Pinot Noir

Intense, expressive, fruit-driven. Native to Burgundy and notoriously fickle, the Pinot Noir grape has found a home away from home in New Zealand.

Wine production statistics Pinot Noir (image of wineglass)

Pinot Noir is predominantly grown in the cooler southerly regions: Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, North Canterbury and Central Otago.

The huge diversity in climates and soils enables a wide range of styles from these main Pinot Noir producing regions. Common to all, however, is structure and elegance overlaid by power and fruit-driven intensity.

Since the 1990s, plantings have expanded throughout all regions in the South Island and select sites in the North Island.

New Zealand Pinot Noir has seen impressive growth in export sales in the last five years, with 1.5 million cases exported in the 12 months to June year-end 2018. It is now second only to Sauvignon Blanc in production volume.

It’s staggering how quickly New Zealand has built a reputation for quality Pinot Noir considering the first commercial bottling of Pinot Noir in the country was in 1987.

Ray Jordan

Climate is a major factor in defining regional styles.

Regional Plantings Pinot Noir

Marlborough

Red fruit spectrum aromatically and bright raspberry, cherry and plums on the palate. Wines typically have freshness from subtle acidity that is complemented by their linear structure and even tannin backbone. The Southern Valleys tend to produce fuller-bodied wines.

Central Otago

Gibbston Valley district has sweet, soft, upfront fruitiness with flavours of raspberry, strawberries and fresh herbs and spicy notes. The warmer Bannockburn and Lowburn areas produce fuller, more tannic wines with cherries and dark fruit. Undertones of dried thyme are most prevalent in Pinots from Alexandra.

Wairarapa

Darker fruit aromas, often with a savoury component. Rich, full, sweet fruit on the entry with flavours in the dark plum and chocolate spectrum. The structure of the wine is based around long, fine tannins.

North Canterbury

Red and dark berry fruit with spicy notes. Firm structure and acidity. Savoury earthy characteristics.

 

All regions in New Zealand are turning out seriously interesting Pinot Noir.

Jamie Goode
Food Matching Pinot Noir

Enjoy With

Pinot Noir is easy to please when it comes to pairing with food. It is light enough for salmon or chicken, but complex enough to complement richer red or game meats. 

Try it alongside game birds such as quail, turkey, and duck; with a fillet of New Zealand salmon; or equally with pork, veal, lamb or venison.

When everyone orders a vastly different meal while dining, Pinot Noir will probably make everyone happy.

 

Cellaring and Serving

For the best New Zealand Pinot Noir experience, age for 2-5 years and serve at 15 degrees Celsius/60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A large round bell-shaped glass is perfect to serve Pinot, as it collects the delicate aromas of the wine.

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