2008.

Coalpit Tiwha Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Dense in colour, the aroma is sweet-fruited and just a little jammy and that jammy character carries through to the palate. Earthy with plasticine funk and herbal nuances and a long lasting finish, the aftertaste is just delicious and the flavour goes on and on. There's plenty of intriguing funk with a sweet savoury pull of savoury red fruits on the finish. Seems very closed to start with, but opens up beautifully. A meaty wine that will not be subdued by strong foods. 13.2% alc. $36. 20Apr2008.

Coopers Creek SV Gibson's Run Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) This is rich and savoury on the nose with spiced black cherry and a touch of herbs and succulent, savoury and spicy to the taste with underlying acidity adding brightness. It has all the hallmarks of a complex PN with all sorts of intricacies evolving on the finish. 13% alc. $25. 13Oct2007.

Cornish Point Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc)
Ruby garnet with a deep translucency, the concentrated inviting aromas smell of wood-smoked bacon and complex red fruits. It's dry, spicy and savoury to the taste with crisp red fruits, smoky oak, silky tannins and a long juicy aftertaste with a delicate briar rose muskiness that has a prickly kick to the plummy finish. All the fruit from this wine comes from the Cornish Point Vineyard at the confluence of the Kawerau and Clutha Rivers. 14.5% alc. $42.99. 15Aug2007.

Craggy Range Te Muna Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A deep Burgundian red. Intrinsically savoury with a soft silky structure, smooth but delicately firm tannins and what a I call a distinct 'Martinborough savouriness' with a red fruit richness and a ripe yet earthy depth. There's a bright spiciness and the finish is rounded and long with a juiciness evolving as the flavours linger in the mouth. Dijon clones. 14% alc. $50. 14Oct2008.

De Vine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep in colour with chocolate and dark berries on the nose and red guava and black cherry fruit in the savoury, earthy, gamey and ever so slightly funky, palate. A deep, complex, brooding wine with just a little bit of grip to the tannins, underlying acidity and a touch of spice, it becomes quite creamy with that hint of chocolate detected on the nose, showing again. With its lovely mouthfeel and excellent length. it will appeal to drinkers of the tighter Burgundy look-alikes. Gibbston Valley fruit. 13.5% alc. $39.99. 17Oct2007.
Deep black red with earthy, smoky, leathery, funky scents joining chocolate, black cherries and plums, this powerful, firm tannined wine tastes spicy and savoury with deep, earthy, brooding complex flavours. It's funky and intriguing with anise-like spices, black cherries, plums and a chocolatey richness to the lingering aftertaste. The vibrant fruit perfectly offsets the dark, funky savouriness. 13.5% alc. $35.99. 21Nov2007.

Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (c) Purple-tinged ruby red, deeply translucent but not opaque. It's very fine smelling, savoury and earthy with smoky nuances, a well-balanced subtle sweetness and a delicate suggestion of herbs. The flavours are lifted with a bright spice-infused savouriness and a gorgeously expansive mouth feel as the flavour (which I detect a slight saltiness) leaves a lovely light lingering impression as if it has coated the mouth with the finest silk. The next day the texture is like crushed velvet and the ripe cherry and plum fruit has emerged. 13.5% alc. $43.50. 16Mar2008.
Ruby garnet in colour. The aroma is rich and deep with bright, spicy fruit, some savoury oak action and an earthy depth. The texture of this wine is sublime - the tannins are fine and silky and there's a perceived vinous sweetness to the penetrating, earthy, funky flavours with a nice burst of well-balanced fruit acidity on the finish. Starting to become a little chocolatey over time. 13.5% alc. $43.50. 28May2010.

Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Garnet red with pinky edges and a black depth to the deeply translucent core. On the nose there's perfumed oak, vanilla, cream and spice and in the palate there are concentrated red fruits with nuances of fruit cake cherries, slightly grippy firm tannins and a touch of tingly acidity. Quite funky, savoury and earthy with forest floor connotations, it fills out with succulent fruit and creamy savoury oak for a full rounded finish. 13.6% alc. $29.99. 9Jul2008.

Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (c) Deepest in colour, opulently scented with rich, sweet-fruited black cherry and a cedary, savoury, almost marmite-like overtone. Savoury, earthy and just a little funky to the taste with huge fruit and huge oak, forest floor, tar, leather, black cherry and riper fruits heading to the blackberry spectrum with fruitcake spice, mushrooms and game - if anything, I thought the wine 'too big'. But it has an ever-evolving revelation of flavours, a silky smooth texture as it travelled across the palate and an exquisite purity of pinot noir expression well into the second night. 13.5% alc. $82. 8Mar2008.

Drylands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep ruby, translucent in appearance. Ripe fruitcake cherries on the nose with a backing of smoky spicy oak, medium to full-bodied in style with an earthy savouriness and some complexity. There's a crunchy crispness to the lingering finish and vanillin oak and floral notes linger. Matured in new and seasoned French oak for 11 months. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 7Jul2007.

Escarpment Kupe Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (D) Intensely coloured, opaque and plush, this has a smoky brooding scent that is earthy and dense with a chocolate overlay, later opening up to reveal red fruits. Big oak in the palate - oaky, earthy, savoury and gamey with a lifted spicy kick, warm alcohol and a bright, long lasting finish. Tannins are thick, plush and velvety with a grainy nap. Tar, marmite and nugget underlie this complex, intriguing wine and the tart red fruits linger on the spicy, lifted aftertaste. Decant now to enjoy already, but has long term potential. 19/20. 14% alc. $75. 14Oct2008.

Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2006 - Martinborough (sc) Dark cherry red, almost opaque but not quite, it has a cherry jam and violet aroma and tastes soft, ripe and juicy with a savoury, herbal backbone balanced by cherries, fruit cake, smoky oak and vanilla with a spicy kick to the finish. Made in an approachable, 'drink now' style. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 1Aug2007.

Fairmont Estate Admirals Hill Pinot Noir 2006 - Wairarapa (sc) Deep dark cherry/purple red. Smoky, savoury and earthy on the nose with a lifted, citrussy nuance and rich and flavoursome to the taste - it's earthy, savoury and gamey with juicy plum and red berry fruit, spicy savoury oak, silky tannins and a powerful finish. Smooth and harmonious throughout with a hint of pepper as it lingers. 14% alc. $20.99. 11Jul2007.

Fairmont Block One Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep ruby red. Gorgeous aroma of cherries and herbs with hints of rose petals and nutty oak. Ripe and spicy in the palate with an earthy savoury richness, juicy red and black fruits and a harmonious silky textured flow with just the right amount of acidity to add a zesty flare to the finish and persistence to the aftertaste. Gold Medal standard and top wine of 19th August tasting. 14% alc. $28. 19Aug2007.
Bright in its black red colour, this smells rich, smoky, savoury and complex with a touch of dark chocolate to the scent and is even more complex in its mouthfilling taste. Dark red and black fruits, spice, earth, a hint of leather, firm silky tannins and fruit brightness to the long, long finish with an expansive ‘peacocks tail’ flare, it's a beautiful expression of pinot noir. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 17Oct2007.

Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep, ruby garnet with an almost opaque core, it is immediately mesmeric on the nose with aromas of chocolate, cherries and a nuance of musky florals. This is a thick textured, full-bodied, sweet flavoured pinot with a smoky, savoury undercurrent, velvety tannins, an earthy depth, a touch of anise like spices and a brightness to the lifted finish that goes on and on. Very smart. Moreish. 14.5% alc. $51.99. 4Jul2007.
Deep purple ruby, almost opaque in the core of the glass, the alluring aromas smell smoky and savoury with aromatic clove and anise-like spices and even a hint of chocolate. Deep and complex to the taste with spicy oak, black cherry fruit and an earthy savoury depth, the subtle tannins have a slightly grainy texture and a suggestion of bitter chocolate adds richness to the lingering finish that has excellent length. 14.5% alc. $51.99. 15Aug2007.

Felton Road Block 3 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep pinky purple with a black core, the Block 3 has a tantalising pinot perfume of smoky, savoury oak, musk and spiced black cherry. Spicy and savoury with a gorgeous swathe of sweet fruit in the palate, it's earthy and gamey with hints of spiced mushroom and the fragrance of dried thyme gracing the aftertaste. A wine of delicious depth, complexity and balance with the exotic spices adding additional allure and delicate hints of orange zest on the finish, the firm tannins and underlying acidity suggest the wine will be long lived. From a single block within the original Elms Vineyard. 14.5% alc. $76.00. 15Aug2007.

Gem Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2006(sc) Smoky, dark cherry, appealing aromatics. Spicy, earthy, savoury palate with a little bit of strawberry creeping through and a delicately spicy spritz. Fresh and bright. From the Petrie Vineyard in the Wairarapa. 123% alc. $35. 3Sep2007.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deeply translucent purple red with intensity to the hue, this is smoky, savoury and lightly toasty on the nose with a bright, lifted palate that is full of sweet cherry and boysenberry fruits. A bigger, richer, riper wine with the gorgeous sweet fruit underpinned by dried herbs, smoke and earthy forest floor, a velvety texture and a long succulent savoury aftertaste. With its immediate appeal, everyone just loved it. 14% alc. $50.99. 27Feb2008.

Gladstone 12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Its smoky savoury, funky aroma has depth and vinous complexity and doesn't hint of the acidity within, but get past that and you'll find the velvety textured, savoury flavours take over. Add cherry, spice, dried herbs and smoky oak and you have a wine that's intrinsically pinot. 14% alc. $25. 14Jan2008.

Gladstone Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Cherryish pinot scents introduce this juicy, generous style. It's spicy and just a little stalky but plenty of bright fruited strawberry / cherry / guava fruit fill the mouth. A ripe juicy wine with immediate appeal, it's spicy and savoury with a touch of smoke and fruit sweetness to the expansive finish. 14% alc. $41. 20Apr2008.

Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Generously aromatic, it's spicy and floral with cherryish pinot scents and hints of chocolate. A full-bodied, rich, velvety-textured generous style with red and blue fruits underpinned by a zesty, vibrant moderate acidity. Quite earthy and savoury with fruit sweetness to the finish. Lots going on. 13.3% alc. $29.95. 20Apr2008.

Greylands Ridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deeply coloured rich black red. Big fruit on the nose a hint of a floral perfume but the slightly oxidative character is most powerful. A full-bodied red that seems very youthful for its age, it is rich, spicy and plummy with a smoky, tobacco-like piquancy and a toasty oak finish - made in an extractive style, it is definitely not Pinot Noir as we know it. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 6May2009.
A deep red, quite dense, looking a little like Merlot and seems a smooth, rich, harmonious wine in the mould of a Merlot too. If you like Merlot, you'll like this but it doesn't really show any distinctive Pinot Noir characters. It has prunes and chocolate and a vanillin note to the finish as if it has been made with American oak, and a savoury undercurrent of leather and tar. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 21Oct2009.

Hawkshead Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Gibbston Valley fruit, made by Grant Taylor, this has a generous, savoury-edged, thyme-infused plum and cherry perfume, the fruit and herbs carrying through to the silky textured palate but quite oaky and spicy with a bright attack, perhaps from underlying acidity- the 'lift' of the wine never going away. ****. 13% alc. $37.50. 5Sep2008.

Huia Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Lighter in colour than most Pinot Noirs in the room and a noticeably more cherry aroma - but a delicious savoury flavour with a light silky texture that belies the richness and depth of the wine. I call it 'pretty' and 'elegant' with cherry, sweet spices, hints of chocolate and an abundance of pinot noir charm. 13.5% alc. $36. 9Oct2007.

Jackson Estate Marlborough Vintage Widow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) The bouquet offers up Intense berries, herbs and a touch of cedar but later it is so beguiling and floral. A deep, dark-fruited wine with plums, guavas, some nice underlying red berry acid spikes. Plush tannins and a mouthfilling richness to the finish, there is still some grip in there too. Starts off a bit Merlotesque but there are lots of varietal florals, herbs and Burgundian funk on the finish. 13.5% alc. $35.00. 5May2012.

John Forrest Collection Waitaki Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Lovely perfumed aromatics of spiced cherries and violets and earthy, sweet mushroomy flavours with strawberry and black cherry fruit. Medium to full-bodied, silky textured, supple and savoury with a crispness to the lingering aftertaste, it's very appealing. I've noticed a deep spiciness to previous vintages of Waitaki origin pinot noirs, but I'm not getting it in this wine - the spiciness is there it's just more subtle and integrated. 14.1% alc. $60. 26Jul2007.

Julicher Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) There's a lovely glow to the deeply translucent ruby violet colour and an appealing charm to the floral yet meaty scent with subtle smoke, intriguing red guava, cherry and earthy, meaty flavours, a spicy overlay, a velvety texture and a hint of chocolate on the succulent yet savoury finish. Hints of violets and rose petals with a suggestion of dried herbs emerge and the aftertaste is long and memorable. 14% alc. $36.99. 3Oct2007.
Deep ruby red, translucent, not opaque. Undoubtably New Zealand pinot noir on the nose with a fragrant, wild herb flower scent. Beautifully fine silky tannins with just enough grip and flavours of smoke, spice, earth and ripe berry, cherry and cranberry fruit. Oak is complex and classy and there is a perfect balance of sweet and savoury with a flourish of chocolate on the rich, meaty finish. A total class act. 29Jun2008.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Immediately appealing sweet cherry scents. This slightly lighter coloured, juicy, forward style is concentrated and fruity both on the nose and in the creamy palate where vanillin oak is supported by an underlying meatiness and structure. Slightly spritzy on the first taste, the spritziness quickly dissipates to reveal a deep, full-bodied meatiness and cedary oak. Spicy, fruity, smooth and savoury, this is an upfront, user-friendly and totally approachable style. 14% alc. $29.95. 8Mar2008.
A deep translucent dark garnet red with pinky-red edges. With its complex, savoury, funky, yet sweet fruited aroma with smoke, dried herbs, bitter cherry and plum and its smooth silky tannins and bright, spicy savoury flavours, it's a profound step up in quality. Add sweet red fruit, a meaty undercurrent, a touch of spice, hints of dried herbs, a touch of citrus and a long sensual finish, it is very classy and satisfying. 14% alc. $26.99. 9Jul2008.

Kim Crawford SP Rise-and-Shine Creek Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deeply coloured black red with purple tints, this big, juicy wine has a smooth, rich taste. Full of sweet chocolatey oak and cherries with soft acidity and velvety tannins, it's layered and complex with cigar smoke, earth and funk and a spicy flourish to the savoury finish with hints of dried herb and tar coming through too. You need to savour a big glass of this to discover all its fascinating intricacies. Bendigo region, Central Otago. 14.5% alc. $26.99. 5Dec2007.

Kiritea Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Ruby garnet with a deep translucency to the colour. Ripe and succulent, gamey and savoury with a hint of smoke on the nose, it's savoury and spicy to the taste with cherry and raspberry fruit, dried herbs, a touch of smoke and soft, silky tannins. Very tasty and outstanding value for the price. 14% alc. $18.99. 10Oct2007.

Kumeu River Pinot Noir 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Garnet with ruby hues. The nose is deep, complex and funky with glimpses of cherry fruit backed up by smoky savoury oak and hints of anise/liquorice spice. It's smoky, savoury, gamey and earthy in the palate with the savouriness reasonably dominating the fruit at this stage. Fine textured, silky tannined, very dry with mid palate richness and a vinous sweetness and a floral nuance to the finish, which leaves a very satisfied mouthfeel. 13.5% alc. $37.95. 12Jul2007.

Kusuda Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (c) A bright purple garnet colour. Shy nose with brooding red fruits and creamy oak. Spicy, lifted palate with mouthfilling richness, quite gamey with a varnishy overlay with lovely aromatic / mulled wine spices adding interest. I'd like to see the acidity integrate but the acidity does add that intriguing 'peacocks tail' flare. Silky textured and becoming more and more fascinating as it opened up in the glass. Tasting this was purely an academic exercise as evidently almost all of it is sent to Japan. 14% alc. $65. 18.5/20. 14Oct2008.

Lake Hayes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc)It has some garnet colouring, even a little brown on the edges – it is six years old after all. The bouquet is strong, savoury and spicy with deliciously concentrated dried fruit/ Intense in flavour without losing its varietal expression, with firm tannins, a deep savoury richness, a bright spiciness and a sense of chocolate enveloping the red fruit finish. Six years on from vintage, this wine is a star. $30. 3Jul2012.

Locharburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep, savoury and earthy with violet-like florals and spiced cherry scents becoming more and more fragrant in the glass, and a gamey character to the flavours. Velvety textured with bottle age introducing a seamlessness but as the wine evolves in the glass it seems denser in texture and form. Adds sweetness and brightness to gamey food. 14% alc. $35. 18Feb2010.

Lowburn Ferry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A deeply savoury, funky style with plenty of 'dirt' and a touch of tar that melts to reveal mid-palate fruit sweetness, oak is nicely integrated and the finish is complex and deep. 18.5/20. 13.5% alc. $36.95. 30Sep2008.

Main Divide Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Dense ruby with crimson edges, chocolate and savoury oak tempt the nose and lead into a ripe, flavoursome palate with chocolate, cherries, savoury oak and anise-like spices with a hint of dried rosemary on the finish. It's soft, fruity and creamy with a silky tannin structure. Deliciously approachable already. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 6Jun2007.

Main Divide Tehau Selection Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A complex, fine textured, silky pinot - a wine of finesse and class. It's earthy and savoury with firm tannins, hints of Burgundy-like funk, a touch of chocolate and sweet plum and tart cherry fruit balanced by a fine seam of acidity. A stunning pinot noir at the price point. 14% alc. $33.99. 6Feb2008.
Not as vividly pink (as the Tipinui) because it doesn't have the purple hue that gives the brightness to the former. On the nose it offers rich, succulent, sweet-fruited cherry and chocolate aromas and the olfactory sweetness carries through to the palate, which is bright and cherryish with underlying spiced orange acidity, mulled wine spices, an earthy depth and an herbal intrigue with a hint of anise on the lingering finish. Rounded and silky in its tannin structure and lasting in its sweet/savoury flavour this is the more softer, succulent and generous wine of the two. Very smart. 14% alc. $33. 10Jun2008.
Pale garnet colour, still with plenty of red but starting to fade. Perfumed with dried herbs, mushroom, earth and smoke then in the palate there's well balanced fruit sweetness and smoky savouriness. Add spicy oak, dry tannins, bottled cherries, hints of bacon, savoury funk and orange peel with a dried cherry character coming through on the lingering finish. 14% alc. $34.99. 8Jul2009.

Main Divide Tipinui Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Slightly deeper and brighter in its youthful pink colour than the Te Hau wine tasted beside it. The aroma is savoury and raspberryish with a herbal overtone and an earthy depth. It is a meaty wine to the taste, deep and earthy with a touch of marmite, underlying acidity and red fruit notes. It is the most funky of the two with its savoury disposition, thicker tannins and zesty acid brightness carrying the finish with a lingering aftertaste that is flushed with herb-infused maraschino. Very smart. 14% alc. $33. 10Jun2008.

Margrain Home Block Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep red with a restrained aroma of wood smoke, herbs and mercurachrome .Dry and savoury with earth and damp grass, tingly underlying acidity, a cough medicine character coming through and a minty nuance to the finish, which is slightly bitter 14% alc. $52.00. 3Jul2011.

Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (D) Rich, ripe, juicy - a big, almost luscious style. Florals and herbal notes underpin the sweet fruit with a firm savoury backbone. Tannins are still quite chalky at this stage and lots of evolution is needed but it already shows its star potential from this super vintage and leaves behind a succulent aftertaste. based on past vintages this will be a most age-worthy wine. 18/5/20. 13.9% alc. $65.14Oct2008.

Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep ruby garnet. Perfumed soapy aromas give way to fruit cake cherries and spice scent while the lifted, spicy flavours and cherry and plum fruit have a deep earthy, savoury, smoky and slightly tarry undercurrent. It's quite a gutsy wine with firm tannins, a hint of stewed tamarillo loitering in the background and another bright flourish of spice on the concentrated, long, savoury, full-bodied finish. Fruit sourced from four subregions. 14.5% alc. $32.99. 11Jul2007.

Montana Terroir Series Corbett’s Legacy Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep and dense, earthy and savoury, with brooding plummy flavours and a sweet flourish of spice on the finish with hints of rose petal florals as it lingers. The Wagyu beef coaxed out a fruit brightness and sweetness in a most complimentary way. 13% alc. $32.95. 7Sep2007.

Montana Terroir Series Gabriel’s Gully Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Aromatic with ripe cherry and a pretty floral infusion to the nose while in the palate it has a velvety edge to the silky texture and a spicy allure. Grapes come primarily from Bendigo and the Gibbston Valley. 13.5% alc. $32.95. 7Sep2007.

Montana Terroir Series Forgotten Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deeply translucent, blackish-Burgundy with a bright black cherry edged rim and smoky savoury, chocolatey aromas that have an earthy depth. Just a little sharp in the palate on the first taste but the underlying acidity is immediately balanced by the powerful, sweet-fruited, spicy flavours with a hint of lavender and wild thyme nuances amongst the black cherry and spiced red fruits. Smooth and velvety with a touch of lusciousness on the mouthfilling velvety finish and fantastic length, yet still very youthful with all the signs it will go a long way. 13% alc. $31.99. 27Feb2008.

Mount Dottrel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A medium-bodied style in the realm of C.O. P.N, it has a silky tannin structure, tart red fruits, wild herbs and loads of earthy savouriness. An anise-like spicy character emerges to linger on the pretty finish. The following day it shows a lovely spice character with a hint of anise and a deep earthy savouriness. Tannins seem thicker and there is beautiful aromatic lift. 14% alc. $29 to $35. 29Sep2008.

Mt Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Bright in colour, it's a little more floral but not as intensely perfumed as the preceding two wines. Cherry and violet scents and light fruity flavours with an earthy, savoury, herbal undercurrent, grippy tannins and a citrussy bite. A tough wine to appreciate at this stage – perhaps it just need times to develop in the bottle. 14.5% alc. $37.99. 19Sep2007.

Muddy Water Hare's Breath Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) The beguiling bouquet is concentrated, ripe and juicy with vanillin oak and rose petals, At first it seems a little tannic and stalky in the palate, but when this passes this is so in the earthy, funky, almost dirty Burgundian mould. There's also bittersweet red fruits, rose hips and thyme and a lovely long persistent finish that's enhanced by the well-balanced underlying acidity. Exciting. 13.5% alc. $42.00. 5May2012.

Muddy Water Slow Hand Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) The aroma is herbal and earthy with a bit of leather and pencil shavings. Surprising firmness in the fine-textured palate with bittersweet cherry, woody herbs, hints of anise, some mocha and cake spice. Very dry finish. Will be long lived. 13.5% alc. $65.00. 5May2012.

Muddy Water Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Lovely deep, earthy, savoury, mellow cedary 'school desk' scent. In the palate there still seem to be underlying acidity and freshness with bright bittersweet cherry and red guava fruit with a lovely smoky, sweet earth, mushroom underlay. There are hints of rose petals and lovely funky nuances too with increasing bitter chocolate finish, and the velvety tannins have a fine edge. Outstanding with impeccable texture. 14% alc. $40.00. 5May2012.

Murdoch James Martinborough Fraser Pinot Noir 2006 (c) The bouquet offers up sweet oak, rich red berries, chocolate and herbs. Full-bodied, complex and savoury with plummy red fruits, plenty of savouriness and sweet meaty richness. With firm yet fine tannins it's quite a sumptuous wine with lovely lift at the end and florals balancing the earthy savouriness beautifully. 14% alc. $65.00. 5May2012.

Mystery Creek Block 2 Waikato Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) You don't see too many Pinot Noir wines coming out of the Waikato but after tasting this one, perhaps there should be more. It's not like the South Island blockbusters but it delivers loads of savoury varietal flavours combined with drinkability. There's a fruity cherry sweetness to the finish but the lingering aftertaste is dry. 12.5% alc. $19.95. 1Mar2008.

Nanny Goat Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006(sc) Vivid purple crimson with a deep translucency to the hue. Aromatic herbal notes on nose and juicy plum and raspberry in palate with a rose petal and dried thyme musky overlay and a sweetness to the spicy finish. Very attractive despite the crisp, fresh, youthful nature of the wine. 13.5% alc. $35. 3Sep2007.

Nautilus Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A dark earthy savoury wine - deep and brooding. Smoky on the nose with sweet oak spice in the palate- it takes some time for the fruit to state its presence and it comes forth with a red fruit brightness. There's hint of strawberry and a touch of citrus from the underlying acidity with a chocolate flourish to the end. A complex Pinot Noir, with the pedigree to magnificently age. 14% alc. $40. 9Oct2007.

Neudorf Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 - Nelson (sc) There's a touch of chocolate to the red berry scent and a deep savoury funky nuance then in the palate bright acidity underpins the firm tannins with sweet oak, cake spices and pepper. Very plush and mouthfilling to drink with lots going on here. Bittersweet cherries, guavas and herbal nuances becoming quite savoury on the long dry finish. 13.5% alc. $69.00. 5May2012.

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2006 - Nelson (sc) A little deeper coloured with more ruby to the hue and a touch more opacity in the core of the glass. Brooding on the nose from a newly opened botte, it needs coaxing to let the savoury, tart red fruit aromas emerge. A generous wine in the mouth, it has great body and texture, red and black fruits, wild herb nuances and a touch of chocolate that adds immensely to its appeal. Silky textured with a slightly grain edge and a savoury, beautifully integrated oak backbone, I just dream what it would be like in a big glass with a little more aeration. Even so, it is stunning and captivating Pinot Noir. 13.5% alc. $63.99. 18Jun2008.

Neudorf Tom's Block Pinot Noir 2006 - Nelson (sc) A deep translucent garnet / tamarillo colour, almost opaque in the core of the glass. Brooding on the nose with a savoury, smoky and delicately spicy French oak scent. Bright to the taste with subtle red fruits over a savoury gamey backbone with a silky texture and a forest floor depth of flavour that needs to be unlocked. It builds in the palate and coats the mouth with its pretty pinot flavour and the lingering aftertaste is spicy and dry. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 18Jun2008.

Nevis Bluff Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Burgundy plum red. A hint of chocolate on the nose. Fruity and a little confectionary in the palate with a stalky spicy backbone. Earthy with moderate tannins, macerated plum and a cherry fruit underpinned by classic varietal savouriness. 13.5% alc. $38.99. 7Jan2009.
Fading red in colour with smoky savoury scents infused with macerated strawberry, this is savoury and stewed in the palate with a herbaceous undercurrent, plum jam, cake spices, dry tannins and a stalky nuance to the earthy finish. 13.5% alc. $38.99. 16Jun2010.

Nobilo Icon Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (c) Deep in colour, dark ruby with an almost opaque centre. Vanillin oak, cherries and sweet spices on the nose and rich, succulent, savoury flavours with slightly chunky velvety tannins, fruitcake spice, hints of milk chocolate and an earthy, brooding, mushroomy undercurrent. Full-bodied, tasty and long with a citrussy tang to the finish, it's very appealing from the outset. Matured in new and seasoned French oak for 12 months. 13.5% alc. $22.95. 7Jul2007.

Northrow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005 (sc) Similar in colour to the Thornbury, but richer and more powerful in flavour. Smoky bacon joins bright, spicy, cherry and plum fruit with an underlying, earthy, savoury richness. A fleshy pinot with silky tannins, a touch of chocolate and a little more complexity from the extra year of age. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 19Sep2007.

Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep garnet red, dense in appearance with a little bricking on the edge, there is maraschino cherry and vanillin oak on the nose and a spicy, juicy sweet palate. A red wine drinker's Pinot Noir, it is full-bodied and savoury with firm, dry tannins, a smoky, herbal, earthy undercurrent and an unexpectedly spicy finish. 14% alc. $47.99. 15Apr2009.

Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep intense red black colour. Aromas of mocha, rich ripe sweet red fruits then beef tea. Dark red fruits fill the concentrated and intense palate with zesty acidity indicating the wine is still youthful and evolving. Love those supple tannins and hints of anise-like herbs and spices and the fruit , sweetness that emerges on the rounded, mouthfilling finish. A warm, cosy style, eager to please. 13.5% alc. $84.00. 5May2012.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A deep, dense dark cherry colour with a youthful vibrancy to the hue. Perfumed, even marginally floral, with savoury oak and cherry scents. Rich and dense in the mouth with firm ripe tannins, an earthy savoury deepness, a spicy flourish to the black cherry and plum-like fruit and a chocolatey richness. Acidity underpins this full-bodied wine and it is very fresh for its age. 14% alc. $47.99. 25Feb2009.

Pisa Range Black Poplar Block Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deeply coloured with quite meaty, savoury scents with roast baby beetroot and polished new oak. On tasting it is at first surprisingly lighter than expected but from a subtle start is indeed a wine of power and length. Underlying acidity imparts the 'peacocks tail' on the finish together with maraschino, orange pomander and a hint of peppery spice. There's a meaty, leathery undercurrent, reasonably firm grainy tannins and a very dry finish. 14% alc. $40. 8Mar2008.

Ra Nui Wairau Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Dark ruby coloured, translucent appearance. Smoky, savoury, sweet mushroom and fruit cake cherry aromas and spiced cherries and red berry fruit flavours with a hints of liquorice, vanillin oak, forest floor, a flourish of acidity on the finish and a savoury, earthy, mushroomy depth. A clean, easy going, approachable, fruity, medium-bodied style. 13.8% alc. 7Jul2007.

Richardson Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Dark red with flashes of black. Opulently scented with lush black fruits, chocolate and a wild earth scent. So silky smooth, creamy and complete in the palate, the awesome texture is accompanied with black cherry fruit, chocolate, vibrant spices, a touch of anise and liquorice and an intense savoury element. Made from several clones in small batches, this has 100% wild winery yeast this has firm succulent tannins, underlying acidity and a bright finish. *****. 14% alc. $51.99. 22Oct2008.

Rippon Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (D) Milk chocolate abounds on the bouquet with sweet smoky oak, dark cherry and blackberry fruit with that 'difficult to describe' savouriness too – perhaps what some of the winemakers call 'pinosity'. Full-bodied, mouthfilling and succulent with velvety smooth tannins, this is a profoundly savoury and complex wine with a red fruit brightness and something intriguingly dark and mysterious in the background. The long lingering finish is spicy with the much liked 'peacock's tail' flare and my favourite anise like characters coming through. Top class wine that will be very long lived – it still has underlying structure and grip. The match of the day to the food. 13% alc. $52.00. 5May2013.

Rimu Grove Bronte Nelson Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A transparent garnet colour, savoury, smoky, dried herb and cherry fruit aromas and slightly developed / stewed red fruit flavours with a savoury, spicy infusion. It has a smooth, gentle attack to the medium bodied palate and a long finish where an earthy character gives a deep pinot sense and the dried herb and the sweetness of the fruit lingers nicely. 13.9% alc. $28.99. 25Feb2009.

Rimu Grove Nelson Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep yellow gold. Quite restrained on the nose. Savoury and smoky with spicy oak and a creamy texture in the palate, this is a big bold style with nuts, citrus, butterscotch and a full, rich spicy finish. 14.1% alc. $45. 4Apr2009.

Rippon Jeunesse Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep and dense in colour, the aroma is earthy and smoky with distinctive pinot herbal nuances. Spicy and vibrant to the taste, a touch peppery, a moderate attack of acidity, firm slightly grainy tannins and an earthy depth to the funky, cherry-guava finish. Yet it is creamy and chocolatey all the way through. 12.8% alc. $37.50. 20Apr2008.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Savoury earthy aromas with a hint of musk and later a pretty, floral scent. Medium-bodied in style, light in its attack but becoming richer with hints of leather, mocha and a meaty finish. Quite silky in texture. Good commercial style but quite elegant and doesn't want food that overpowers it. 13% alc. $27.00 19Aug2007.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep black garnet / ruby in colour, this is perfumed with wild herbs, black cherries and spicy smoky oak and tastes spicy and savoury with concentrated cherry and plum fruit, creamy oak and that intrinsic Central Otago wild thyme. It's underpinned by a tarry, savoury undercurrent and gravelly tannins and finishes with a gorgeous sweet fruit flourish. 13.7% alc. $34.99. 21Nov2007.

Rose Tree Cottage Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep crimson ruby tending to opaque in the core of the glass. Initially quite shy on the savoury nose, it opens up to reveal with smoky, earthy, slightly funky pinot scents. Beautifully poised with a silky tannin structure that imparts a lovely balanced flow to the smoky oak and sweet and savoury red fruit flavours. There's a brooding, earthy, mushroomy undercurrent, intrinsic herbal pinot characters and a spicy flourish with a brightness of red fruits on the lingering finish. Medium to full-bodied in style, matured in new and one-year-old French oak for 12 months. 13.5% alc. $27.95. 7Jul2007.

Ruby Bay Vineyard SV Young Vines Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep with a brightness to the colour, It's savoury, earthy and just a little leathery with a touch of spice, an undercurrent of herbs, fruit cake cherry and raspberry jubes on a smooth creamy texture. Light to medium-bodied, smooth and easy drinking with a residue of sweetness and warmth to the finish. 13.5% alc. $25. 29Oct2007.

Sacred Hill 'Prospector' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Garnet, bright. Lovely funky savoury aromas - inviting., but the wine seems quite tired n the glass - or is it? Fruit gone but plenty of mossy, earthy tones with a spicy brightness to the lifted finish. While seemingly quite developed, it is still drinkable and very enjoyable with its gorgeous silky texture. Lowburn fruit gently basket pressed to new & 1-yr old Fr oak for 18 months barrel maturation. 13.5% alc. $64.90. 2Aug2010.

Saint Clair Doctors Creek Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A dark Burgundy red with light, bright, fruity aromas that initially belie the earthy savoury flavours. A touch of anise adds a spicy brightness to the deep earthy palate that has a firm tannin backbone, slightly stewed black cherry and boysenberry fruit and a dark, brooding savoury finish. This powerful wine develops cherry and dark chocolate with a delicately floral spicy lift. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 29Jul2008.

Saint Clair Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Light ruby coloured, clear and bright. Aromatically scented with alluring smoky cherry and savoury spice, the aromatic traits carry through to the medium-bodied palate. Full of juicy, slightly tart red fruits and soft tannins, it's deliciously varietal, clean and well made. The back label says it is 'best matched with lamb' but with the chicken breasts stuffed with prunes and apricots and wrapped in bacon, it was totally delicious too. 13.5% alc. $20.95. 11Aug2007.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 ‘Sawcut’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Pinkish purple red with a brightness to the lustre, it's intriguingly perfumed with delicate hints of violets, smoky cedar and red fruits. The intrigue carries through to the spicy, savoury, juicy palate with fine tannins, an earthy complexity, a slightly charry backbone, bitter cherry and a dry savoury finish. Medium to full-bodied in style, it's well made and very tasty, but it would be hard to pick where in New Zealand this comes from. 14% alc. $30.99. 8Aug2007.

Saint Clair Vicars Choice Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Purple-tinged garnet. Soft and smoky with juicy black cherry and plum fruit, a touch of citrussy spice and a savouriness to the lingering finish. Lighter side of medium-bodied, easy drinking, well made and excellent value for the variety. 13.5% alc. $17.95. 11Aug2007.

Schubert Marion's Block Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2006 (c) Rich and succulent, complex, earthy, deep and savoury with structure, length and potential to become rather funky and sexy as soon as the underlying acidity tones down just a little. Deep in colour and full of flavour with vibrant bittersweet plum, tamarillo and red guava fruit, a touch of liquorice and fruitcake spice with silk edged velvety tannins and the peacock's tail resplendent on the finish. 13% alc. $35.90. 20May2008.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep ruby red. Quite complex and smoky with sweet vanillin oak and cherry on the nose and although the palate is smoky and savoury and there's an intrinsic herbal character underlying the wines, it seems sweet and confectionary-like in its cherry fruit flavours while charry oak lingers on the finish. Later, however, this wine really morphs into a different beast, it now seems intense and concentrated pinot noir with grainy tannins, a hint of pepper, thyme, mushrooms, fruits of the forest and a musky floral note to the succulent lingering finish. Medium to full-bodied in style, it was matured in new, one and two-year-old French oak for 12 months. 12% alc. $28.95. 7Jul2007.

Seresin Leah Pinot Noir 2006 - Marlborough (sc) Deep cherry guava red. Fragrant, smoky and savoury on the nose with a lovely floral depth and crisp, savoury, spicy flavours with crushed velvet tannins, slightly tart cherry and cranberry fruit, dried herbs, smoky bacon, an earthy undercurrent and the musky florals detected on the nose adding a lovely touch to the lingering finish. Medium to full-bodied in style with beautifully integrated French oak (just 15% new) playing a supporting role throughout, it's made from a myriad of pinot noir clones and seems to get more and more complex as the contents of the glass disappear. 13% alc. $33. 2Aug2007.

Spinyback Nelson Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A light transparent garnet colour - a little lighter than the Estate 2006. Spicy, savoury aromas with intrinsic Pinot Noir cherry sweetness and sweet in the palate too with a well balanced underlying tartness. It has nice earthy tones and although it initially seems a little spritzy, that is momentary and the finish is long and savoury. Classic Pinot Noir in a lighter, medium bodied style. Didn't go with the gamey lamb but good with the vegetables. 13.5% alc. $17.90. 31Mar2009.

Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Burgundy/garnet hued at six years of age - would have been quite deep and ruby on release. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with nuances of spiced raisin - must have been quite ripe - yet in the palate there is still good acid spine. Fruit is bittersweet cherry/plum/tamarillo with an exciting edginess. Firmly structure yet svelte, some lovely anise-like infusion to the finish. Mouthfilling, satisfying and long. 13.5% alc. $55.00. 20Mar2013.

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Sweet cherry on the nose, a little closed at first but becoming quite vibrant. Quite spicy to the taste with a fruit cake richness, a hint of pepper and red liquorice, it seems to lack pinosity at first but the finish is long, succulent and savoury and it is as pinotesque as any of the wine can be. Perhaps slightly bitter on the finish. 13.5% alc. $28.90. 20Apr2008.

Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Ruby-garnet in colour with moderate depth, it's smoky and savoury on the nose with cherry and hints of chocolate that carry through to the silky textured palate. Strawberry and raspberry joins the cherry fruit and is underpinned by spicy sweet oak with hints of chocolate, a herbal fascination, and richness and length to the persistent, savoury finish. Medium to full-bodied and beautifully balanced with abundant pinot noir charm, it is an easy wine to appreciate and enjoy. 14% alc. $26.99. 17Oct2007.

Struggler's Flat Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Youthful, vibrant, purple-red with good depth, not quite opaque. On the nose it smells savoury and lush and in the palate it's fruity and spicy with hints of anise, cherry and red guava fruit, savoury oak, velvety tannins, reasonably high acidity and a herbal depth to the earthy finish. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 4Apr2007.
Deep maroon red, dense, meaty and savoury wine with hints of chocolate and leather on the nose, the complexity carries through to the juicy, firm-textured palate where succulent ripe cherry fruit emerges with a flourish of sweet oak and spice. Long and juicy, rich and creamy with chocolate and spiced black cherries and a funky, savoury undercurrent, it's deliciously approachable and outstanding value for the quality it delivers. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 26Sep2007.
Deep berry red, almost opaque in the core. Black cherries on the nose and rich, ripe flavours with black cherry fruit, a spicy undercurrent, velvety tannins, sweet oak and an earthy richness to the long savoury finish. Value drinking. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 17Oct2007.

Te Mania Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2006 (D) Lighter (more transparent) than we usually see in NZ pinot noir these days, it's smoky and savoury with hints of spiced cherry on the nose and silky textured, earthy, savoury and distinctly pinot noir in the palate. Pleasing delivery and flow with just a little bit of grip to the tannins, though lighter in colour it lacks absolutely nothing in flavour. With its sexy funk, this is sensual, subtle pinot noir. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 20Apr2008.

Terravin Hillside Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Garnet red with a flush of maroon. A little richer, sweeter on the nose. Savoury with plum and cherry fruit, this has richness, texture and viscosity to the mouthfeel. There's a tart, red fruit infusion and an earthy savouriness combining beautifully with anise-like spices that add to its charm. Tannins are sensual and a chocolatey veneer coats the savoury finish. A good long finish. Lovely drinking right now. 14% alc. $56.99. 4Mar2009.
Garnet in hue, dense in appearance but showing a little age. Fruit cake, maraschino aromas and deep, intense, savoury, gamey flavours with nuances of woody herbs, mushrooms and a touch of spice. It is the sensual texture and layers of flavour that set this wine on a pedestal. Great mouthfeel, excellent length with juicy red fruits and additional complexity from bottle age. Made from Omaka fruit and crafted by Mike Weersing. 14% alc. $58.99. 17Feb2010.

Terrace Heights Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep purple-garnet red. Smoky and savoury with a cherry fruit sweetness on the nose and a lovely savoury sweetness in the palate. It's velvety smooth and succulent with a spicy earthiness and a plum and cherry fruit richness while the beautifully integrated creamy French oak lingers on the long, soft finish. Deceptively easy to drink and an inspired match to the lamb. 13.5% alc. 8Nov2007.

The Crater Rim Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep red in colour, opaque in the core, its perfumed scent leads into a powerful, full-bodied, grunty palate with plum and blackberry fruit, hints of leather, spice and savoury, creamy oak. As the wine opens up in the glass, the pinot noir intricacies are revealed with an earthy herbal undercurrent, silky tannins, more typical red cherry fruits, hints of chocolate and a long, savoury and succulent finish. One for the lovers of 'big reds', decanting is recommended for others. Gold Medal – NZ International Wine Show. 14.5% alc. $25.99. 17Oct2007.

The Crater Rim Omihi Rise Pinot Noir 2006 - Waipara (D) Deep in colour with a black core and purple-red edges, this is fragrantly scented with savouriness winning over fruitiness on the day. It's rich and creamy with firm tannins, smoky oak, hints of tar, sweet leather, earth, game, nutmeg and exotic spices and plummy fruit and fills out with a black cherry sweetness on the fragrant finish. This powerful pinot noir has so much richness and complexity that even non-pinot noir drinkers will love it. 14.5% alc. $42.99. 21Nov2007.

The Jibe Latitude 41 Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep ruby, translucent in appearance. Spiced cherry and soft vanillin oak aromas. Earthy, savoury red fruit flavours with underlying acidity and a herbal edge that doesn't detract. Medium-bodied, soft, smooth, sweet-fruited and quaffable with a warm flourish of velvety spices on the finish. Matured in seasoned French oak for 9 months. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 7Jul2007.

Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep in the core with a ruby edge, this smoky, savoury wine has a black cherry richness to the scent and the flavour is beautifully balanced with biscuity oak, cherry, chocolate and spice. Silky in texture with underlying acidity adds brightness to the long seamless finish. 14% alc. $29.99. 19Sep2007.
Deep ruby garnet. Ripe and lusciously scented with juicy fruit and smoky, savoury earthy notes. Quite succulent and chocolatey in the ripe, creamy palate with bittersweet red fruit, velvety tannins and a spicy, savoury undercurrent with a slightly 'salty' dried rosemary and thyme finish, then a touch of anise and even a tinge of tamarillo on the lingering aftertaste. Full of juicy red fruit, it's quite yum and easy to drink - just what we love about Central Otago pinot noir. 14% alc. $29.99. 4Jun2008.

Tirohana Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006 Garnet red with savoury scents that are infused with spice, musk and red fruits - it's quite floral. Firm in its tannin structure with a touch of chocolate, underlying acidity and sweet oak, it seems quite tight at first but fleshes out beautifully with sweet red and black fruits, savoury oak, a delicate spiciness and a long, persistent finish. 13.5% alc. $69.00. 17Oct2007.

Tohu Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A lighter style than many of the new wave of pinot noirs we are seeing from the South Island, yet despite its comparative lightness, it is still immensely drinkable and will have wide appeal. It's soft and savoury with a creamy texture, subtle smoky oak, red fruits, a touch of dried herb and a fruit sweetness to the lingering finish. Very tasty indeed. $28. 27Oct2007.

Trinity Hill High Country Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2006 (D) Smoky and spicy with a nice touch of funk and biscuity nuances on the nose, it's full-bodied, funky, spicy and bright to the taste with an earthy complexity and a smoky depth. Black cherry, blueberry and a floral lift to the finish with a hint of mocha. Smooth in its delivery and quite complex. 14% alc. $39.95. 20Apr2008.

Twin Islands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A lighter styled pinot, initially quite sweetish with a savoury undertone to the morello cherry and blueberry fruit and a hint of chocolate to the earthy savoury finish. Matched to twice -cooked lamb shanks in a restaurant, the sweetness of the wine worked well with the gamey flavours of the lamb. In fact the lamb really did need the shot of cherry / berry favour that the wine added. It was also especially nice with bread dipped in oil then in an aromatic dukkah which had the aniseed flavours of fennel seeds. $18-$20. 13.5% alc. 3May2008.

Valli Bannockburn Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep black cherry red with purple hues. Cherry, spice, musk evolve from the fascinating aroma. Full-bodied and sweet fruited to the taste with spiced black cherries, juicy blackberry, creamy oak, plush velvety tannins and spicy nuances with the intrinsic savouriness of pinot noir. A touch of smoky bacon lingers on the finish and the muskiness detected on the nose lingers with cherry on the persistence aftertaste. Decanting recommended. 13% alc. $45.00 19Aug2007.

Valli Gibbston Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep boysenberry red, almost opaque. Tight and closed on first opening with subtle cherry in the grainy textured palate. It needs some coaxing and swirling to bring out its spicy oak and complex, sweet-fruited flavours that are so much obvious the next day. Ripe black cherry, plum, hints of violets, a touch of mocha, bitter chocolate and creamy oak with firm, velvety textured tannins and dried herbs on the earthy, savoury finish. Long and expansive. Just needs to integrate a little more. 13% alc. $45.00 19Aug2007.

Valli Waitaki Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Wine berry hued, hints of spice, rose petal and earthy scents, it's silky textured, savoury and earthy to the taste with a spritziness of youth, integrated French oak, hints of red guava and red and black cherries with rose petal and violet overtones to the shy, spicy finish. Fine and expansive. Long and persistent. Excellent potential. 13% alc. $45.00 19Aug2007.

Vidal Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep ruby red with flashes of purple. Quite alluring with cherries, musk and spice on the nose and well-balanced, savoury flavours with silky tannins. Full-bodied, earthy and complex with red and black fruits mingling with spiced mushrooms and an infusion of smoky oak with a hint of violet and a touch of chocolate emerging on the persistent finish, it's amazing quality for the price. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 17Oct2007.
A lighter, transparent, Burgundy red, this is the complete opposite of the opulent styles, it's oily, earthy and funky and seems almost Burgundian with a delicate salty savouriness, silky tannins and a mushroom-like intrigue, but states its New World origin with a mouthfilling fruit-sweet finish. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 16Apr2008.
A lighter, transparent Burgundy red colour, this is abundantly spicy and still remarkably fresh. Fine-textured with easy tannins and savoury flavours of earth, mushroom and game together with dried herbs, it has that almost essential touch of Marlborough chocolate and a cherry-filled finish. *** 14% alc. $19.99. 29Oct2008.

Villa Maria PB Marlborough/Waipara Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Translucent pinky garnet in colour, this has a delicately smoky, savoury aroma with a pinot red fruit scent. It's medium bodied in style, juicy and sweetish with raspberry and cherry fruit, a hint of vanilla and a balancing savoury tartness. Smooth and pleasant drinking. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 17Oct2007.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep purple red in colour, it's dark and savoury on the nose and big, rich and succulent to the taste. Filled with savoury, earthy, gamey flavours with leather, tar, chocolate, chicory and anise, the ripe cherry and plum fruit balances the savouriness perfectly. Lots of flavours and harmonious in its flow with silk-edged velvety tannins, it has a powerful finish that is long and tasty. 14% alc. $55.99. 17Oct2007.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A deep Burgundy red. Perfumed and beautifully structured, quite gamey and savoury with the initial fine silky entry to the palate expanding with a mouth-coating blanket of sultry grainy tannins. The flavour is enhanced with aromatic spices, brooding red fruits, bitter chocolate, smoked deli meats and underlying acidity - but the most outstanding traits are the amazing richness, mouthfeel and length and the layers of finesse. *****. 14% alc. $52.99. 29Oct2008.
A rich, full-bodied, juicy, generous, deep red Pinot Noir – reflective of the riper vintage. Spicy and savoury, beautifully balanced by the a plum and cherry fruit sweetness, with hints of chocolate too. It's a silky supple wine with a funky, earthy allure. Hard to believe it's almost five years old. Delicious now. 14% alc. $59.99. 16Feb2011.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Still quite considerable depth to the brown garnet (pyrope) hue, this five-year-old Pinot has a sensual sexual perfume infused with forest floor, mushrooms and bittersweet fruit. It is this bittersweet fruit that is so exciting in the silky-textured palate – red guava and poached tamarillo join plums, woody herbs mushrooms, forest floor and some wild yeast funk and there's a lovely bright lift to the finish, the 'peacock tail' flare. A gorgeous, earthy, savoury wine, with lovely bottle-age complexities, and still years to go. 13.5% alc. $62.99. 8Jun2011.

Waimea Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A light transparent garnet coloured wine. Quite juicy, ripe and creamy smelling with lots of vanilla as if it has a large proportion of American oak, this sweet vanilla component carries through to the soft, velvety textured, medium-bodied palate that’s crammed with ripe cherry fruit and pricked with peppery spice. Utterly drinkable and sure to appeal to those who don't care what they are drinking, but as a Pinot Noir, for me, it is just wrong. 14% alc. $23.90. 31Mar2009.

Wentworth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep translucent fading garnet coloured with cherry-infused smoky savoury aromas and earthy, savoury flavours with a vinous sweetness to the bittersweet red fruit. Gentle in its attack with a silky textured mouthfeel, it's a little mellow in comparison to the complex 2007's from Central Otago but has lots of cherry and forest floor with a gamey, mushroom hint to the lasting finish. Made by Peregrine in exceptional vintages only from Gibbston Valley fruit 13.5% alc. $54.99. 3Jun2009.

West Brook Waimauku Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Translucent dark cherry red. Lots of savoury funk in this wine - an older wine with fine silky tannins and depth and vinosity to the savoury flavours. Dark cherry fruit, a touch of cranberry tartness, a gamey, savoury backbone with mushroom and thyme and a spicy flourish to the persistent finish that lasts for ages. First crop from the home vineyard in Waimauku made from clones 115, 667 and 10/5. 17.5/20. 12.8% alc. $21.95. 2Feb2010.

Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep dark red with flashes of purple black, opaque in the core of the glass and with a ruby, crimson glow. On the nose it immediately appeals with its chocolate and cherry cologne and in the mouth it is immediately seductive with upfront fruit sweetness, chocolate, cherry, wild fruits of the forest, underlying orange peel acidity and sweet spices. It is rich, robust and round with an underlying earthy savouriness and a cosy cloak of mouth enveloping tannins. This is the guzzling wine. This is drinking wine. It's right at you babe, all the way. But be careful, because before you know it, it will be gone. 14% alc. $35. 10Oct2008.

Winegrowers of Ara Composite Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) A medium-bodied PN with a transparent Burgundian red hue, an earthy, meaty scent and earthy savoury flavours - more so than we see in many of the 'lighter' styles. There's a definite herbal stalkiness and strawberry, red guava and tamarillo fruit with a mouthcoating savoury finish. It whisked me to Burgundy but it is best consumed the day it is opened. 13% alc. $32. 24Jul2008.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (sc) Deep, complex, sweet and savoury with polished oak, it's full-bodied and powerful with lovely spice complexities, hints of anise, rich ripe juicy fruit, a deep earthy savoury undercurrent, a hint of graininess to the texture and a bit of a funky leathery nuance on the quite dry finish. 14% alc. $42. 8Mar2008.

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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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