New Zealand Pinot Noir has personality - it demands recognition, and it’s slowly gaining the attention it deserves, even if it is the ficklest grape we know. Like every variety, New Zealand Pinot Noir has regional differences to explore.
There’s something everyone loves about New Zealand, whether it is the clean green air, the remoteness or the 24 hour flight without wifi to bask in this glory. New Zealand Pinot Noir has managed to capture the attention of "pinotfiles" throughout the world. Although we all know and love Pinot as a cool climate grape, and see it flourishing in the Southerly regions of New Zealand, we have no qualms in recommending some North Island New Zealand gems too.
The beautiful identity of New Zealand, from grassy fields, snow capped mountains and coastlines of pristine waters - manages to effortlessly encapsulate the very diversity of Pinot Noir. A wide range of soils, terroir and technique produce a range of styles that all retain a formidable structure, power and elegance. Couple this with a synchronicity of pureness of fruit, we have what can only be referred to as an undeniable love of New Zealand Pinot. In celebration of this grape, we wanted to unearth some insight as to why and how we love each individual pinot wine-growing region of New Zealand (there’s 8 main ones, did you know?) to give insight to our love and obsession of this gorgeous grape.
Not typically Pinot country up here, as it tends to be more subtropical in climate, HOWEVER, there are pockets of undeniable greatness, and we’re not insinuating wines of great depth and quality, but more softly fruited, food friendly examples at an excellent everyday drinking price point.
Taste Auckland with - Kumeu Village
The first place in the world to see the sunrise every day, a special part of the world with high sunshine hours, the winter season can test these producers with high rainfall too. The youthful, clay and loam soils here produce fleshier styles of Pinot.
Taste Gisborne with - Milton Estate
New Zealand’s oldest (and second largest) wine region. You’d expect (and rightly so) to see big bold Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux Blends take the main stage here, but you’ll certainly find small pockets of Pinot of the red fruit spectrum, with hints of tea and good minerality.
Taste Hawke's Bay Wine
Legend has it Wairarapa was where the Abel Clone first landed to New Zealand - via a gumboot (aka The Wellington Boot) Wairarapa is home to some of the classiest boutique and down right committed wine producers of New Zealand Pinot. A region producing Pinot of depth and sincerity, that can certainly rival Burgundy with is slightly savoury, earthy personality.
Taste Wairarapa with - Palliser Estate
Sauvignon County - OH NO - It is not! Seduced by the friendly, juicy and bright examples coming from this neck of the woods! The proximity to water, the fertile soils, the youthful vines all contribute to producing Pinot with attitude. And fear not, these examples are at very attractive price points! The exciting part about Marlborough, is sub-regionaility (only just got your head around the regions?!) Marlborough is broken down further - if you get the chance to indulge in Pinot from The Southern Valleys - you’ll see deep clay and loam soils rapidly are increasingly producing wines with firm tannin and bright fruits, classic hallmark of Marlborough.
Taste Marlborough with - Seresin Estate
A few hours west of our infamous Marlborough and with sunshine hours at an all time high, here you will find an abundance of ‘perfectly formed’ small family-owned wineries. Nelson has landed on a global stage (Thanks to Neudorf Vineyards) and Pinot Noir produced here is classy, elegant, structured and defiantly sexy.
Taste Nelson with - Neudorf
Mineral rich, limestone - do we need to say more? A short drive North of Christchurch, Waipara Valley and Waikari Valley are home to a wonderful new group of winemakers, families and vineyards that share a formidable love of their land and their environment. The limestone found here imparts tension, nervosity and a sexy layer of salinity, and the people provide a youthful energy the encapsulates every bottle.
Taste Waipara with - Black Estate
The most southerly wine growing region in the world - so its not surprising you can only expect the most extreme weather patterns across New Zealand. Couple that with outrageous wine personalities (cue, Rudi Bauer, Nigel Greening, Paul Pijoul, Nick Mills) and you have yourself a region of huge promise and undeniable excitement. Much like these wine personalities, Central Otago is formed on schist terraces, nestled between snow capped mountains and huge bodies of water (aka lakes) When its hot, its HOT and when its cold - its bloody freezing!
Most call Central Otago New Zealand’s home of Pinot, and for good reason, Pinot’s here are Pinot Perfection. Rich, fruit-forward, elegant and with wild aromatics and a structure that forms like no other, you only have to have one sip to understand why.
Taste Central Otago with - Felton Road
New Zealand Pinot Noir is as dynamic as it comes. Produced with undeniable flair and precision, we’re beginning to see quality prevail each year - with superior examples arriving to the UK effortlessly. The heartbreak grape, that should be championed, Pinot Noir from New Zealand has personality, poise and attitude.
To taste your way through the different regions of New Zealand Pinot Noir - Get the Unearthed case - here
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