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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
2010 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 20 Feb 2015

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
[2013/2012/2011] [2010] [2009] [2008] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2010 Vintage [top] [index]

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dense purple red with a powerful aroma of plums, spice and leather. The wine coats the mouth with its firm velvet tannins and seduces with chocolate and black cherry flavours balanced by an underlying savoury richness, spiced mushrooms and thyme. A little reminiscent of the fabulous 2002. Exciting! 14% alc. $32.99. 3Aug2011.
Dark ruby/black red with considerable density. Perfumed, a little floral and spicy and savoury tasting witha hint of strawberry and black cherry, a Shrewsbury biscuit creaminess and a lovely musky floral lift. Rich and deep with hints of anise, a touch of chocolate and a nice grip to the velvety tannins. 14% alc. $39.95. 16Aug2011.

Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) It's deep in colour for four-year-old Pinot but reflective of the vintage that year. Wood smoke and bacon on the nose, and a bright, spicy presence in the palate with a texture that has grip and presence yet still the softness and plushness that is one of Pinot Noir's desirable traits. It's plummy, spicy and savoury with mouthfilling length and the peacock tail's flare. A fabulous wine from a terrific vintage, drinking beautifully, and still seems quite youthful for its age. 14% alc. $39.99. 5Mar2014.

Bald Hills 3 Acres Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep ruby red. Quite savoury smelling with an infusion of bright red fruits. Seems a reasonably upfront, easy, and approachable wine. Floral with red fruits, a touch of spice, supple tannins. Just falls a little short at the end 14% alc. $30.00. 29Jun2012.

Bald Hills Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) This deep hued pinot smells profoundly savoury and the taste continues that theme. With plums, black cherries, hints of cranberries, sweet herbs, savoury oak and a dry finish this firm structured, deep meaty wine is still quite tight and needs a little more to unfold. That said, with the right food at a dinner party, eg a rare backstrap of venison, it will go down a treat. 14% alc. $48.99. 30Jan2013.
Deep ruby with intensity and depth. Beguiling fragrance of sweet, ripe, concentrated cherry fruit with a polished sliver of savoury oak and the appeal of the bouquet carries through to the velvety palate that firms up on the finish with a crushed velvet grip. The red fruits shine through the concentrated savoury backbone with a touch of chocolate and anise. I thought this was beautiful, but then I tasted the 2009 and realised this needs just a little more time. 14% alc. $46. 21Jun2013.

Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep purple cerise in hue, beguilingly fragrant aromatics of wild thyme, spiced plum, creamy oak, smoky, tobacco, red and black cherries. Fine, silky and harmonious in the palate with a lovely marriage of red fruits, chocolate, sweet spice and beautifully balanced savoury oak. Still young with an exciting underlying freshness that brings brightness and florals to the finish. 14.3% alc. $48.99. 3Oct2012.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Enticing rich deep almost black red colour, this is an opulent, succulent, luscious style with a sensuous velvety texture and spicy savouriness to the deep, rich flavour. It has a beautiful balance of fruit and oak and winemaking prowess, and mouthfilling length. 14.3% alc. $25.99. 21Nov2012.

Brancott Estate T Terraces Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark ruby (slightly purple) red. Aromas of smoky creamy oak, vanilla, chocolate and black cherry and in the palate silk-edged velvety tannins with a lovely deep fruitiness and a savoury gamey disposition. Firm structure nevertheless with vanilla and spice and a touch of strawberry chocolate adding a succulent coating to the deep savoury end. Very easy to enjoy. 13.5% alc. $? 16Aug2011.

Burnt Spur Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010(sc) Dark rubyish, black cherry hue, moderately dense. Lovely savoury, smoky, plum and cherry scent and succulent spicy flavours with that distinct strawberry guava yin/yang. Sweet and savoury with a velvety texture and a lovely long succulent and sumptuous finish. 14% alc. $46. 16Aug2011.

Burn Cottage Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (c) Intense black cherry red. Initially the nose seems a little jammy but it also has a deep earthy sense with woody notes coming through. The oak is forward in the palate. A massive wine with a forceful presence and an underlying acid spine. Full of black cherries, blackberries, sweet oak, spice and leather, moderately grippy for the variety, but it seduces with a touch of chocolate on the finish. 13.7% alc. $60.00. 1Nov2013.

Carrick Unravelled Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A deep rich, luxurious, velvety purple-red colour and the bouquet is so tantalising, it's smoky with a deep-seated sensuous savouriness, and the taste is full of those exotic, mulled wine, anise-like spices with red and black cherries, dried herbs, chocolate and a velvety plushness. Fantastic value at the under-$25 price. 5 stars and No, 7 in the Cuisine Top 10. 14% alc. $24.99. 24Oct2012.

Church Road Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) From the Bendigo area, this is dark red coloured and fragrantly aromatic with ripe, fruity succulent flavours that are more in the classical red fruit spectrum – strawberries, cranberries, morello cherries with a bright spiciness coming through. The tannins are firm and velvety and there's a creamy feel to the finish where the lingering aftertaste resonates chocolates and rose hips. Church Road – who woulda thought! 14% alc. $27.99. 10Jul2013.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) This dark Burgundy red-coloured beauty has an alluring savoury scent that’s embossed with bittersweet cherry and fruits of the forest chocolate, then in the mouth it is texturally sublime. A savoury wine with well balanced fruit in the background, an intriguing spicy undercurrent and youthful grip to the satin finish. Matched to chicken thigh stuffed with mushroom and wrapped in bacon flavours that work well with this wine. 14.3% alc. $45. 15Dec2012.

Cloudy Bay Te Wahi Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Intense black cherry red. Deep rich, succulent and savoury with hints of mocha and leather. It tastes dry, concentrated, spicy and intense, building in palate presence with abundant savoury, gamey notes, plenty of oak and woody herbs making an appearance and the texture is very silky and fine. 13.5% alc. $80.00. 1Nov2013.

Coopers Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Ruby, translucent. Perfumed and musky. An elegant style with silky tannins, and richness of juicy black cherry fruit, a savoury undercurrent and a long fine textured finish. 13.5% alc. 16Aug2011.
Ruby purple-garnet, clear and bright. Aromas of musk and earth, and fine-textured flavours with a herbal edge before black cherry fruit fleshes out the palate. The finish is full with a spicy flourish and excellent length. 14% alc. $14.99. 19Oct2011.

Coopers Creek SV Razorback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) This tastes savoury and spicy with an intriguing funk to the scent and brightness to the ripe fruit flavours of dried redcurrants, blueberries and perhaps spiced cherries It has a firm nap to the velvety texture and exciting hints of anise. Excellent for the price, it begs to be accompanied with spiced duck. 14% alc. $20.99. 6Mar2013.

Crowded House Nelson/Marlborough/Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep-hued purple garnet with a rich creamy succulent cherry and chocolate aroma and a bright-fruited layer to the earthy savoury flavours, chocolate, cherry, citrus and fruits of the forest combine in the best possible way and while the tannins are firm, the savoury finish is succulent, spicy and long. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 31Aug2011.

Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (c) With a generous, ripe, sweet-fruited bouquet infused with orange pomander, the generosity continues into the succulent, silky smooth palate of this bright Burgundy-hued wine. Plums, juicy black cherries, mulled wine spices and vanillin oak are in harmony, there's a savoury gamey undercurrent and youthful freshness gives lovely lift to the end. A charming wine with wide appeal. I love it. ‘Nuf said! 14% alc. $48.99. 30Jan2013.

Fairmont Estate Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep ruby in colour with purple flashes. The rich powerful aroma is savoury, spicy and deep. The palate is filled with succulent red fruit and savoury French oak with the quintessential bittersweet thing going on. The texture is velvety texture and this finish is ripe fruited, full bodied and long. 14.5% alc. 16Aug2011.
Deep purple-tinged ruby, almost opaque, this is a rich, powerful expression with intensity to the aroma and a deep savoury flavour with spicy oak, bittersweet cherry and a touch of strawberry. The texture is fine and velvety and the firm full-bodied finish is juicy and ripe. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 31Aug2011.
Dense cherry red in hue, perfumed and floral, yet savoury too – the bouquet is intriguing and complex with perhaps a hint of chocolate cherry coming through. Spicy, gamey and savoury, almost peppery to the taste with brightness to the red fruits, a fine citrussy nuance and a texture that has a silky finesse. 14.5% alc. $21.99. 26Oct2011.
Almost black red in colour, this has a lovely juicy red fruit, rose hip and subtle musky bouquet and spicy, savoury flavours with a smoky character that's reminiscent of bacon. A succulent powerful Pinot with a silk-edged velvety tannin structure, juicy bittersweet red fruit and a long savoury finish, this is outstanding for the price and very drinkable. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 11Jul2012.
A fine-textured black red colour with a ripe red fruit and creamy oak bouquet, this is spicy and savoury tasting with a smooth creamy texture and an earthy complexity. It's succulent, juicy, savoury and gamey and certainly delivers for the price. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 24Oct2012.

Fairmont Block One Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Violet red in hue with a lovely deep, gamey scent with black cherry adding to its allure, it's juicy tasting with fine silky tannins, tamarillo and strawberry fruit and sensuous smoky bacon lingering on the finish. Great value for the special price. 4½ stars Cuisine. 14.5% alc. $19.99. 7Nov2012.
This is just lovely. It's a dark berry red colour and the aroma radiates opulence and savouriness. It tastes spicy and juicy with spiced cherry and plum fruit, and hints of mushroom and game. It's a plush velvety wine with a curvaceous richness, just the right amount of grip and a fantastically long lifted finish. It has so much going for it that many thought it the pinot of the night … so far. It has developed magnificently since last tasting. 14.5% alc. $19.99. 6Nov2013.

Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Ruby/purple with moderate density. The ripe, spicy bouquet is perfumed with cherries and hints of chocolate and a savoury finesse. The savouriness on the nose carries through to the fine-tannined, seamless palate. Not particularly fruity – just lovely varietal earth, game and forest floor. Harmonious with beautiful flow but begging to be accompanied with rack of lamb. 14% alc. $57.99. 26Oct2011.

Felton Road Calvert Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Purple/boysenberry hued with a very refined bouquet that emanates forest floor, wild strawberry, orange pomander and Christmas spice. Ripe and juicy to the taste with fine textured silky tannins, fruits of the forest, spice and just a touch of thyme. While the oak is reasonably forward the underlying fruit sweetness lingers beautifully and underlying acidity gives the peacock tail's flare. 13.5% alc. $68.99. 30Nov2011.

Forrest Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep ruby garnet. Seem fairly ripe on the nose but some funky game meat nuances too. Quite dry and savoury at first in the palate with juicy black cherry fruit and pillowy tannins, fleshing out nicely to a medium-bodied finish. There's a touch of cake/mulled wine spices, hints of anise and a musky/floral nuance to the impressive finish. 14% alc. $25.00. 17May2012.

Gibbston Valley China Terrace Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark cherry red with reasonable concentration to the hue. Initially it seems more savoury than fruity and there is a suggestion of a mellow edge (after the vibrant 2011), but the wine expands so beautifully in the mouth and on the lasting aftertaste. It has a lovely warm generosity, a touch of chocolate maybe and dark red fruit jellies, but it is the forest floor connotations and fine velvet-coated smooth tannins that are the standout features of this very smart wine. 13.5% alc. $61.99. 22Aug2012.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Ruby garnet coloured with a moderately intense smoky, savoury aroma, it tastes of juicy black cherries, dried herbs and cakes spices. The tannins are smooth and velvety and the long finish is spicy and tangy. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 21Dec2011.
Translucent burgundy/dark ruby red. Quite smoky with bittersweet cherry and herbs filling out the bouquet. A medium-bodied, fine textured wine with juicy guava and cranberry fruit, smoky savoury nuances, rosemary and tarragon in the background and a touch of acidity giving the oft-talked about 'peacock tail' flare. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 11 Apr2012.

Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A deep ruby-hued wine with purple glints in the glass. The bouquet is fruit yet savoury with the intrinsic earthiness and spiciness of Pinot Noir. A medium to full-bodied savoury wine that seems firm and linear to start then grabs the attention with its concentrated, sweet-fruited flavours. There's an evocative anise-like herbaceousness, mulled wine spices and a hint of tamarillo comes to mind with a lovely flourish of brightness - the peacock's tail flare on the end. 13% alc. $30.00. 28Jun2012.
Bright ruby hued, full-bodied fragrant, creamy and oaky with an intrinsic earthy savouriness and concentrated cherry and tamarillo-like fruit. There's a spicy undercurrent, a suggestion of woody herbs and a lovely lift of citrus zest on the long, harmonious finish. Classy wine. 13.9% alc. $29.99. 10Oct2012.
A deep pinky-red black, concentrated, intense. Finely honed, sensuous, savoury bouquet with the richness of concentrated spiced cherry fruit. An exciting savoury and exotically spicy taste with dried roses and the crispy outside bits of roast meat, lovely fine tannin structure that makes it so silky and seamless in the palate. A charmer.13.9% alc. 24Oct2012.

Hawkdun Rise Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) This dark red coloured wine has a very smooth fine silky texture but it hints of a little age. Earthy, smoky and savoury with great vinous depth, it's meaty rather than fruity at first then red fruit emerges on the finish and a touch of dried rose too. Builds to a harmonious fleshy finish with great length. Alexandra fruit. 12.9% alc. $39. 10Jul2013.

Hawkshead Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep dark red. The fruit on the bouquet of this wine is dark and plummy with a hint of smoke and chocolate too. The tannins are firm and provided a structural framework for the plum, redcurrant and morello cherry fruit. Seems quite oaky and there's what the much desired the 'peacock's tail flare' to the spicy savoury finish. A big wine, I'd like to see the oak integrate just a little more at this youthful stage of its life. There is no doubt it is a keeper. 14% alc. $45. 21Jun2013.

Hawkshead Gibbston First Vines Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep ruby. Lovely ripe, rich, sweet, vanillin-layered, spicy scent. Full-bodied and chocolatey - a lovely wine with delicious red fruit, a well balanced savoury backbone and a bright finish. Everything you expect in Central Otago Pinot Noir is there. A tight wine in many respects with a long life ahead of it 13% alc. $45.00. 29Jun2012.

Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Almost a blackberry red – vibrant and deep. Big, rich, creamy and tasty with lashing of juicy black cherries on the nose. Bold in the palate too with a zingy brightness and a spicy flourish. There wines screams out purples and there's a touch of liquorice on the deliciously savoury finish where French oak flavours linger. All the while the tannins are plush and velvety. A harmonious wine and pretty hard not to like, and terrific with slow cook lamb shanks. 14% alc. $35.95. 22Jun2013.

Jules Taylor Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Fruit cake cherries and strawberries abound in this deep coloured, silky succulent wine with a savoury gamey undercurrent and a smoky French oak nuance. There's a little grip to the tea-like tannins and the finish is succulent. A blend from the Awatere and Brancott Valley. 14% alc. $36. 16Aug2011.

Julicher Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Black cherry red. Evocative smoky oak and cherry guavas fill the bouquet then in the silky textured palate the oak has a tantalising spiciness with lovely anise-like tones, cinnamon and cloves. Fruit is in the dark cherry spectrum with the bittersweet tang of red guavas and there's a well balanced savouriness with subtle hints of mushroom and game. Rated as excellent, this is a mouthfilling and enticing wine that has textural finesse and outstanding length. 13.5% alc. $42. 13Jun2013.

Julicher Martinborough 99 Rows Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Tasted alongside the premium Julicher wine, the colour is just a little denser and the aroma is similar (smoky oak and cherry guavas) but the whole impression is more lifted. Rich, ripe and juicy to the taste with a silky texture, there's touch of red fruit joining the more predominant black cherry, a tantalising oak regime (like the Julicher), a bright savouriness and lovely spicy richness. You get much of what you get in the premium wine but for about $12 less. 14% alc. $29.95. 13Jun2013.
Translucent ruby garnet in hue. Savoury on the nose, quite distinctly pinot in the palate with refined silky tannins, strawberry and cherry fruit, underlying woody herbs, earthy mushroom notes, cake spices and a bright zesty flare to the long lasting 'fruit sweet' finish. Maturing beautifully but still on an uphill ascent. 14% alc. $24.99 .30Apr2014.

Kim Crawford Regional Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark garnet, ruby. Fruity smelling with strawberry, cherry and a hint of chocolate and finely textured with a well-balanced smoky savoury undercurrent, finishing succulent and clean with a zing of acidity. 14% alc. $25. 16Aug2011.

Kiritea Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Lightest Burgundy red, it's earthy and savoury smelling and tasting with plums, cherries, smoky oak, spice and hints of tamarillo on the finish. A soft, juicy, easy drinker with a smooth texture and finishing dry, the general comment around the room was 'very tasty'. Second label of Te Hera. 14.5% alc. $19.99. 11Jan2012.

Lowburn Ferry Home Block Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dense dark ruby red. Hints of roses and violets on the smoky vanillin nose. A succulent savoury wine with earth, smoke, tar and leather and a firm velvety tannin backbone, black cherries, cake spices and a hint of black pepper. A powerful wine with excellent potential for the cellar. 13.5% alc. $45.95. 16Aug2011.
Deep ruby, dense in appearance and almost black in the core. Intensely aromatic, quite oaky, although the oak is balanced to the sweet dark fruit with woody herbs in the background. It tastes deep and savoury with plush velvety tannins, opulence of fruit, a flourish of spicy oak, and a gamey, savoury herbal undercurrent. A big wine in the realm of Pinot Noir. 13.5% alc. $45.95. 29Jan2012.

Lowburn Ferry The Ferryman Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) The nose is so evocative – fragrant, floral, rich and meaty with nuances of dried cherries adding to its allure. Quite dry and spicy tasting with a little bit of earthy grip, it is an excellent food match with lamb cutlets, kumara mash, roasted garlic, herb stuffing on side and peas. 13.5% alc. $85.00. 31Dec2014.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Purple red - quite deep in hue. While initially restrained on the nose - later cherries and mushrooms, this is in incredibly fragrant tasting wine – all juicy red fruits and violets under pinned with plush pillowy tannins, a sexy savouriness, woody herbs and leathery notes with a soft vanillin oak layer to the succulent finish where a tantalising touch of anise comes through. Almost too drinkable on a wet wintry night. 14% alc. $24.95. 20Jun2013.

Milcrest Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Transparent ruby in hue. Perfumed, a little musky and floral with soft bittersweet cherries. A fragrant, medium-bodied Pinot Noir with a lovely cake spice complexity, fine silky tannins, strawberry, cherry, tamarillo, dried woody herbs and a lingering finish with those musky nuances coming forth again on the end. 14% alc. $27. 16Aug2011.
Translucent garnet ruby in hue with a perfumed, savoury, smoky aroma and a medium-bodied impression to the palate. It has some grip to the silky-textured tannins with a juicy red fruit sweetness, a hint of cake spice, dried woody herbs and finishes dry. An 'elegant' style. 14% alc. $26.99. 14Sep2011.
Moderate black cherry red with a lovely rich bouquet of cherry, plum and cake spice, the richness following through to the medium to full palate where there are flavours of chocolate, aniseed (tarragon) and spiced berries with fine silky tannins and a lasting lively finish. Lovely take on the expression of the grape. 14% alc. $26.99. 21Mar2012.

Momo Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A light coloured pinot, red garnet in hue. A dry style, there's some lovely thyme and rosemary nuances to complement the gamey savoury flavours with a touch of cherry coming through. Light to medium bodied with a long and expansive finish and some plummy notes as it lingers. 14% alc. $26.95. 17May2012.

Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) This intense black cherry coloured wine has a beguiling perfume of wild thyme, fruits of the forest and cherry. Concentrated and powerful in it’s youth, the taste is spicy with underlying acidity adding zest to the blackcurrant and bittersweet cherry fruit. A structured wine with firm tannins yet to resolve, but they will and lingering, it has a savoury depth and lingering flavours of mocha, cherry and red berries. 14.5% alc. $37.99. 20Jul2011.
Youthful purple/garnet. Beautifully perfumed with florals, aromatic herbs and meaty oak, yet with refinement and elegance to the scent. In the palate the tannins are silky smooth and fine with concentrated black cherry, hints of chocolate and anise. Seems very easy yet it has structure and power, the finish goes on and on, and it could go in the cellar for a while. 14.5% alc. $37.99. 26Oct2011.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep purple red / ruby garnet in hue, this is dry, earthy and gamey but there's a juicy New World succulence pervading the savoury, almost Burgundian, nature of this wine. Savoury yet fleshy, with black cherry, smoky bacon, forest floor and firm tannins - not a fruit bomb in any way. 14% alc. $25.99. 15Feb2012.

Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Translucent light ruby coloured. Nuts and Christmas cake cherries on the nose, juicy red fruit in the medium-bodied palate with cake spices, a fine tannin structure and an earthy undercurrent. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 15Aug2012.

Mud House Estate Golden Terraces Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep bright red. Brooding savoury, earthy scent with woody herbs - I smell thyme and rosemary - and dark fruits. Quite silky in the palate, which is meaty and savoury with lovely dark fruit pushing through. Benefits from a day in the bottle. 13.5% alc. $30.00. 28Jun2012.
A dark red with a black hue to the core, there's an intriguing sweetness to the smoky, savoury bouquet and a delicious, juicy, fruity succulence to the taste. It's creamy with a sensuous smoothness, a subtle smokiness, and exciting spiciness and a long-lasting savoury finish. Bendigo fruit. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 24Oct2012.

Osawa Wines Prestige Collection Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2010 (c) The colour of black cherry juice, not quite opaque, the aromas radiate savoury oak with sweet / savoury nuances and the fragrance of violets and cherries. A lovely, ripe, rich, juicy tasting wine with beautifully balanced spicy savoury oak, classic pinot earthiness, concentrated Black Forrest cherry fruit and silky tannins. Harmonious and mouthfilling without losing its varietal expression and an enthralling aromatic end. Everything I like in Pinot Noir – except for the cork 14% alc. $45.99. 4Sep2012.

Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A deeply translucent black cherry red, the wine has a lovely smoky savoury aroma with spicy accents. Rich and sweet-fruited with a cherry guava or crab-apple jelly intrigue and a spicy, earthy, savoury undercurrent, it's beautifully balanced and harmonious with a cosy velvety texture and a kick of acidity on the end. Still evolving, it has a fantastically long finish. Outstanding value. 14% alc. $22.99. 16Nov2011.
Dark ruby, bright and intense. Savoury with smoked mushroom and wood smoke on the nose, this is a bright spicy wine with a fresh, lively aura. Intrinsically pinot with its earthy depth and infusion of woody herbs and dark lingering finish, it's a big wine with some grip, a flourish of anise and the peacock's tail flare to the finish. 14% alc. $24.00. 4Sep2012.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Bright ruby-hued purple with a deep savoury aroma that has a cooked cherry fruitiness, earth and plums. Firmly structured with more tannin than you probably expect from the region, this earthy savoury wine opens up nicely in the glass to reveal deep flavours of black cherries, Portobello mushrooms, dried thyme and hints of anise. 13.5% alc.$36.99. 10Aug2011.
Youthful purple/ruby with a concentrated savoury aroma of spiced plums and cedar, and an intensely savoury palate and very, very dry. With Black Boy peaches, spice, smoky oak and cedar, this shows potential to age just needs some time. 13.5% alc. $42.99. 30Nov2011.

Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) This simply seduces with its rabbit fur softness, bright juicy fruit and quintessential Pinot savouriness with a lovely touch of chocolate and fruitcake spice coming through. Pretty much an easy drinker in fact, perhaps too easy and despite the gimmicky name, this is Pinot Noir that pushes way above its price point - it is comparable to wines that cost $10 more. 13.5% alc. $25.00. 21May2012.

Richmond Plains Nelson Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Clear light ruby hue. Sweet ripe cherry bouquet with an intriguing savoury back note. This is a lovely savoury wine, very appealing right from the get-go. Lovely balance of earthy notes infused with spice, ripe berries and smoky oak. Full-bodied, spicy and long. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 4Sep2012.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark ruby purple. Perfumed with a hint of spiced tamarillo to the scent. Spicy and savoury, lots of appeal here with the smooth creamy texture supported by fine velvety tannins, lovely bright fruit and a deliciously long lingering finish with hints of tarragon and anise. 14% alc. $45. 16Aug2011.
This is a glorious wine that gets better every time I taste it. Dark ruby red, perfumed, meaty, spicy and savoury with thyme and tarragon and perfectly poised underlying acidity that gives that much searched for peacock's tail end. A beautiful wine with a gorgeous flow, the fruit sits in harmony with the structure and the fine silky texture is striking. 14% alc. $37.99. 16Nov2011.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep dark ruby with a purplish edge. A bouquet of spiced plum and dried roses and juicy, savoury flavour with bits of smoky bacon, dried herb and mushroom adding complexity. Firm yet creamy textured with plenty of bright fruit character. Strawberry, cherry and a touch of bitter chocolate on the ripe-fruited end. 14.5% alc. $32. 16Aug2011.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 15 Strip Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010(sc) A deep ruby colour, this is rich, ripe and juicy smelling with black forest chocolate cake, loads of cherry and a touch of mocha. It’s ripe, almost beefy in the palate, with a full-bodied luscious mouthfeel and underlying savouriness intrinsic to the variety providing harmony and balance. Easy to like. A reasonably powerful wine that I found terrific with fillet steak and buttered mushrooms. 13.5% alc. $33.50. 29Mar2013.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) There are crimson flashes to the ruby purple colour. The aroma is smoky and savoury with dried herbs and bittersweet cherry and fine-textured palate is savoury in with purple fruits, hints of cherry guava, firm tannins and an underpinning of leather. Very ripe, due to the high alcohol which gives a jammy impression but the finish is earthy and long. 15.5% alc. $32. 16Aug2011.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Barn Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Similar to the Block 16 in colour, this has a lovely tamarillo and plum perfumed smoky savoury scent infused with rose petals and cherry. Spicy and savoury to the taste with a lovely seam of acidity that keeps the wine bright and clear. Purity of fruit and fine tannins make this a star. 14.5% alc. $32. 16Aug2011.

Soljans Barrique Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) It took three sips to alleviate the acid / bitter fruit character in this wine – not one for 5 o'clock sipping – it is one to have with Pinot friendly food, and we enjoyed this with coq au vin. It's meaty and savoury smelly with a musky floral allure. Dry in the palate with powdery tannins, bittersweet red fruit – morello cherries come to mind – a herbal undercurrent, hints of liquorice and violets and a warm rounded finish where the vinous sweetness comes through. Its redeems itself as the wine opens up and was better when tasted again, from the same bottle, the next day.13% alc. $29. 26Apr2013.

Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) With a deeply translucent ruby garnet colour, an attractive wild raspberry/strawberry perfume and a fine silky texture, it initially seems quite light but the wine compounds in richness and mouthfeel. There's a floral prettiness layered into the earth and the red berry fruit flavours and while not a blockbuster, it will have wide appeal. 14% alc. $16.99. 28Sep2011.

Tatty Bogler Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A wine made from blended Bendigo and Waitaki fruit, this is bigger, richer and dark fruit riper with immediately more noticeable colour and palate weight. It has a sumptuous savoury aroma and juicy black cherry and spiced plum flavours with lovely smoky savoury spicy oak, a touch of chocolate and fine tannins. A succulent wine with power and length. 14% alc. $33.99. 24Oct2012.
An inky hued Pinot, it almost looks like Syrah. Fragrant and concentrated with a firm tannin structure, it is a blockbuster in the context of tonight's trio. But it is also a seductress with its viper bugloss and wild thyme fragrance and its generous black plum, bittersweet cherry, mulled wine spice and savoury oak flavours, and the long, juicy succulent finish lasts for ages. Central Otago and Waitaki fruit. 14% alc. $33.99. 30Jan2013.
Blackberry red, concentrated and deep. Savoury aromas with a fragrant floral overlay and rich, meaty flavours. It's spicy and bright with initially a little peppery heat and the fruit is wild dusty blackberries, spiced plums and then, on the finish, black cherries. Tannins are velvety and there's a deep rich savouriness too. This massively intense Pinot Noir rendition is a label of Forrest Estate and made from Central Otago and Waitaki fruit. 14% alc. $33.99. 12Jun2013
This has a black cherry red hue and a rich plummy bouquet with underlying spicy savoury oak. Intriguingly spicy in the palate with hints of mocha joining cake spices and succulent red and black berries with a touch of bacon fat in behind. Still quite firm with incredible depth of flavour, it seems youthful for its age. 14% alc. $32.99. 29Jan2014

The Miner's Daughter Reserve North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Light Burgundy red with a morello cherry jam and woody herb aroma and dry, rustic, savoury flavours with an earthy depth then red cherry and chocolate burst through and the finish is smooth and long. Ready for drinking now as it seems a little maturer than its age would suggest. 14% alc. $16.99. 7Mar2012.

Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark, almost dense ruby purple. There's a deep earthy sense to the smoky, savoury scent. A full-bodied serious pinot that belies its price tag, it has an intriguing spiciness, thick-set plush tannins, plum and cherry fruit and a deep savoury backbone with earth, herbs and oak on the very long, dry, full-bodied finish. 14% alc. $27. 16Aug2011.

Tohu Limited Release Rore Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark ruby red with considerable intensity. Cherry chocolate and a hint of marzipan on the nose. Firm tannins, red and black fruits, spiced raspberry and some lovely bittersweet things going on. Smoky savoury gamey undercurrent and a long lingering finish, rose hip florals too. 14.5% alc. $35.00. 16Feb2011.
Dark ruby red with considerable intensity. Cherry chocolate and a hint of marzipan on the nose. Firm tannins, red and black fruits, spiced raspberry and some lovely bittersweet things going on. Smoky savoury gamey undercurrent and a long lingering finish, rose hip florals too. 14% alc. $38. 16Aug2011.
Ruby/purple with a sweet, black cherry and chocolate aroma. Quite smoky, moderately full-bodied with sweet juicy red and black fruit, velvety tannins and a raspberry chocolatey finish with a nice touch of sweet thyme coming through and rosehips on the savoury aftertaste. 14.5% alc. $38.95. 4Oct2011.

Tohu SV Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) From the Awatere Valley subregion, this generous wine has appeal from the outset. The scent is full of musky florals and cherries and the taste is smooth and ripe with the cherry theme carrying through, There’s a nice touch of cake spice and a smoky savoury background. A juicy sweet-fruited, creamy oaked, medium boded style. Recommended to accompany juicy scotch fillet steak – it makes the wine seem even juicy and delicious. 14% alc. $25.15. 21Mar2013.

Torea Oystercatcher Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Ruby/purple red. Aromas of bittersweet cherries and medium to full-bodied in palate weight with red fruits, chocolate and a smoky meaty undercurrent. Seems a little sweet but there's a balancing savoury edge. Builds in richness and complexity with time in the bottle. A value buy. 14% alc. $16.00. 4Oct2011.
After the smoky, savoury, cherry-infused scent, the flavour of this light pinky red wine is full of those intriguing bittersweet red fruit characters, delivered with a tingle of acidity to the tip of the tongue, those mossy forest floor nuances, woody herbs, a touch of musky fruit sweetness to the finish and a smooth impression throughout. Medium bodied in style and value-packed for the special price. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 25Jul2012.

Triplebank Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep plummy red with ruby/purple edges. The aroma is savoury and a little floral. Smoky and savoury tasting with an earthy depth, bittersweet tamarillo and morello cherry fruit, hints of violets, finesseful tannins and a long fine finish. This is a lovely savoury wine with a delicate dried herb and floral nuance and rich ripe red fruits. 13.5% alc. $27. 16Aug2011.

Urlar Gladstone Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep black cherry red. Immediately attractive with its lovely musky, floral, savoury, smoky scent, and in the palate it is smooth and silky, almost seamless. Although dry, the fruit is trip, juicy and sweet and wine is deliciously creamy, building to a long savoury finish. 14% alc. $35.00. 20Apr2012.

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Ruby garnet, bright in appearance. Perfumed and delicately savoury. Sweet-fruited, yet savoury with a lovely fine textured, silky veneer. Medium body, floral tones, bittersweet cherry finish. Fabulous sub-$20 pinot if you like a lighter style. 13% alc. $16.99. 3Aug2011.

Water's Edge Nelson Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Translucent garnet red. A little jammy on the nose - strawberry jam, perhaps. Light to medium bodied, juicy, smooth and easy; sweet vanillin oak, strawberry and cherry fruit, fruitcake and a little pepper on the spicy finish. A 'made up' label to fit the price point. 14% alc. $12.99. 1Aug2012.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dense ruby purple with a complex aroma of cherries, spice, woody herbs and oak, it's spicy, savoury and oaky to the taste with the thyme and earth flavours we search for in Pinot Noir and the brightness of cherry and strawberry fruit on the dry, crisp finish. Smooth and long, ready to enjoy now. 14% alc. $25.99. 14Dec2011.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A rich medium dark red in hue with flashes of crimson, the bouquet is concentrated cherry with spicy oak in the background. A muscular, savoury, earthy tasting wine with very firm tannins but the succulent rich red berry fruit imparts sweetness to the finish and balances the tingly acid spine. It reminds me of a hard youthful Burgundy with tannins that are there for the long haul. You could safely cellar this for many more years yet so decanting and aerating is recommended for the best drinking experience now. 14% alc. $38.99.18Feb2015.

Valli Bendigo Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Dark red. Quite a funky, feral, aroma – as only Pinot Noir can get away with – with mulled wine spices too, and so complex and exciting in the fine textured palate. It has all of the funky, gamey, earthy, savoury flavours with dark bittersweet fruit and finely honed oak. 5 stars and No. 4 in the Cuisine Top 10. 14% alc. $65.99. 24Oct2012.

Vidal Reserve Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Vibrant purple garnet, youthful. A lovely savoury wine with a velvety texture and succulent flavours of black cherries. A nice infusion of mulled wine spice seasoning and a touch of orange zest adds brightness to the finish and there are beguiling floral nuances too. 14% alc. $29. 16Aug2011.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Rich ruby red, this rich wine has a vanillin overlay to the scent and is smooth on entry to the palate with black cherry and juicy sun-ripened blackberry nicely underpinned by a sweet earthiness with any stalkiness. Medium to full bodied with a silky harmony all the way through. And the nose keeps changing later emitting an alluring spiciness. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 28Dec2012.
A lovely soft, well balanced, juicy, deep coloured Pinot Noir with chocolate on the nose that carries through to the palate with masses of bittersweet red and purple berries. Generously fruity but with Pinot's intrinsic and seductive savouriness, velvet silk tannins, an infusion of spices, hints of rosemary and a lingering harmonious finish with underlying freshness indicating potential to cellar for a while. Typical Villa Maria flare. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 12Apr2013.
There's a hint of tamarillo skin colour creeping into the once rich ruby hue. Inviting aromatics of spiced cherries and violets with lovely sweet savoury notes coming through. Then the palate – so spicy and bright, with underlying savoury gamey notes, mushrooms sweated with anise, woody herbs, varnishy oak and a dry, firm, fleshy plum finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 20Nov2013.
Youthful in appearance with purple hints. Sweet smoky oak and spiced cherry scents. Cherry and chocolate in the palate with fine silky tannins, woodsmoke and a touch of bacon. Looking exceptional in the glass right now, it's rounded and smooth all the way through. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 6Aug2014.

West Brook Waimauku Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Deep purple / ruby with a deep-seated savoury earthy aroma that is well-balanced with fruit sweetness. A full-bodied powerful style with succulence and intensity, firm yet sensual tannins, smoky oak, a touch of bacon, aromatic herbs, concentrated red and black fruit with nuances of musk and violets on the almost luscious finish. % alc. $29.50 9Aug2012.

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Ruby garnet. Smoky savoury aroma with some bittersweet cherry and floral notes too. In the palate there are raspberry, red cherry, a touch of chocolate, a seamlessness to the texture and a lovely floral nuance to the bright savoury finish that lingers with succulent ease. Lots of delicious juiciness here. 14% alc. $29. 16Aug2011.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) A little mellow in comparison, this deeply savoury wine seems to have the benefit of maturity and bottle age. It's dry and firm to start but fleshes out beautifully in the expressive palate and the very ripe dried cranberry (craisin) flavours become so enjoyable as the wine lingers. 14% alc. $39.99. 21Nov2012.

Yealands Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 (sc) Now we are heading to more of an overall savouriness with the much sought gaminess and beautifully poised oak in balance with the succulent bittersweet red and black fruit. Deep and thoughtful, with a exotically spicy flare to the finish, this outstanding pinot begs to be accompanied with some lamb or game. Trophy for Best Pinot Noir at the Sydney International 2013. 14% alc. $44.99. 6Mar2013.

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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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