Intense, expressive, fruit-driven. Native to Burgundy and notoriously fickle, the Pinot Noir grape has found a home away from home in New Zealand.
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.
New Zealand Pinot Noir has seen impressive growth in export sales in the last five years, with 10,282 million litres exported in the 12 months to June year-end 2020.
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.
Climate is a major factor in defining regional styles.
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.
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.
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.