edited by Sue Courtney
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Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 12 Aug 2014
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.
[current]           [1999 and older] [index]
Akarua 'Cadence' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Rich, concentrated and structured. The aroma is smoky, savoury and earthy - traits that make a solid backbone to the voluptuous fruit that interacts with violet candy, anise and dried thyme. Despite that voluptuousness it shows restraint with a youthful tightness. A beautiful wine with exactly the right amount of fruit sweetness to harmonise with the sensual savouriness that is delivered. Fruit encompasses the red spectrum - from strawberry to something a little just past cherry. And when the wine is swallowed, the flavours persist in the mouth. 14.3% alc. $45.00. 21Aug2009.
Akarua Gullies Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) The cherry fruits of Central Otago bounce off the savoury oak and leap out of the glass. Spicy on entry to the palate - juicy cherries and Black Doris plums, a touch of chocolate and freshness from the underlying acidity. When tasted alongside its sibling, it is lighter in style and has more juicy fruit sweetness but the savouriness is there and lingers beautifully on the finish. 13.7% alc. $35.00. 21Aug2009.
Alexandra Wine Central Otago "Davishon" Pinot Noir 2007 – Central Otago (sc) Dark Burgundy red with a touch of that elusive Pinot 'funk' and bright red fruit filtrating through the earthy, savoury bouquet. Rich, savoury and juicy to the taste with a hint of raspberry joining sweet cherry fruit, a meaty mid palate and a flourish of cake spices on the finish. The oak has integrated nicely since September. 14% alc. $37.99. 10Mar2010.
Alexia by Jane Cooper Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Light to medium-bodied in style and translucent orange-red in the halogen light, it is savoury and earthy on the nose and just a little sweet on entry to the palate with a chocolatey undercurrent, smooth silky tannins but a slightly 'hard', dry and slightly stalky finish. 15/20. 13% alc. $24.94. 13Aug2008.
Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A garnet red of moderate depth, this aromatic and sensuous silky pinot is earthy and deep with a harmonious tannin structure, a depth of savouriness, crushed wild thyme and dried fennel with concentrated tamarillo and black cherry fruit. While restrained in fruit sweetness, a hint of bitter chocolate adds complexity to the finish. 14% alc. $43.99. 30Sep2009.
Astrolabe Marlborough Voyage Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) deep purple garnet. Smoky, sensuous aromas - smoked cherry, savoury oak and a hint of violet. In the palate there's wild cherry, stewed tamarillo and violet-infused chocolate on a bed of smooth tannins with woody herbs, sweet oak and that intrinsic Pinot Noir savouriness. A lovely lift of flavours on the finish - the peacock's tail flare - bought about by well-balanced orange peel acidity - and a long lingering finish. WOTW. 14% alc. $29.00. 29Jun2009.
Bald Hills Single Vineyard Central Otago. Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Dark Burgundy red. Smoky, savoury, forest walk aromas and savoury, earthy, dark cherry fruit flavours with a subtle suggestion of tamarillo and a distinctly herbal backbone but all the while that lovely savouriness and a silky tannin structure to add to the pleasing mouthfeel and effect. A good wine from the great vintage and beautiful drinking now. 13.5% alc. $39.99. 19May2010.
Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Saturated purple red. The distant woodsmoke and bitter cherry aromas are quite brooding to start - but there's something there that is distinctive of New Zealand Pinot Noir. It's full of flavour in the mouth with plenty of spicy oak, ripe cherry and bittersweet red fruits over a thick, dense, meaty backbone with a chocolatey richness and classic Central Otago dried herb - and the finish is bright, boisterous and juicy. Very good. 14% alc. $22.99. 17Jun2009.
Bird Big Barrel Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Translucent pinky red in colour with a very attractive Pinot scent perfumed with concentrated spiced plum and cherry. The palate is savoury and silky textured with a lovely tannin structure that is fine and smooth. Tart red fruits are balanced to the delicate sweet oaked backbone and the finish is enveloping for this medium bodied style - it's bright and lifted and makes you want to have another sip. A really approachable wine with that brightness floating on the finish and just a subtle touch of anise. A perfect accompaniment to thick, juicy scotch fillet in a Peter Gordon marinade and Neil's stuffed mushroom recipe - the stuffing is simply bread crumbs, thyme, garlic and oil 14.5% alc. $35.00. 23Jan2009.
Blind Trail Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep crimson purple, dense in appearance. Savoury with smoke, dried herb and maraschino cherry scent. Juicy and savoury, intrinsically Pinot Noir with a spicy kick to the smooth, savoury, earthy flavours. Cherry and red fruit, plus a touch of wild fungi, add to the pleasing experience. 13.8% alc. $25. 18Oct2008.
Burnt Spur Martinborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep ruby with flashes of purple, almost opaque. Savoury aromas, earthy and gently smoky with bittersweet red fruits that carry through to the lightly spicy and silky textured palate with flavours that are finely textured, savoury and long and juicy sweet fruit just adding that extra flourish to the lasting finish. 14.5% alc. $33.99. 23Sep2009.
Camshorn Waipara Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) It's bright in colour and moderately dense in appearance with crimson / purple hues. Smoky and savoury on the nose with a hint of flower musk to the spicy perfume. Smooth and gentle in the palate - deep, savoury, earthy - a bed of moss on the forest floor and fruits of the forest - wild strawberry and cherry with an anise-infused mulled spiciness and poached tamarillo on the smoky finish. Lifted, bright and clean - the acidity adds citrus to the finish - this made it so good with the lambs shanks braised in citrus - it also brought out more gaminess and richness in the wine. 13% alc. $36.95. 11Aug2009.
Ceres Bannockburn Central Otago Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Purple garnet, not quite opaque, this is a finely structured Pinot with an earthy savoury aroma accented with black cherry, and classical savoury flavours that compound in richness and concentration, becoming quite chocolatey on the finish. The earthy savoury notes balance the opulence and the finish is long and succulent. 14% alc. $35.99. 12Oct2011.
Craggy Range Zebra Vineyard Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep purple red. Quite restrained nose - savoury, gamey, herbal, some florals. Juicy upfront sweetness of blue/black fruit with a tart red fruit undercurrent, mouth-enveloping tannins and a salty savouriness from the rosemary and thyme-like herbs. Brooding and savoury with dried mushrooms, spice and liquorice. Structured, intense, sensual and mouthfilling with a lingering finish but for many the tannins were too grippy on the night. Just decant or let it evolve in the glass. *****. 14% alc. $43.99. 29Oct2008.
Delta Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Garnet red with ruby hues, deeply translucent, not opaque. Quite fruity yet savoury with cherry and strawberry fruit, 'Throaties lolly' flavours, savoury oak, herbs and just a touch of spice. Medium-bodied with silky tannins, quite good length and a generous and lightly creamy aftertaste that fills out and linger beautifully. Shows excellent potential to blossom out beautifully with just a little more time. 13% alc. $22.99. 9Jul2008.
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (c) There's a lustrous pink glow to the deep rubellite hue and for people who drink with their eyes, this is a wine of visual appeal. The aromas that emanate out of the glass are sumptuously savoury with subtle but creamy oak that hints of bacon with tarragon and an intertwining of bittersweet and fruitcake cherry. Rich and succulent to the taste with velvet-lined tannins, there's an amalgam of sweetness, tartness, spiciness, earthiness and savouriness. I found cherry, poached tamarillo, red guava, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, a hint of thyme-like woody herbs and cake spices. Underlying acidity ensures this will be a wine to last. 13.5% alc. $39.00. 1Nov2009.
Domain Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep burgundy hue. Gorgeous aromatics brimming with cherry and dark earth, and deep dark, rich, juicy cherry flavours underpinned by sweet spicy oak and a savoury spiciness - one of stars of the vintage. A steal at the price. 14.5% alc. $29.99 28Oct2009.
Eliot Brothers Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Moderately dense in colour. Savoury and spicy, with a cherry infusion - distinctly pinot on the nose with that elusive, slightly visceral, pinot scent. A little sweeter than expected to the taste - a medium weight pinot with upfront sweetness becoming richer on the finish. At first the palate didn't live up to the promise of the nose but soon redeemed that thought with a gorgeous finish with some violet, herb, hints of cinnamon and an intrinsic savouriness coming through. And then I loved it. $19.95. 13.2% alc. 15May2009.
Escarpment Martinborough Pinot Noir 2007 (D) Smoky and savoury and just a little floral on the nose. Rich, powerful and savoury to the taste with a deep red berry complexity, a tarry undercurrent, anise and mulled wine spices and earth, game and leather. A powerful brooding wine with dry tannins, it really needs more time and I wonder if it has been released too soon. 13.5% alc. $45. 14Oct2008.
Felton Road Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Quite vivid pinky red with a black hue to the core. Perfumed with herbs dominant over the sweet-fruited scents. In the palate it's sweet but not jammy with mouthfilling red fruits, a hint of blackberry, gently gripping finely structured tannins, spicy savoury oak, forest floor, thyme and excellent length. It seems a little unresolved and slightly yeasty on first tasting but evolves beautifully in the glass to reveal all sorts of intricate nuances. It really needs more time but could be coaxed out of its shroud by decanting for immediate drinking. 14% alc. $54.99. 9Jul2008.
Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Bright purple garnet with a ruby, not quite opaque in the core of a full glass. Smoky, savoury, forest floor aromas with a hint of freshly polished bushranger's boots and then some cherry chocolate too. Savoury rather than overtly fruity, it's also quite spicy in the palate, as if infused with a little Christmas cake spice with a hint of cinnamon, bittersweet cherries and a smoky disposition. Rounded in the mouth with fine textured velvety tannins and bright underlying acidity, there are floral notes to the finish reminiscent of lavender and pot pourri. I like the way it slowly creeps up and then grabs you with its arresting grip and the lasting, tasty finish.. 13.5% alc. 21Dec2008.
Hyperion Eos Matakana Pinot Noir 2007 (D) Medium depth of cherry red colour. Hints of mocha-infused creamy oak on the nose - it smells rich and deep and it is quite savoury to the taste with an earthy depth while the tannins are firm and dry yet it has vinosity and texture that is pleasing to the taste. Sweet cherries, typical of the variety, fill out the finish. Yes, it really is from Matakana, but if you tasted it blind you'd think it was from much, much further south. 13.5% alc. $29. 7 Nov 2009.
Jackson Estate Gum Emperor Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep and dark in colour, the aroma is smoky and savoury with concentrated ripe cherry and plum fruit and the palate is rich and creamy with concentrated fruit and a deep, savoury complexity. A seductive, full-bodied Pinot Noir, as should be expected from the excellent vintage and probably better with that extra bottle age it's had while waiting to be tasted. 14 % alc. $60.00. 6Jun2010.
Johanneshof Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (D) A translucent cherry red colour, Aromas of mulled wine spice and cherry fruitcake with a slightly funky tomato stalk nuance. Sweet fruited, full of cherry with a lovely savoury component - but it is the vinosity that makes this wine - it is earthy, savoury, silky, dark and funky with well-balanced underlying acidity. So Noirish, it couldn't be anything else. 16.75/20. 12.5% alc. $25.50. 2Feb2010.
Jules Taylor Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep purple-red. Smoky and savoury with black cherry and spiced-fill aromatics, this rich, soft, powerful juicy style is earthy and savoury from the outset with cracked red berries, chocolate, cherry, a hint of smoky bacon and just a touch of game. Medium to full-bodied, silky in texture and long in flavour, it has well balanced acidity, a long, smoky aftertaste and excellent length. 14% alc. $31.99.5Mar2008.
Julicher Martinborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Densely coloured, almost black in the core with dark red rims. A deep rich savoury wine, full of smoky bacon with bittersweet guava and tamarillo supporting juicy black cherry fruit and a funky allure to the deep rich savoury finish. Drinking well now with life ahead of it. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 14Jul2010.
Kim Crawford Rise and Shine Central Otago Bendigo Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep maroon in colour with a bright, youthful, plummy aroma and a creamy palate that's quite rich in oak expression, there's an earthy undercurrent, lovely soft supple tannins, hints of anise and dark concentrated plum and cherry fruit. From the great vintage, it is still amazingly youthful and offers satisfying drinking. 14% alc. $24.99. 4Aug2010.
Kina Beach Reserve Nelson Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep burgundy red with a ruby glow. Sensuous savoury aromas with a depth of red fruit. Savoury and just a little spicy to the taste with dark, bittersweet red fruit in the tamarillo and cherry spectrum, there's an earthy intensity with regenerating native New Zealand forest and smoky savoury oak adding to the overall appeal. All the while the fine tannins impart a smooth silky mouthfeel although there's a little bit of grip to those tannins on the aftertaste while a touch of acidity gives the wine brightness and oomph. 14% alc. $40. 24Apr2010.
Lamont Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc)Deep Burgundy red in colour, this is chocolatey scented with hints of violets and an earthy infusion. Velvety-textured with layers of flavour of juicy red fruit, fruitcake spice, an underpinning of wild thyme and a lovely savouriness kicking through on the finish. 13.5% alc. $35.99. 10Nov2010.
Lowburn Ferry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Intensely deep in colour, this is a powerful, savoury, funky style. It's earthy and gamey with wild thyme, wild mushrooms, concentrated fruits of the forest, a hint of tamarillo, aromatic spices, rich chocolatey oak, firm tannins and a fantastically long finish. 14% alc. $38.99. 8Oct2008.
Mahi Rive Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep purple red. A big ripe smelling wine endowed with vanillin oak - doesn't really smell like Pinot Noir at all. I knew Neil would like it. The voluptuousness hinted to on the nose follows through on the buxom, full-bodied, velvet textured palate. In fact, this wine is just yum and totally user friendly if not of the subtle, gentle PN mould. It has bittersweet strawberry and cranberry fruit, violets, smoke, earth and spice and a cake biscuit finish. Next day it emanates even more voluptuousness and has Shiraz-like cherry and spice. A full-bodied, blockbuster style. $0.00. 14% alc. 15May2009.
Main Divide Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep purple red with purple violet hues. Rich and savoury with a hint of smoky bacon to the scent and a plush velvety tannin structure with a touch of spice and fruit cake cherry adding a lushness to the deliciously juicy flavours with a hint of guava adding a balancing twist. Long and silky with a touch of floral to the lifted finish. Dangerously drinkable. 14% alc. $24.95. 15Jul2008.
Main Divide Te Hau Selection Waipara Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) There's a dark core to the red garnet hue and a seductive smoky savoury allure to the bouquet. A generous wine with a smooth velvety texture, fleshy black cherry, spiced plum, underlying strawberry and complex smoky, savoury, gamey characters, Again there's bright acidity that while in balance gives brightness and freshness to the lingering finish. Looking excellent for its 5 years of age. 14% alc. $33.00. 25Aug2013.
Margrain River's Edge Martinborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Ruby garnet with purple tints. Quite herbal on the nose with a deep savoury infusion and hints of violet-like florals. Savoury to the taste and silky smooth in texture - gentle in its attack with an almost creamy mouth-coating succulence to the concentrated flavours. I get chocolate covered mushroom, wild strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, violets, dried herbs and perhaps even a lavendar infusion - and a lasting savoury, smoky finish. Quite a meaty wine in many respects. 13.5% alc. $28. 2Aug2009.
Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Terraces Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deeply coloured, beguilingly scented wine with earth, wild herbs and bittersweet red fruit amongst the big bold flavours. It has all the hallmarks of a classic - intense and spicy with a huge tannin structure yet succulent and sultry - an absolute keeper. Next day: Quite perfumed - violet, dried woody herbs. Savoury, chocolate, sweet mushroom. Very smooth, succulent, masterful. 14% alc. $70.00. 31May2009.
Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A rich juicy pinot with a saturated colour, earthy nuggetty savoury aromas and deep intense savoury flavours with sweet smoky chocolatey oak, a spicy depth and Martinborough's typical tarter red fruits in the cherry-guava spectrum together with riper blackberry and plum. Fruit forward, earthy, savoury and supple with a fascinating touch of 'dirt'. Outstanding value. 14% alc. $24.99. 1Oct2008.
Matakana Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (c) Aromas of bittersweet red fruits, dried aromatic herbs, woodsmoke in the distance, kir and wine soaked mushrooms. There's loads of tamarillo in this wine - poached tamarillo - you know like when you scoop the flesh out of a tamarillo - that intriguing bitter sweet flesh, then that rush of acidity that follows. There's sweetness to counterbalance it - a distinctive cherry chocolate sweetness with gentle tannins, savoury oak, dried cherries and vanilla infused spice. A hint of liquoricey herbs too. Quite an oaky pinot and a little awkward on its own - but a major food and wine match success with a herb crusted rack of lamb. 14% alc. $32.00. 7Jul2009.
Mitre Rocks Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Bright in colour and bright in its aromatic expression, this is a gorgeous, savoury and deeply spicy wine exhibiting a tight and slightly grainy tannin structure with hints of tamarillo emerging on the finish. A dense, rich oaky wine that really needs more time. 14.5% alc. $37.50. 19Nov2009.
Momo Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) With loads of spicy savouriness this is a bright, juicy yet intrinsically savoury pinot noir. It is medium-bodied with soft velvety tannins, a mix of tart and sweet cherry fruit and a chocolatey touch to the lightly oaked finish and a spicy zestiness to the lingering aftertaste. When accompanied with pork n a plum sauce, the pinot becomes quite sweet. 13.5% alc. $27. 28Aug2008.
Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deep dense purple-red, like a Black Doris plum. Opulently scented with a distinctive spiciness that carries through to the concentrated, silk-edged velvety textured palate that is a delight of savouriness with plum and berry fruit and layers of cherry chocolate. Fruit forward and lush but there's a deep earthy brooding complexity that makes this sumptuous wine the complete package. From Dom Mondillo's own vineyard at Bendigo, the wine is made by Rudi Bauer. 14.5% alc. $35.99. 12Nov2008.
Montana T Terraces Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Lovely deep pinky purple colour. Cosy inviting fragrant pinot scents and savoury, spicy, dense, chocolatey flavours. Deep and complex, rich and creamy with harmony and balance to the smoky, earthy savouriness. Cherry and plum fruit chugs away in the background and the finish is spicy and bright. *****. 14% alc. $37.99. 29Oct2008.
Mount Dottrel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 Deep purple red. Alluring aromatics reminiscent of rose petals, smoky oak and hints of bacon. This is a deep, rich, toasty pinot with a dark, savoury character, dried herbs, dried spices - anise and cake spices - and a dried cherry and cranberry sweetness. It's mostly wild yeast ferment, which does lovely things to the texture in my opinion and has a firm, meaty tannin structure (tender meat naturally) and a chocolatey richness. Drinking beautifully at the time of tasting. 14.5% alc. $27.50. 19Nov2009.
Mt. Beautiful Cheviot Hills Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Garnet hued. Smoky and savoury on the nose and full of upfront savouriness in the palate with cherry fruit, dried herbs, earthy notes, forest floor and underlying acidity. Tannins are firm and dusty and the finish is perfumed and floral. Hard to pinpoint the region because it is Cheviot Hills, halfway between Marlborough and Waipara. 12.5% alc. $28.99. 4Mar2009.
Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Dark cherry red with a hint of garnet. Smoky and savoury on the nose with hints of dried thyme. Creamy, savoury and smoky with a lovely smooth texture from the soft silky tannins. It has a hint of game meat and a violet infusion to the spiced cherry fruit and hints of dried herbs. Quite dry on the finish then a burst of vinous sweetness as the wine lingers in the mouth. Seems a little more developed than other 2007's but nice drinking nevertheless. Bannockburn fruit. 14% alc. $44.99.4Feb2009.
Muddy Water Estate Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Burgundy hued with some bricking to the edges and a rather luscious and attractive scent of cherries and rose petals. Smooth and almost creamy on entry to the earthy savoury palate but as the wine continues its journey the fine tannins have a little grip. Spicy with lively acidity in behind imparting brightness and zest, anise, red peppercorn, smoky oak, black pudding, a suggestion of menthol and black tea. Lots going on in this plush juicy wine. 13.5% alc. $40. 10Aug2014.
Muddy Water Slow Hand Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) This deeply coloured wine is powerful on the nose with polished savoury French oak infusing the bouquet. A touch of dried rose petal adds to the allure with macerated black cherries and a hint of chocolate balancing the savouriness beautifully. Full-bodied, plush, spicy and savoury to the taste with delicious succulent fruit that is reminiscent of plums and chocolate-coated dried cherries with a well balanced mushroom-like earthiness, woody herbs, a touch of smoky bacon and a brightness to the finish with anise a highlight as the flavours linger for ages. Complex and multi-layered. A beautiful wine. 13.5% alc. $60. 10Aug2014.
Muddy Water Hare’s Breath Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Quite saturated in hue, a reflection of the vintage. With a tantalising fragrance of plum and chocolate-coated cherries, floral notes, Christmas cake spices and smoke - it seduces from the outset. Oak still noticeable in the savoury palate where a hint of chicory comes initially to mind. A meaty wine, a spicy wine, a mushroomy wine with star anise, thyme-like herbs and dried rose petals. Not really fruity in the primary fruit sense but the vinosity and succulence speaks at great volume. Deep, rich, complex and sensual with smooth velvety tannins and brightness to the long savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $60. 10Aug2014.
Nautilus Four Barriques Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (c) Deep colour but showing some bricking to the hue. Wonderfully deep, sensuous, concentrated scent brimming with cherries, violets, delicate spice and subtle earthy notes - just divine. Such finesse in the palate - the texture is silky and fine but there is an opulent velvet / suede exterior too. Fruit is more in the red spectrum, the oak is integrated and savoury, and there is an exciting salty nuance too. I just love this wine. 14% alc. $60.00. 1Nov2013.
Nautilus Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A ripe smelling style with a chocolatey scent and a dried herb overlay. That chocolatiness carries through to the succulent palate that has a creamy oak backbone. Seems to be a little disintegrated at this time but that will settle because all the pointers are there for a very good wine and there are some nice herbal savoury connotations too. There's underlying acidity that promotes the peacock's tail flare. Mocha too. At this stage of its life, simply excellent with a mushroom and fuillet of lamb. $40.00. 14% alc. 15May2009.
Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Rich, ripe fruit and sweet oak and chocolate aromas that carry through to the palate - a massive wine with firm tannins and delicious winey concentration. I can't remember a more forward and voluptuous young Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir than this. Next day: Earthily aroma. Big tannins. Intense fruit concentration. Profoundly juicy. Vanilla black cherry and all the savoury brouhaha. Very balanced and approachable already. 14% alc. $49.00. 31May2009.
Neudorf Tom’s Block Nelson Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Dark garnet with a fading edge. Smoky, savoury and spicy on the nose and quite sweet in the palate with the abundant cherry and strawberry fruit. Medium-bodied in style, it has a spicy backbone with a silky smooth texture and a savoury finish. 14% alc. $33.99.4Feb2009.
Olssens Jackson Barry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Purple-hued, deep youthful pinot colour, this smells powerfully rich and opulent with a smoky savoury overtone, a firm yet svelte tannin structure, plenty of fruit cake spices, purple fruit and a powerfully creamy and velvety textured finish. A wine that screams youth at this stage, but this label has a track record for evolving additional complexity with age. *****. $42. 5Sep2008.
Opawa Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Moderately deep purple garnet coloured. Smoky and savoury with morello cherry scents and hints of creamy oak, it is silky textured and rather succulent to the taste. A chocolatey richness balances the initial herbal savoury attack with both morello and fruit cake cherries and cranberries adding a tart sweetness. There’s a hint of marmite yeastiness and the rounded finish is aromatically spicy and long. Delicious and approachable already but all the indications are that it will drink beautifully the next 3-4 years. 14% alc. $28.95. 8May2008.
Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Bright youthful ruby with deep black flashes. Perfumed and floral with dried herb, smoke and briar rose. Juicy palate, quite floral and full of chocolate and cherry - for Pegasus Bay, this full-bodied style seems immensely approachable already - a testament of the super 2007 vintage. Mouthfilling and long with beautifully balanced fruit, spice, earth and an underlying smoky bacon savouriness. 14.5% alc. $52.99. 8Jul2009.
Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep dark red, very dense and almost opaque with ruby garnet and crimson tints to the edges, this big, bold perfumed pinot is full of ripe black cherry scents with a hint of musk, smoky oak, spice and tar and is full-bodied and ultra juicy to the taste. There's a fascinating array of flavours with the fruit beautifully balancing the earthy depth with musk, liquorice, aromatic herbs and spices adding to the allure and although there is plenty of underlying acidity at this stage of its life, it is this acidity that gives the splendid “peacock tail” flare. 13.5% alc. $37.99. 9Jul2008.
Rimu Grove Nelson Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Ruby violet in hue. On the nose there's violet, spiced tamarillo and smoky oak - a gorgeous fragrant aroma with intrinsic Pinot Noir mystique. In the mouth it's still quite tight with firm tannins, a meaty savoury undercurrent, primary bittersweet red fruits and pleasing oak interaction with those lovely violet tones coming through on the finish. A pre release sample, this shows excellent potential. 14.1% alc. $45. 28May2010.
Rippon Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (c) There's a lovely deep sensuous savouriness to the bouquet that emanates briar rose, juicy cherries, and creamy oak scents – later I give it one word – 'dreamy'. In the mouth the tannins are fine with a slightly suede edge. It tastes so earthy and savoury with dark smoky oak and a welling up of bittersweet red fruits from within. Fruit is in the lighter red spectrum – I think of macerated strawberries – and there's a creaminess and fruit sweetness to the lingering finish where the florals from the bouquet blossom now too. I love how this wine expands so deliciously in the mouth and the long dry finish lingers beguilingly. 13% alc. $54.50 5May2013.
Riverby Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deep ruby colour with vivid violet-red hues, not quite opaque. It's a big, juicy number, full of fruit and spice, with a funky, savoury overlay, herbs and floral musky notes. Medium to full-bodied with a lush aftertaste full of spice, smoky oak, hints of bacon and a touch of cherry chocolate, it is rounded, smooth and very tasty and tastes much richer than it looks. 14% alc. $29. 23Jun2008.
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Purple crimson, dense and deep. Rich and ripe from the outset with succulent sweet cherry fruit and subtle, sensual finely textured well-structured, rounded tannins. Very dry despite the opulent fruit with an earthy finish, a bright spiciness, creamy oak and just a touch of those Central Otago herbs. Let the delicious aftertaste linger in the mouth because the flavours go on and on. *****. 14% alc. $37.99. 29Oct2008.
Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep almost black red, opaque in the core of the glass, with a crimson brightness to the hue. Brightly aromatic and just a little funky with lifted florals and creamy oak. Immediately full-bodied and just a little sweet with red berry fruit over a savoury earthy backbone with hints of thyme, firm tannins and a spicy juicy finish. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 9Jul2008.
Saint Clair Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A ruby coloured, upfront, fruity pinot noir with sweet mushroom and cherry scent and juicy flavours. Medium-bodied, made for drinking not for cellaring - try it with spiced salmon kebabs - its works a treat. 13% alc. $24.95. 13Mar2008.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Some depth to the ruby garnet colour with flashes of purple adding to the youthful allure. On first opening there are sweet, fruity, spicy aromas with mushroom nuances but in the lightly creamy palate it seems a little unresolved and oaky with bright fruit, fruitcake spices, a touch of spritz, a savoury undercurrent and something reminiscent of my balsamic mint sauce. With a little time it becomes quite savoury and pinotesque, garnering more depth and complexity. Omaka Valley, 100% Clone 10/5. 13.5% alc. $32.95. 29Jul2008.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctors Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Ruby garnet in colour, deeply translucent not quite opaque. Aroma is savoury and complex with game meat nuances and in the palate it is full-bodied, creamy, rich and spicy with chocolate and cherry and a nice underpinning of stalky herbs. Complex, interesting, savoury with a 'salty' freshness like ozone while raspberry on the aftertaste adds brightness. It has a fine tannin structure and evolves beautifully as it opens up to reveal its depth of savoury pinot flavours. 13% alc. $32.95. 29Jul2008.
Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Youthful purple garnet with initially a meaty savoury aroma that does not hint at all of the abundant sweet-fruited juicy raspberry and plummy flavours. Later fruity floral scents develop too. Soft, smooth and a touch velvety with a bright lift from the underlying acidity, a touch of spice and a pleasing savouriness with something just a little reminiscent of my balsamic mint sauce that makes think it would be very good with lamb. Not overly complex, easy and carefree to drink. 13% alc. $20. 29Jul2008.
Sileni Grand Central Pinot Noir 2007 - Bendigo, Central Otago (sc) Bright coloured with a cherry, crimson glow. Very ripe bottled cherry and kirsh-like aromas with a hint of marzipan too. Purple fruit, violets, sweet oak and fruitcake nuances in the palate with a slightly earthy, mushroom character, a velvet texture and spicy, vanillin oak emerging on the savoury finish that helps to offset the sweetness. 14% alc. $22.99. (Label is being discontinued). 4Feb2009.
Soho Wine Co Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A striking pinot noir, totally packed with savoury aromatic and flavours. Perfumed with thyme flower, smoky oak and cherry - the savouriness is balanced by a juicy fruit sweetness. A yum wine, it has a savoury bite underlying the sweet varietal fruit. Bite, and acid, spicy, chocolatey oak. a velvety cloak and length and richness. Very good. 14.5% alc. $31.99. 22Aug2008.
Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deep pinky red introduces this gutsy Pinot Noir. Full of smoky oak, wild red berries, earth and hints of liquorice, it's juicy and sweet with a spicy lift and a dried herb savouriness while a touch of chocolate embellishes the plush red fruit finish. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 15Oct2008.
Te Hera Estate Pinot Noir 2007 (D) With fruit from Te Muna Road, this has good colour, a fragrant, almost maraschino nose and a ripe, juicy, easy going palate with cake spices and lovely earthy savoury notes coming through to harmonise with the distinctively regional tart red fruits. There's a touch of violet-like florals on the pretty, lingering finish and although the richness and ripeness is abetted with sweet alcohol, it is a well-balanced wine with a light touch. $35. 14.5% alc. 14Oct2008.
The Crater Rim Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deep black-cherry red, not totally opaque. Rich, ripe, generous aromas scented with smoke and savoury oak and black and red cherry fruit that follows through to the juicy palate that abounds with black cherries, plum, spice, a touch of bacon and a light touch of aromatic herbs. With plenty of warmth, supple tannins and savoury oak, it is totally drinkable and exudes quality for the price. 20Aug2008. 14% alc. $29.99.
The Ned Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Savoury on nose, sweet smelling too. Cherry and chocolate with well balanced savouriness. A full-bodied, drinkable style with rich, sweet oak (100% French) and a savoury herbal undercurrent - just lacks the pinosity of some of the best wines. 14% alc. $25.99. 22Aug2008.
THE Terrace Heights Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Purple-flushed, almost black in colour. Rich, savoury, berry scents with an earthy, leathery overtone and concentrated plum, cherry and cake spice flavours with an underlying savouriness and chocolatey oak. A gutsy, bold style with a fine tannin structure and a long, juicy finish. 13.5% alc. $34.99. 8Oct2008.
Trinity Hill High Country Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A rich, deep coloured wine, quite intense for the variety, reflective of the excellent vintage. Rich cherry notes with vanilla and mulled wine spice scents; the flavour is deep, earthy and savoury with a lush cherry sweetness, mulled wine spices and a chocolatey richness to the meaty finish. Lovely drinking - a crowd pleaser. From inland Hawkes Bay sites and aged for 10 months in French oak barriques. 14% alc. $39.00. 13Oct2009.
Triplebank Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2007 - Marlborough (sc) Bright pinky-red with reasonable density to the colour, this screams sweet and savoury. There's upfront fruitiness yet it is rich and savoury, vibrantly spicy and varietal earthy with a touch of game, juicy fruit and a smoky finish, this is a luscious style for pinot. A very good precursor for promise of the vintage. 13% alc. $19.99. 6Feb2008.
Vidal Reserve Stopbank Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Light garnet red. Beautifully attractive aroma – sweetish, savoury and floral. Fine smooth, silky texture, Burgundian-like savoury backbone, lovely bittersweet red fruit nuances coming through and then, as the flavours linger, nuances of chocolate too. Seduces in the nicest possible way. One of the most outstanding Hawkes Bay pinot noirs, ever! 14% alc. $29.99. 27Aug2011.
Vidal Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep ruby garnet. Savoury on the nose with deep black cherry, a nuance of chocolate and biscuity spices and earthy savoury flavours with a silky texture, anise and cake spices, black cherries and fruits of the forest. A beautifully balanced wine, on the medium side of full-bodied with a gentle attack, a spicy brightness and an infusion of violet chocolate lingering on the creamy finish. 14% alc. $19.99, 14Oct2009.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Vibrant, cherry, Christmas spice and smoky oak aromas. Abundance of juicy bittersweet fruit that melds to the savoury backbone. Juicy, savoury palate, sweet cherry fruit, smoky herbs, savoury oak, spice and tar. A rich, mouthfilling wine with plenty of gutsy flavour. 13.5% alc. $21. 30Dec2008.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deeper denser colour, dark in the core and pink ruby on the edge. Smoky bacon, dark savoury fruit and visceral complexities to the bouquet. Complex and full-bodied to the taste with a gentle presence from the fine tannin structure. A sensual, sexual Pinot Noir on every level - that bright spiciness and underlying acidity results in the flourish of the peacock's tail. 11 months in French oak.14% alc. $49.99. 20May2009.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep in hue and considerably youthful in appearance. Gorgeous aroma of violets, cherries, chocolate and spice with a savoury, vanillin oak veneer. A truly remarkable wine showing the silkiness and harmoniousness that comes with a little age. Dark fruits, savoury oak and mushroom characters combine seamlessly and the finish lingers with a spicy edge. 14% alc. $53. 16Aug2011.
Waimea Estate Nelson Barrel Selection Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deep dense tamarillo red, this offers dark oak and chocolate-infused aromas and rich generous flavours. The texture is velvety, almost creamy, with a pleasing textural grip - the fruit is bittersweet and the wine has a savoury richness with classic, earthy, mushroom undertones. A touch of strawberry emerges on the finish. It was just a little sweet with the lamb back strap - or perhaps the lamb was 'too gamey' for the wine. However it was excellent with the mushrooms. 14.5% alc. $21.50. 31Mar2009.
Waimea Nelson Bolitho SV Nelson Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) The deepest, darkest of the four, this is a richly scented wine with maraschino cherry over smoky sweet oak on the nose - it's quite brooding at first yet opens up well with time in the glass. Quite sweet on entry to the palate - plummy and spicy with Pinot Noir's bittersweet fruit coming forth, saying, "I am Pinot Noir," as if to restate the obvious. A big wine, quite grippy and meaty with savoury herbal nuances, chocolate, leather and charry oak with ripe cherry and plum fruit on the longer savoury finish. 4 stars on its own. 5 stars with the food as this signature wine was simply outstanding with this lam back strapes, tahi basil mushrooms, thai basil potato dauphinous, sliced carrots in butter. 14.5% alc. $29.90. 31Mar2009.
Waipara Hills Southern Cross Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Vivaciously coloured nearing opaque in the core of the glass. Bright fruit joins savoury notes on the nose and it's even brighter in palate where the lifted red fruits and upfront spiciness meld into creamy oak. Beautifully focussed fruit - raspberry, cherry and fruits of forest on a sensual chocolatey backbone with a gamey, savoury aftertaste. It delivers much more than expected for the price. *****. 14% alc. $25.99. 29Oct2008.
Waitiri Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Rich dark red. Perfumed, funky and savoury with an intriguing pinot sensuality to the scent. A big wine - rich, mouthfilling and succulent with juicy black cherry, plum and blackberry fruit, succulent velvety tannins, a characteristic savouriness and a bright, spice-infused dark smoky oak finish. Still brooding in some respects but the bright fruit profile makes it delicious now. *****. 14% alc. $42.99. 29Oct2008.
West Brook Blue Ridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Deep translucent Burgundy red colour, bright and youthful hued. Luscious chocolate and cherry scents moderated by a lovely savoury accent. Generously flavoured with a warm cosy alcohol wrap, bittersweet red fruit, spicy oak, grainy tannins and underlying acidity to keep the wine focussed. There's a tingle to the lingering aftertaste with chocolate and cherry winning on the day. Very appealing. *****. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 29Oct2008.
Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Black-red velvet in colour, this has bright, lifted aromatics with anise-like spices and dried Central Otago herbs that carry through to the full-bodied, succulent, sensual palate. Red and black fruits, Christmas cake, liquorice, savoury oak and chocolate-covered violets add to the delicious experience with smooth silky tannins adding a caressing comforting mouthfeel. *****. 14% alc. $34.99. 29Oct2008.
Wild South Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Generous from the outset, it smells smoky and savoury with a ripe cherry overlay to the almost floral scent. Juicy and spicy to the taste with spiced cherries, there's a mid-palate hint of tart red fruit - poached tamarillo perhaps - and it softens on the earthy, mushroomy finish with a flourish of raspberry underpinning the savoury oak. Nuances of chocolate emerge with time. Quite earthy and dark with a touch of grip to the tannins - I enjoyed this wine. 17/20. 13.5% alc. $29. 14Aug2008.
Wild Rock Cupids Arrow Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Tamarillo red. Intensely aromatic and brightly scented with hints of thyme, savoury oak and a touch of chocolate too. A fine textured pinot, medium-bodied in style yet with vinous concentration, it's full of bottled cherry fruit with just a little spice and a sweet touch to the savoury finish. Impressive at the price point. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 22Jul2009.
Winegrowers of Ara Resolute Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Translucent ruby/garnet. Concentrated cherry and Christmas cake spics on he nose. Smoky and savoury to the taste with silky tannins and cherry fruit brimming forth on the finish. There's a lovely sensual earthiness to the wine – now with three years of age and developing nicely. 13.2% alc. $49.00. 5Nov2010.
Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) Bright purple red, youthful. Rich and savoury smelling with a hint of beef tea, this is a big, fleshy wine in the palate with grunty tannins, red fruit, smoke, herbs, a touch of spice and a long savoury aftertaste where the oak that was playing a subtle role until now, becomes rather present and fixating. However, it's a young wine and the oak will settle with time. ****1/2. 14.5% alc. 5Sep2008.
Wooing Tree Beetle Juice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (sc) A deep translucent Burgundy red, light in colour and medium-bodied in flavour compared to the other Central Otago wines. Quite savoury and herbal with a zesty tang, raspberry and strawberry fruit, cake spices and wood smoke becoming quite earthy on the finish. Nice on its own but pales a little in the company at this tasting. ***1/2. 14% alc. $25.99. 29Oct2008.
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