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NZ pinot noir - Wine tasting 2011

Making pinot noir is often likened to the pursuit of the Holy Grail. How close to the sacred object are our producers getting, asks John Saker.

by John Saker | Cuisine issue #149 | Wednesday, 7 December, 2011

Waipara Hills Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 $29.90-$32.90 -4
Sweet rhubarb and raspberry flavours, together with a fresh spearmint note, take the top register; below that there’s a tannic and toasty oak rumble. Pretty yet powerful, this wine is made in a commercial style and should have
wide appeal. Bring it out alongside a classic coq au vin. [G]

Waipara Hills Waipara Pinot Noir 2010 $20.90-$21.90 -3
That lovely brambly, spicy quality that Waipara does so well is all here, for a very reasonable price. Notes of boiled sweets ring out with juicy clarity, held together by a good acidic spine. A garlicky meatball dish would be
just the ticket. [G]

Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 $29.95-$34.95 -3
Plump red fruits and a suggestion of leafiness come decked out in a gorgeous velvet texture, with just a little oak firmness lurking in the shadows. This sibling of the five-star Whitehaven Greg in our Top 10 would be fabulous served over summer with
a classic Reuben sandwich (and don’t spare the sauerkraut).

Wild Earth Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009 (Central Otago) $36-$43 -4
This label has received a torrent of awards, including top Cuisine pinot in 2009. This version also has charm
aplenty – lifted florals, a fleshy texture and red and dark fruit flavours, with some dried-herb, clean acidic lines. [F]

Wooing Tree Beetle Juice Pinot Noir 2010 (Central Otago) $27-$31 -4
Named after the endangered Cromwell chafer beetle, this is always a wine to watch – it regularly comes out ahead of its Central Otago second-tier rivals. The 2010 shows good concentration and bags of berryfruit flavours, with a more funky note described by Gary Baldwin as “green earth”.

To source wines listed, contact the distributor (indexed by letter).

[A] Bespoke Wine Co, ph: 027-645 2240
[B] Constellation NZ, ph: 0800-662 456
[C] Foley Family Wines NZ, ph: 03-572 7322
[D] Greystone Wines, ph: 03-314 6100
[E] Pernod Ricard NZ, ph: 09-336 8300
[F] red+white cellar, ph: 0800-946 379
[G] The Mud House Wine group,
ph: 03-520 6011
[H] Tiki Wine, ph: 03-326 5551
[I] Treasury Wine Estates, ph: 0800-367 837


Tasting method
All wines are tasted blind. If, after discussion, the tasters do not agree on a star rating, the wine will receive the rating given by the majority but dissenting comments will be included in the wine notes. The scores of winemaker judges cannot exceed those of other judges.

All wines entered in Cuisine tastings must be readily available at the time of publication. However, high demand and a six-week lead time between tastings and publication can affect availability. If you cannot find
the wines, contact the winery or distributor direct.

Suppliers are asked to provide a retail price range for all wines entered in tastings. Prices do vary between vineyard and low-to-high volume outlets and cannot, therefore, be guaranteed. All prices are quoted in $NZ.

Recommended by Cuisine stickers
Look for these top wines as your guarantee of quality.

Gold sticker - Wines awarded five stars can wear the gold five-star Recommended by Cuisine sticker.
Burgundy sticker - Wines awarded 4 1/2 and four stars can display the original Recommended by Cuisine sticker.



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