Top 10 Pinot Noir – 2022
What's your favourite Pinot Noir? We are lucky in New Zealand that we have so many to choose from, both from the North and South island. Blessed with a cool climate, long sunshine hours during the growing season and diligent canopy management provide ideal environments for this early budding, early ripening and thin skins variety to thrive.
I have compiled a list of Top 10 Pinot Noir, which I had tasted in the last year and are still available in the market.
Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago https://www.wildearthwines.co.nz/shop
This wine represents Central Otago with fruit selected from multiple vineyards, harvested over a month from different sub-regions for optimal ripeness. A well-balanced Pinot Noir shows a dark fruit spectrum, spice and a velvety palate.
Alexia Fleeting Glimpse Pinot Noir 2020, Wairarapa https://www.alexia.co.nz/about
A relatively new brand started in 2016, Jane Cooper crafts the wine in her urban winery in Greytown and sourced grapes from her trusted grower partners Julie and Simon at Manuka Flats Vineyard, which situates on the stony silt loam river terraces of the Taratahi plains, just north of Greytown. This is an effortlessly refined beauty with a pure expression.
Nga Waka Lease Block Pinot Noir 2020, Martinborough https://ngawaka.co.nz/
Winemaker Roger Parkinson has completed 30 vintages at Nga Waka, undoubtedly one of the most consistent producers in New Zealand. 2022 was an exceptional vintage with remarkable colour, texture and depth of flavour; and the brightness in this wine is irresistible.
Neck of The Woods Bendigo Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago https://neckofthewoodswines.com/
100% Bendigo Pinot Noir crafted by Jen Parr. Usually, one would expect dark fruit, bold and ripeness from Bendigo, but this wine shows elegance and balance with enticing herbaceous, floral details and a dusty palate.
#5 & 6
Hawkshead Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago https://www.hawksheadwine.com/
The fruit for this wine is sourced from Gibbston and Alexandra, two of the sub-regions that show lifted floral and perfume. The 2022 vintage's fruit is concentrated, with savoury elements, and the silky, supple mouthfeel and lacy acidity are integrated harmoniously.
Escarpment Pinot Noir 2019, Martinborough https://escarpment.co.nz/
2019 was a challenging vintage in Martinborough, resulting in very low crops due to frost. Nonetheless, the quality and concentration of fruit had been captured with Escarpment's signature.
Black Quail Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago https://www.blackquail.co.nz/
The Black Quail vineyard is situated in Bannockburn alongside their truffiere and olive grove. Winemaker Jen Parr sums this wine up as "Captivating", and I agree.
# 2 & 3
Valli Bendigo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago https://valliwine.com/
Valli Wine is no stranger to producing outstanding Pinot Noir, focusing on four single sub-regions. The fruit for this wine was sourced from Chainman's Terrace, fermented with 58% whole bunch, aged 12 months in French oak barrels and 30% new oak. The wine has power and grace, excellently silky and fine-textured. Vintage 2020 will be available soon, so get your hands on this quickly!
Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2017, North Canterbury https://www.pegasusbay.com/collections/all
Prima Donna Pinot Noir is only produced in exceptional vintages. It's a selection of the best barrels, coming from the oldest ungrafted plantings in the vineyard. Complex, charming and seductive.
Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2019, Martinborough https://escarpment.co.nz/
The highest points awarded in this Pinot Noir lineup, and the second wine included that was produced by Escarpment. The fifteenth release of Kupe. An exceptional Pinot Noir made with 70% whole bunch, hand plunged and aged in French oak barriques for 18 months with 50% new oak under the guidance of "Price of Pinot" Larry McKenna, who is now retired after the 2022 vintage, leaving Escarpment in the capable hands of an energetic young team led by viticulturist Rowan Hoskins and winemaker Tim Bourne.Read full reviews in expansions below. Join me to taste all the Top 10 Pinot Noir in Auckland on 20 June. Tickets available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/354334031627
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2020, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 22-Oct-2021Deep, ruby-black colour, moderately full, lighter on the rim. The nose is full; savoury aromas filled the glass, thyme, earth entwined with dark cherries, black raspberries, plums, unfolding sweet spice. Medium-bodied, elegantly presented fruit aromas of cherries, black raspberries and a hint of plums, the fruit have a fresh and fragrant core, melded with dark earth, thyme, black pepper and cinnamon. The mouthfeel is velvety with fine-grained tannin extraction and a touch of creaminess; spices linger and elevate the finish. The fruit has good concentration and depth of flavour, poised and lifted, very attractive. This is a well-balanced Pinot Noir with ripe fruit, earth and spice details, depth, and weight on a velvety palate. Match with lamb rack and beef fillet over the next 5 years. Handpicked, 0-50% whole bunch, average around 18% whole clusters, fermented to 13.5% alc, time on skins ranging from 18-28 days. Aged in French oak for approx 12 months, 25% new oak, 30% 1-year-old and the balance in 2-5-year-old barriques. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Oct 2021 RRP $42
Alexia Fleeting Glimpse Pinot Noir 2020, Wairarapa Pinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 24-Mar-2022Medium crimson, youthful appearance, even colour throughout. The bouquet is softly full, poised aromas of Morello cherries, strawberries interweave hibiscus, rose, earth and spice. Medium-bodied, black and red cherries intermixed with ripe strawberries; savoury earth enriched the palate, unfolding star anise, black pepper and floral elements. Supple, dusty tannin coated the palate in silk. Lacy acidity shows liveliness and integration with the wine, buoyant in expression. This is a refined Pinot Noir with effortless youth and natural beauty. Match with lamb shabu-shabu and pulled pork over the next 3-5 years. 30% Abel clone and equal portions of 115, 667 and 5. Fermented with 25% whole bunches to 13.5% alc, aged in barrels for 14 months, 20% new. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Mar 2022 RRP $35
Nga Waka Lease Block Pinot Noir 2020, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 15-Jan-2022Deep, ruby-red, slightly lighter edged. The nose is elegantly presented, soft and sweet aroma of strawberries, cherry-plums, melded with spice, vanilla and herb. Medium-full bodied, strawberries and cherry-plums have a sweet core, interweave vanilla, cardamon, cinnamon and rosemary. Fine-grained silky tannin lightly coated the mouthfeel, and lacy acidity provided a fine backbone. This elegant Pinot Noir possesses a sweet fruit core, harmonious oak detail and a poised structure. Match with pigeon and roast pork over the next 5+ years. Fermented with 15% whole bunches to 14% alc, total maceration time 20 days, MLF in thigh-grain French oak barriques, aged for 16 months, 30% new oak. Unfined, unfiltered. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Jan 2022 RRP $45
Neck Of The Woods Bendigo Pinot Noir 2020, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 23-Apr-2022Deep purple with a ruby hue, slightly lighter edged. This has a youthful and soft bouquet with vivid aromas of blackberries, cherries, and dark herbs entwined with a hint of floral, liquorice and allspice. Medium-full bodied, purely expressed aromas of blackberries, cherries melded with violet, thyme and black liquorice, unfolding cloves and black pepper. The fruit shows purity and ripeness, growing with depth, and black pepper extended the palate, adorned by violet and stalk elements. Youthful oak details contributed spice and structure and appeared with a dusty mouthfeel supported by lively acidity. This has a velvety line with pure fruit expression, herb and floral elements, spice structure and an elegant finish. Match with duck and hare over the next 6-8 years. 13.5% alc. Fruit sourced from the Van der Mark Vineyard on China Terrace in Bendigo, clones 667, Abel, 828, 5, 943, handpicked, fermented in 3 batches, average 30% whole bunch, 24 days on skins. aged in French oak barriques for 11.5 months, 20% new oak. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Apr 2022 RRP $38
Escarpment Pinot Noir 2019, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 13-Aug-2021Deep, ruby-red with moderate transparency, lighter on edge. The nose is full and lifting, multilayered aromas of red cherries, blackberries interweave violets, black peppercorns and a hint of earth. Medium-bodied, bright aromas of red cherries, blackberries are lifted with violets, unfolding black pepper, dark herbs, subtle earth and ash. The acidity is lively, injecting vibrancy to the complexing earth and herbaceous elements. Powdery tannin leaves a light dusting on the palate and lingers to a savoury finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with brilliant fruit and acid balance on a silky palate. Match with five-spice roasted duck with plum sauce and hare loin over the next 8+ years. Handpicked, fermented in open-top vat to 13.6% alc, plunged every 12 hours, then left to macerate on skins for an average of 18 days. Aged in French oak barriques for 11 months, 25% new oak. 19-/20 pts (95 pts) Aug 2021 RRP $49
Hawkshead Pinot Noir 2020, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 02-Sep-2021Deep ruby-red with a black core, moderate transparency, slightly lighter edged. The nose is softly full, with deep aromas of forest floor, entwined with wild thyme built on cherries, blackberries and mushroom, barrel spices unfold. Medium-full bodied, cherries and blackberries have a bright core, enriched by wild thyme, forest floor and mushroom savouriness, unveiling black pepper and nutmeg spices lend a long finish. The mouthfeel is silky; fine-grained tannin extraction provides a light grip, smooth flowing, lacy acidity harmonised the savoury elements. This is a harmonious Pinot Noir with elegance, strength and savoury features. Match with roasted duck and pork roast over the next 5-7 years. Fruit sourced from Gibbston 40%, Alexandra 60%. Handpicked, fermented with 30% whole bunch to 13% alc, post-ferment maceration for 26 days, aged in French oak barriques for 10 months, 15% new oak. 19-/20 pts (95 pts) Sept 2021 RRP $49.50
Black Quail Pinot Noir 2019, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 06-Apr-2022Deep ruby, youthful, even colour throughout. This has a fragrant and alluring bouquet, gently releasing aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, melded with floral, forest floor and delicate oak spices. Medium-bodied, black raspberries and cherries have a taut and juicy core; savoury elements unfold with a hint of earth, and forest floor, followed by delicate floral, cinnamon and black pepper. The mouthfeel is smooth with supple, dusty tannin extraction and elegantly coated the palate with a silky veil. Lacy acidity provides focus and length, carries the fruit to a long, satisfying finish. This is a youthful, poise-structured Pinot Noir with black fruit with elegance and depth, lacy acidity and a silky, long finish. Match with roasted quail and smoked duck over the next 8+ years. Handpicked, fermented with 30% whole bunch to 13% alc, aged in French oak barrels, 25% new oak. Unfined & unfiltered. 19/20 pts (95 pts) Apr 2022 RRP $49
Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2017, North CanterburyPinot Noir from New Zealand - Canterbury & WaiparaReview Date : 12-Nov-2021Bright, clear ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim. The wine has an alluring bouquet, slowly growing with red fruit, cherries, dried cranberries, underlying spice, forest floor, dried herb and delicate flower, along with a hint of smoky minerals. Medium-bodied, sweet fruit of cherries, dried cranberries, hibiscus, unfolding mushroom, forest floor, dried herb, then cinnamon, grounded nutmeg lingers with minerals. The wine is complex and pretty, delicate with underlying power and strength. Integrated lacy acidity seductively gliding along a fine-grained, silky mouthfeel to linearity, enduring sweet fruit and floral. This seductive Pinot Noir with delicate sweet fruit and floral features on a silky mouthfeel with power, charm, and a long, satisfying finish. Only produced in exceptional years, selected from best barrels made from the oldest ungrafted vines in the vineyard. Approx one-third of grapes whole bunch with the balance destemmed on top, cold-soaked in vats for few days, wild fermented to 12.5% alc, post ferment maceration for up to a week. Then aged in French oak barriques for 14 months, 40% new oak approx. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) Nov 2021 RRP $100
Valli Bendigo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019, Central OtagoPinot Noir from New Zealand - Central Otago & WaitakiReview Date : 19-May-2021Deep ruby-red with moderate transparency, faintly lighter on the rim. The nose is fragrant with subtle power, herbaceous nuances of thyme, liquorice, vine leaves, and stalks interweave a hint of deep floral, black fruit core and spices filled the bouquet. Medium-full bodied, aroma of black cherries, plums, and berries have a concentrated core and a savoury edge, unfolding liquorice, thyme, rose petals, and an amalgam of spice. The mouthfeel is with density, tightly-knitted fine-grained tannin coated the palate with silk and a chewy texture. Balance acidity supports a smooth flow and carries spices across the palate; herbaceous element lingers to a long, refine closing. This is a fragrant Pinot Noir with black fruit and a spice-filled palate, showing power and grace on a fine-textured, silky palate. Match with herb-crusted lamb racks and black truffle risotto over the next 8-10+ years. Fruit was sourced from Chinaman's Terrace, Bendigo, fermented with 58% whole bunch to 14% alc, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 30% new oak. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) May 2021 RRP $69
Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2019, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 13-Aug-2021Deep, ruby-red with a tinge of dark purple, lighter on the rim. The nose is full, lifting and alluring, aromas of red cherries, intermix plum, thyme flowers, stalk perfume, along with black pepper, nutmeg. Medium-full bodied, perfect ripeness nuances of cherry, plum enriched by dark herbs and violet fragrance; black pepper, nutmeg unveil with subtle milk chocolate. Savoury herbs and stalk linger with sweet floral to a long, fragranced sustained finish. The wine is harmonious with pure fruit and fragrance intensity; black pepper and nutmeg spices lift and enhance the layers. Silky and creamy tannin draw a long line with lacy acidity, provides vitality and drive. This is a youthful Pinot Noir with immediate appeal, beautifully balanced purity and synergies with long ageing potential. Match with foie gras stuffed pigeon and roasted quail with truffle sauce over the next 10 years. The fifteenth release of Kupe, fruit was sourced from Te Muna Road. Fermented in wooden French cuvees with 70% whole bunch to 13.5% alc, hand plunged and aged in French oak barriques for 18 months, 50% new oak. Unfined, unfiltered. Vegan friendly. BioGro organic certified. 19.5/20 pts (97 pts) Aug 2021 RRP $115