New Zealand is fast developing world wide reputation for award winning Pinot Noir. Some even say NZ make the best Pinots other than Burgundy. The fussy-to-grow grape often produces unwanted ‘jamminess’ in many areas with warmer temperatures, with none of the finer characters that Burgundy Pinot is famous for. It’s transparent nature will also show any problems/faults that occurred throughout the terroir, growing, picking or winemaking processes, no matter what the winemaker tries to do. Many are averse to Pinot due to it’s “lightness” and softness, therefore thinking there’s not much going on, but once you realise what Pinot Noir offers in terms of complexity and depth, talented winemaking and darker characters such as liqorice, leather and earthiness (generally evident in the more expensive Pinots), you never turn your back on it again.
Now to the wines. Another fantastic Wine Ark tasting this year presented Akarua Pinot Noirs from Central Otago, New Zealand, with wine importer Tim Stock. Pinot is the largest grown red grape variety in NZ and Central Otago is the most accredited area for NZ Pinot. Akarua Wines (http://www.akarua.com/) aim to stay away from the NZ Pinots that taste like a big fruit bomb (overly sweet and tarty). Instead, they show pronounced elegance, complexity and length.
RUA PINOT NOIR 2009 – Red, ripe berries with lifted floral notes on the nose. On tasting, red and purple berry fruits, spices, velvety feel from the oak and overall a bright palate and finish. To be drunk young and fresh. Rrp around $30. 13.5% alc.
AKARUA PINOT NOIR 2009 – Red and darker black fruits on the nose with lifted floral notes. Ripe berries, oak more prominent than in the Rua, well integrated tannins, good texture and length. Can drink over the next 5 years. Rrp around $45. 14% alc.
AKARUA RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2009 – Stunning complexity with red cherries and earthiness on the nose. Palate is warm with spices and noticeable alcohol, in a soft oaky texture, subtle spice. Sits well, length long and refined. Rrp around $78. 14.7% alc.
Pinot Noir naturally don’t make cheap wines, but they can offer pretty good value for money. If these price points are a little high, I believe Eden Road “The Long Road” Pinot Noir is one of the best Pinots under $25 (https://sarahwinehouse.com/2010/11/15/eden-road-wines/). Cheers!