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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Pinot Noir
2013 & 2012 vintages
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 23 May 2018

Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my Pinot Noir notes, listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.

Click here for a fact file of Pinot Noir in New Zealand.

Click on year to go to reviews for that vintage
[2015] [2014] [2013] [2012] [2011] [2010] [2009] [2008] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2017 Vintage [top] [index]

Fifth Bridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017 (sc) Deeply translucent bright purple violet. There’s a sense of chocolate, roasted spice and concentrated purple-coloured berries to the scent and it’s initially savoury to the taste with velvet-edged silky tannins, chocolate-coated bitter-sweet cherry then a more concentrated berry fruit sweetness and anise-like spices lingering. Soft, supple and easy drinking. 14% alc. $24.99. 2May2018.

Shaky Bridge Pioneer Series Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017 (sc) This is a deeply coloured, generously scented and full on flavoursome pinot with succulent red and black cherry fruit, plum pie, deep savoury notes and spices. Velvety tannins frame the bountiful fruit that brim to the fore on the finish. First of the 2017s we have seen, it’s to drink now and over the next 12 months . 13.5% alc. $19.99. 7Mar2018.

2016 Vintage [top] [index]

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) There's a bright pink glow to the deep ruby hue. The bouquet is hauntingly smoky and savoury with hints of black cherry and thyme, and the palate offers up amazing vinosity / fruit sweetness – the fruit seems almost luscious yet the wine is fresh. It’s smooth, silky and seamless as it flows across the palate with underlying woody savouriness, touches of vanilla, musk and anise and a flourish of cake spice. A pinot of succulence and mouthfilling satisfaction. Bannockburn fruit. Gold AirNZ, Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. $34.99. 8Nov2017.
This Bannockburn pinot is a rich dark ruby hue with a beguiling smoky savoury aroma infused with black cherry, vanilla and tar and its seamless in the palate that’s ripe, fruity, flavoursome and intense. Full of musky, spicy, cherry and plum fruit with hints of briar rose, pillowy tannins and subtle smoky oak with underlying acidity that will see it evolve over many years. Gold Easter Show, Gold AirNZ, Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. $34.99. 14Mar2018.

Akarua Rua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017 (sc) This bright, smooth, tasty pinot is a brilliant violet-edged ruby in the glass with seductive smoky nuances to the scent and touches of anise, spiced cherry and red guava in the palate with harmonious savoury gamey tones moseying about in the background where firm youthful tannins are tamed by the succulent fruit. 14% alc. $22.99. 25Apr2018.

Alexander Dusty Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Deep rich youthful pinot noir hue. Generous bouquet of ripe cherry with just the most subtle nuance of chocolate. The tannins are supple and silky upfront yet firm on the finish, the fruit is dark, there's a touch of warmed spices and brightness to the finish with a well-balanced underlying savouriness coming through. A medium to full-bodied very drinkable pinot with a mellow, easy going aura. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 17Jan2018.

Brancott Estate Letter Series T Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Youthful ruby garnet with a generous bouquet of Damson plums with woodsmoke, cedar and aromatic spice notes. Powerful and complex in the fresh, vibrant, lifted palate with savoury oak, cherry and plum fruit, hints of vanilla and Christmas spices with touches of bouquet garni and just the right amount of firmness to the finely textured tannins. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 8Nov2017.

Invivo Michelle's Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) This Bannockburn pinot is seductive and generous with a dark burgundy hue, a bouquet of spiced bottled cherries, plum jam and subtle woodsmoke and is full of flavour in the ripe, succulent, summer berry fruit palate. Tannins are pillowy with a velvet veneer and there's beautifully balanced spicy oak underpinning the wine all the way through and coming more to the fore on the deliciously long finish. Served ever so slightly chilled on the hot January night it was perfect. Gold and Trophy NZIWS. 14.5% alc. $38.99. 24Jan2018.

Lake Hayes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 Youthful purple translucent red with a fragrant and generous bouquet full of black cherry fruit and gamey savoury notes that follow through to the silky palate. It’s warm and spicy with a medley of juicy berry fruit, just a little bit of grip to the tannins and a long creamy finish. A lighter style red that’s soft, smooth and very tasty and would benefit from a little chilling on a scorching summer day. 14% alc. $27.99. 10Jan2018.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Youthful bright, burgundy hue with shimmering translucency. The haunting bouquet emanates subtle wood smoke with spice and florals, perhaps violets, and the mouthfilling taste is deeply savoury with spiced cherries and purple fruit notes. The tannins are silky and fine and the wine seems almost creamy on the captivating finish. Gold Medal NZIWS . 14% alc. $24.99. 21Feb2018.

Matt Connell Wines Rendition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) There's brightness to the purple ruby hue, the bouquet is bottled cherries, spice and woodsmoke and the flow across the palate is silky, almost creamy with a youthful tannin edge. A deep savouriness underpins the almost luscious fruit, there’s a suggestion of chocolate and anise and the finish, where oaky nuances emerge, is rounded, satisfying and complete. 14% alc. $40.99. 6Sep2017.

Maude Estate Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Ruby hued, clear and bright. The deep fruited aroma suggests plum and blueberry with harmonious yet subtle spicy oak, and it’s wonderfully concentrated in the creamy palate with Christmas cake spices, bottled cherries, plums and hints of chocolate on the long, full-bodied and increasingly complex finish. 14% alc. $32.99. 11Apr2018.

Peregrine Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) There’s concentration and brightness to the deep ruby garnet hue. The fragrant bouquet is creamy, voluptuous and generous as is the juicy taste that’s layered with cherry chocolate and supported by fine velvety tannins with a harmonious savoury undercurrent and a bright spicy allure. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 18Oct2017.

Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) The bouquet of this translucent Burgundy-hued wine is intriguing with red cherries, hints of thyme and touches of strawberry jam. It seems very dry on first tasting with a hint of gunsmoke and firm and slightly hard tannins that remind me of Villages Burgundy and while light to start it has increasing vinosity and silkiness with textbook savouriness, woody herbs and red cherry fruit . 13.6% alc. $24.99. 7Mar2018.

Russian Jack Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Brightly hued with a touch of barnyard on the nose but full of bright fruit that is a little reminiscent of raspberry in the silky palate that features sensual savoury undertones. It's still youthful with a spark of acidity and firmness to the finish. Made by Martinborough Vineyards. Gold New World, Gold Easter Show. 14% alc. $18.99. 11Apr2018.

Shaky Bridge Pioneer Series Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Deep boysenberry hued with a ripe plummy aroma yet savoury rather than upfront fruity to the taste with a peppery vibe and some vanillin oak tones then, on the finish, succulent juicy plum and cherry fruit wells up from within. Not overly complex and smooth in its flow. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 12Jul2017.

Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Dark ruby hued with a lovely savoury expression of pinot both on the nose and in the palate that’s full of dark fruit and lovely savoury gamey notes with beautifully balanced smoky oak . It's smooth and complex with silky tannins and a long firm finish. Very impressive. 13% alc. $19.99. 11Apr2018.

Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) Bright ruby with pinky edges. The bouquet is sweet-fruited, inviting, with spiced cherries and a hint of cedar and the firm, dry taste is foremost savoury and gamey than fruity – but the fruit is of course there – bittersweet fruit – wild strawberries, morello cherries - and its silky in its flow with mouthfilling richness to the finish. Gold NZIWS & NWWA. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 9May2018.

Wild Grace Central Otago Pinot Noir 2016 (sc) A saturated deep ruby in the glass, the generous bouquet emanates rich cherry notes with roasted sappy woody herbs like thyme and rosemary and a nice touch of woodsmoke there too – all this and more in the savoury palate that has youthful velvety tannins and a peppery heat with blue-red fruit on the finish. From grapes grown around the Bendigo subregion, this pinot is still evolving and worth cellaring for a while . 14% alc. $22.99. 28Feb2018.

2015 Vintage [top] [index]

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) There are purple hints to the plush ruby hue and the bouquet is fruity and generous. A big mouthful of pinot with red and black cherries, juicy spiced plums, svelte tannins, a sensual savouriness, smoky oak and a long flavoursome finish with touches of chocolate coming through. 100% Bannockburn fruit and reminiscent of the wonderful 2013 vintage of this label, it’s seductively drinkable already but will take some cellaring too. 14% alc. $34.99. 24Aug2016.
The colour is vibrant and the incredibly aromatic bouquet is bright, lifted, a little reminiscent of Shrewsbury biscuits and very engaging. Spicy and juicy to the taste with wonderfully pristine cherry and plum fruit, hints of mocha and toasty oak becoming quite creamy with hints of chocolate - like chocolate ganache, a silk-edged velvety texture, a harmonious savoury undercurrent and an incredible sensual mouthfeel and flow. 13% alc. $34.99. 5Oct2016.
A full-on, spicy, gutsy style of pinot with a tantalising intensely deep ruby hue; a lovely fragrance of cherries and spice infused with subtle smoky oak; then ripe, concentrated, juicy black cherry and fruits of the forest fruit with harmonious underlying savoury, spicy, meaty tones and a touch of mocha and anise on the finish. Complete and seductive with a velvety flow and a silky finesse. 14% alc. $34.99. 8Mar2017.

Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Bright ruby with luminous translucency. There's richness to the cherry scent with touches of dried herb and woodsmoke, and complexity to the fruit driven yet savoury flavours with a nuance of smoky bacon coming through. It's soft and velvety and full of flavour. Upper Moutere fruit. Fabulous value. Gold Easter Show. 14% alc. $19.99. 11Apr2018.

Bannockbrae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) This has a translucent and slightly fading ruby hue. The bouquet is smoky and savoury with a floral allure and it’s dry in the savoury, slightly gamey palate where the aromatics infuse to give a sense of dried roses and polished oak furniture. The tannins are silky yet still quite firm with cherry and cranberry fruit and while it seems like a lovely lighter elegant style to start it has understated stamina and power. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. $29.99. 29Nov2017.

Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (c) A youthful ruby purple hue introduces this brooding style of pinot where deep inhaling reveals rosehips and a waft of grapey sweetness. The taste is foremost savoury with moderately firm pinot tannins and a salty note coming through. It’s a delicate, medium-bodied wine with fruit reminiscent of purple grapes and cranberry jelly and a concentrated finish. From a number of vineyard sites, it’s biodynamic and organic with low sulphides and natural fermentation. 13.5% alc. $40.99. 17May2017.

Ceres Artists Collection Inlet Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) There’s a little hint of pink to the purple hue. A touch of rosehip radiates out of the glass with an amalgam of cherry, a hint of spice and expressive pinosity. Concentrated in the silky, velvety, firm, structured palate that’s spicy, meaty and savoury with chewy red fruit jellies and glace cherries and captivating briar rose notes to the fabulously long mouth-enveloping finish. 14% alc. $75.99. 2May2018.

Ceres Composition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) A moderately translucent purple violet. Fragrantly scented with cherry, plum and sweet herb notations. Bright and intense in the silky-textured palate where bittersweet red fruit, oak, spice and savoury notes combine in harmony. Dense and concentrated with a vinous sweetness and touches of anise infusing the persistent finish where the tannins become more noticeable. 14% alc. $34.99. 2May2018.

Falcon Ridge Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Deep ruby garnet with a youthful aura, this looks and smells like Pinot with beguiling black cherry and earthy undertones to the smoky savoury scent. It’s silky and flowing in the palate with a juicy fruit sweetness balancing the spicy savouriness combined with youthful vibrancy, underlying herbal notes, refreshing acidity and a pleasing grip to the finish with nuances of black forest as the wine lingers. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 1Feb2017.

Falconhead Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) A young looking pinot with a savoury, slightly gamey, slightly cherryish aroma and smooth, juicy and easy going in the medium-bodied palate. It tastes savoury and just a little gamey with bright cranberry and cherry fruit, mulled wine spices and a fine tannin finish. 4 stars and Best Buy in Cuisine. A little cracker actually. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 24May2017.

Felton Road Calvert Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Deeply hued in the glass with a bouquet offers up harmonious savoury oak with dark cherries and chocolate and the taste so generous with fruit so ripe, juicy and sweet; the mouthfeel so creamy; the tannins so beautifully integrated and while the oak asserts it spicy youthfulness the fruit intensifies to bring to mind purple grapes, spiced plums and cherries, with touches of anise emerging as the gorgeous flavours linger. Another stunner from the Felton stable and seemingly eminently seductive already. 14% alc. $64.99. 23Nov2016.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) This newly bottled wine has at first a classic earthy scent then a pretty floral rose petal / feijoa flower perfume wafts through. The taste is bright red fruit with Christmas cherries and rosehips over a savoury gamey backbone with a touch of gunsmoke, a touch of smoky bacon and slight grip to the silky tannins. An approachable, drinkable and very pretty wine with understated substance. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 23Aug2017.
Rich ruby garnet hue. Generous cherry and summer berry fruits fill the bouquet yet it’s surprisingly quite fresh in the palate with upfront acidity indicating it needs to be accompanied with food right now. It’s a savoury, earthy, mushroomy pinot with a little bit of grip to the tannins and fruit sweetness evolving on the finish with a touch of toasty spice. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 7Feb2018.

Gunn Estate Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Dark ruby red. Initially a little herbal on the nose but later radiates cranberries and red guavas with a hint of raspberry and a touch of spice. A young, fresh, dry style of pinot with lightly varnish oak. It’s crammed full of those intriguing bittersweet red fruits and has a velvety textured flow with a bit of an acid bite to the end. It tastes fantastic with basil and tomato and with salads in mind there’s no problem with chilling this a little for summer. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 13Dec2015.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Dark ruby hued with cherries and chocolate and a mellow smoky nuance to the scent which is a little shy to start then opens up to reveal a lovely floral allure. Moderately spicy in the palate yet overall soft, smooth, juicy and not too heavy with a beautifully balanced savoury undercurrent and a firm finish with woodsmoke and sappy notes unfolding as the tasting progresses. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. $24.99. 1Nov2017.

Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) The colour is a rich cerise rimmed magenta hue – ‘the colour of raspberry jam,’ says Jim. Enticingly fragrant and full-bodied in the palate with velvety tannins, succulent cherry fruit, spicy oak, touches of anise and toasty notes together with pinot’s quintessential savouriness. Rich, fruity, supple and generous. Gold Easter Show. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 31May2017.

Nanny Goat Super Nanny Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Ruby garnet in hue. Vibrantly aromatic with spiced bottled cherries and delicate touches of woodsmoke filling the bouquet and ripe, tasty and silky in its flow with generous mixed berry fruit, spice, typical pinot noir smoky savoury notes and a pleasing firmness to the finish. 14.5% alc. $46.99. 22Feb2017.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) This has a rich ruby saturation to the deeply translucent hue. The colour is in sync with the succulence of the fruit-driven, spice-infused aroma and the fullness of the flavours that are crammed with juicy cherry and plum fruit, touches of rose hip, hints of vanilla and woody spices. A generous pinot with a velvety flow and a lasting finish that leaves an aura of mouthfilling satisfaction. Gold AirNZ. 13.5% alc. $38.99. 29Nov2017.

Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) A rich ruby red with touches of crimson this is full of bright cherry aromas – both bottled and fresh – with a waft of chocolate box and a sprinkle of spice. Crammed with cherry and pomegranate fruit in the creamy, generous, flowing palate with a bright lingering finish lifted by youthful acidity and well balanced underlying savouriness. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 8Feb2017.

Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Brilliant translucent ruby hue. Savoury and inviting on the pretty perfumed bouquet that’s flushed with vanilla tinged oak and red berries like the tiny Chilean guava. Juicy red plums, red guavas and bittersweet cherry in the medium-bodied palate that has a silky flow and just a little underlying earthy grip like you get in some Villages Burgundies, with delightful harmonious gamey notes infusing the finish. 13% alc. $23.99. 15Mar2017.

Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir 2015 There’s freshness and charm to this silky beauty. A young wine with youthful spiced orange acidity and a fruitcake richness evolving, the fruit a mix of cherries, cranberries and huckleberries with a sensual smoky savouriness in behind Bright fruit, accents of cake spices, lovely smooth flow with savoury oak on the finish. An absolutely gorgeous accompaniment to an extravagant piece of rare-cooked eye fillet steak with balsamic glaze. 13% alc. $26.99. 27Aug2016.

Tohu Awatere Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Youthful purple garnet. Attractive smoky aroma with hints of spiced cherries and violets. Lifted in the palate with upfront acidity, a medley of cranberries, cherries and spice, a smooth velvety texture and a creaminess to the medium to full-bodied finish. Elite Gold Air NZ Wine Awards 2016. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 11Jan2017.

Vavasour Felix's Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) There’s a delectable smoky savouriness to the bouquet with hints of chocolate coated cherries and spicy vibes that continue into the vibrant palate that’s full of juicy fruit with sensual silky tannins, a compounding creamy richness and lingering hints of woodsmoke. 14% alc. $37.99. 19Oct2016.
This is youthful ruby with violet tints. The bouquet is fresh, aromatic and fragrant with subtle smoky oak and there’s lifted red cherry and concentrated purple grapes in the palate with underlying savouriness and spiciness, tobacco-like oak, brushed velvet tannins and a succulent finish that is fine and long. Unfolding nicely but still not in full bloom. Gold NZIWS 2016. 14% alc. $35.99. 15Mar2017.

Vidal Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 (sc) Brightly coloured and alluringly aromatic with scents of spiced plums and cherries, a hint of woodsmoke and a suggestion of violet jam. In the mouth the youthful tannins seem a little chalky at first but it’s nevertheless immediately approachable with harmonious fruit and savoury flavours with a well-balanced gamey undercurrent, a smoky aura and bright punchy fruit on the finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 10Aug2016.

2014 Vintage [top] [index]

Alexander Dusty Road Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Dark purple violet in hue. The bouquet offers beautifully fragrant savoury oak with hints of woodsmoke and pencil shavings and it is deep-set, savoury, leathery and gamey in the full, rich palate with firm tannins, a cake spice brightness and lifted red fruits in the tamarillo, guava and red cherry spectrum that make this gutsy wine seem so deliciously juicy. A creaminess accrues as the wine traverses the palate and the lingering finish has a succulent meaty savouriness and hints of vanilla. 14% alc. $22.99. 7Oct2015.
This has a deep rich Burgundy red hue, a concentrated savoury bouquet embossed with creamy oak and powerful, rich, savoury, meaty flavours with hints of cake spice and fruit in the tamarillo, red guava and red cherry spectrum that impart a delicious juiciness – and the flavours just keep accruing with a delectable touch of candied fennel seeds on the finish. 14% alc. $22.99. 9Dec2015.

Bald Hill Single Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) It's a rich dark ruby in the glass, not really hinting of its age. The bouquet is fragrant with a deep almost floral allure – then smoky oak and mulled wine spices become noticeable too. Not overtly fruity to the taste at first and surprisingly still quite firm in the front palate but velvety as it flows with a sensuous meaty savouriness, lifted spices and creamy opulence to the juicy plum and cherry finish. A wine of lingering succulence and harmony. Bannockburn fruit. Gold NZIWS. 13.8% alc. $40.99. 8Nov2017.

Ballasalla Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Bright maroon. Initially a little stalky (stemmy) on the nose then dark berry fruit and a sensual nuance of smoke. The texture is smooth and velvety with a savoury, earthy undercurrent to the dark berry fruit with sweet spices and hints of anise. The wine seems to become more and more juicy with every mouthful yet it is still quite firm on the finish. The second label of Folding Hill with fruit from the Bendigo sub-region. Gold Easter Show. 14% alc. $23.99. 24Feb2016.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) The understated black with gold writing packaging of this wine is amazing. It titillates and tantalises and when you crack the screwcap, pour the wine and look at it and smell it, expectations are exceeded. It’s a gorgeous ruby hue. The scent is voluptuous yet there is a classic earthy savouriness embossed with touch of tamarillo and cakes spices. Then in the mouth the flavours of juicy black cherries are supported by velvety supple fleshy tannins, a little bit of an acid bite and a long savoury finish. A perfect accompaniment to aubergine caramelised in pomegranate molasses. 13.5% alc. $28.00. 30Jan2016.
Vibrant in its ruby crimson hue and the bouquet is magnetic with its sensuous smokiness, classic earthy savouriness and sumptuous juicy bottled black cherry fruit. Rich, ripe and fleshy with velvety tannins, aromatic spices (perhaps the most subtle hint of anise) and beautifully balanced savoury notes that are so in harmony with the generous fruit. Mouthfilling and satisfying and with its smart new packaging, it’s a crowd pleaser on every level. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 20Apr2016.

Bannock Brae Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 Deep dark ruby / tamarillo hue. Perfumed with juicy black cherries, red brambles and hints of vanilla. Silky in the palate with generosity and fleshiness but there’s a firmness and structure to the backbone with smoky savoury oak framing the succulent fruit together with subtle nuances of manuka leaf and mocha and chocolate emerging. Rich, deep, fruity and savoury while keeping intact the pure expression of the Pinot Noir grape with an enticing sweet/sour intrigue. A big, rich generous wine with savoury oak to the fore. New striking understated packaging for this wine previously labell 'Barrel Fermented'. 13.5% alc. $50. 27Aug2016.

Black Peak Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Deep ruby violet with an attractive bouquet of woodsmoke, bottled spiced cherries and thyme. Generous in the silky textured palate with spicy savoury oak to the fore, juicy cherry and plum fruit and lifted acidity on the finish. From a vineyard on the Queensbury Hills near Wanaka, this is a big pinot that would benefit from a little more time. 13.7% alc. $37.99. 27Apr2017.

Brennan B2 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Youthful black cherry hue. A little dusty on the nose where perfumed savoury notes are infused with a sensual fruit sweetness. Spicy, savoury, earthy and just a little gamey in the palate with fresh acidity adding brightness, Morello and cranberry fruit balanced by a juicy plum sweetness, and a velvet edge to the silky texture. A moderately powerful pinot with body and flow, the grapes were grown in the Gibbston Valley. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 13Apr2016.
Deep burgundy in hue with a generously perfumed pinot bouquet infused with spice and savoury notes. It’s rich, dense and almost voluptuous in the palate with spiced plums and cherry fruit, well-balanced earthy savoury vibes, a musky floral allure and touches of chocolate on the finish. Gold AirNZ 2016. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 7Dec2016.

Discovery Point Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Deeply translucent Burgundy red. Ah – NZ pinot – it smells sensually smoky and savoury with bittersweet red fruit and pinosity. It’s made in a medium-bodied Burgundian style with only old oak contact and flows across the palate with its fine silky tannins offering depth and concentration of juicy red fruit together with cake spices, a zing of acidity, sappy notes and a bright, salivating finish. 14% alc. $22.99. 10May2017.

Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) This aromatics of this deep Burgundy hued wine are framed with beautifully honed savoury oak and the woodsmoke scent of smoky bacon. It tastes savoury and a touch gamey with firm, fine-grained tannins, a touch of anise, dried herbs, bittersweet red fruits and a velvety finish where ripe cherry notes emerge to linger. Wild yeast funk adds intrigue to this multi-faceted wine that becomes more generous and thought provoking with every sip. 14% alc. $44.99. 12Jul2017.

Fifth Bridge Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) From the Bannockburn region and made by Ceres Wines, this has a lovely bright crimson purple hue and the bouquet is enticingly savoury with hints of plum jam. Quite spicy and savoury in the mouth with brambly fruit, just a little grip and a bit of an edgy bite, this is a juicy style of pinot that’s not too heavy and could be lightly chilled for refreshing summer drinking, then once the sun hits the glass it will be a great accompaniment to antipasto. Gold Air NZ. 14% alc. $24.99. 9Dec2015.

Grasshopper Rock Earnscleugh Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Translucent light burgundy / purple garnet hue. The bouquet is smoky and sensual with violet, anise spices and lightly polished oak. Creamy on entry to palate - the tannins are like comfortable pyjamas - softly textured with feeling. I find flavours of macerated cranberries, Morello cherries, purple grapes, violet jam, orange pomander and touches of anise that impart a succulence and sweetness to balance the delicate acidity with a lovely savouriness brooding away in the background. A medium-bodied style that is fine and silky in its flow with understated power as the flavours linger. Full of charm and a delight to try. Yum I say. 13.4% alc. $34.99. 27Aug2016.

Greystone Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Dark cherry hue of medium depth. Delightful savoury / toasty / manuka woodsmoke bouquet. Crisp, fresh, spicy and tangy on first tasting and although the tannins initially seem a little dry by the time the glass is finished the overall impression of this wild ferment wine with 11 months in French oak (30% new) is soft, full, generous and creamy with juicy cherry and plum fruit, touches of smoky bacon, beautifully proportioned woodsmoke, classical thyme-like herbs and a kiss of anise. When you get to the end of the glass you want another. Love it. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 20Jan2016.

Lake Hayes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Blue red in hue, deep for pinot noir and pleasing to the eye. Black cherry and plum fruit fill the bouquet and it is immediately spicy (think cake spices) in the palate that initially seems dry and tight. Yet there is lots of juice and flesh in there with fruit flavours reminiscent of spiced tamarillo and cranberry with hints of dried herbs and a long savoury finish. 14% alc. $27.99. 22Jun2016.

Lauregan Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 – Central Hawkes Bay (c) This deep Burgundy-hued wine is in an attractively presented bottle with no indication of origin on the front label, which is good because it’s definitely not your typical kiwi fruit-forward style. The bouquet is smoky, savoury and just a little gamey with wafts of dark cherry and brambles while firm tannins and savoury, earthy, leather, bacon brine, mushroom and gamey notes fill the palate. A sensuous funky Burgundy look-alike with considerable depth. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 7Jun2017.

Main Divide North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Dark ruby heading towards garnet. The bouquet offers up bramble fruit with savoury, slightly herbal nuances and it is full of ripe berry fruit flavours in the firm yet silky palate with classical savoury, smoky, earthy, gamey vibes and appealing fruit sweetness to the lively finish. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 11Apr2018.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) This is a saturated dark ruby hue with considerable density. The distinct pinot bouquet is alluring and savoury while the taste is rounded and full with deep, soft, smooth tannins and a momentary peppery zing. There’s a meaty richness to the wine with dark, ripe berries – loganberries come to mind, and a touch of salinity to the salivating savoury finish. Concentrated with weight, structure and intensity, it’s exceptional value. 14% alc. $24.99. 15Mar2017.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Ruby red. Ripe and creamy on the nose with a hint of boot leather. Savoury and spicy to the taste with soft smooth tannins and ripe, fleshy, juicy black cherries and darker berries. The fruit is balanced by the savouriness of the wine with hints of wild thyme and perhaps even a touch of bacon, and the finish is firm and dry. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 20Apr2016.

Nanny Goat Vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Intense deep ruby-violet in hue with a bouquet that’s reminiscent of Black Forest cake and a texture is seductively svelte as the wine traverses the palate. It’s smooth and delicious with beautifully honed savoury oak, dark chocolate, spiced cherries and plums and a bright flourish to the succulent finish where the oak becomes more noticeable but without ever distracting from the wine’s harmonious tune. 13.7% alc. $29.99. 15Oct2015.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Garnet red, a little browning on the edges. The bouquet is savoury with woody herb notes and a touch of chocolate-coated cherry and the wine as a whole has a mellow aura and complexity that comes with a little age. Fruit is reminiscent of stewed tamarillo with underlying prickly acidity and savoury bretty / leathery notes giving a European impression. Tannins still noticeable on the magnanimous finish with hints of chocolate and rounded mouth-coating pinosity as it lingers. 13.5% alc. $47.99. 9May2018.

Peter Yealands Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Lovely pink-tinged ruby hue. Beautifully perfumed and fragrant with a waft of cake spice and rose petals – beguiling from the outset and there’s a nice touch of pinot funk coming through too. A smooth, soft, juicy style with well balanced fruit and a sultry savouriness and just a tingle of zest at the end. Deliciously drinkable with a smooth satin sheet flow and the lingering aftertaste has a subtle suggestion of berries and cream. This is my pick of all the under-$15 pinots as you can buy on promotion for $14.99. 13.5% alc. $14.95. 13Dec2015.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 Deeply translucent dark-centred ruby. Perfumed with fragrant smoky oak, dark cherry fruit and a subtle nuance of jaffa. The flavours are opulent with fruits of the forest, spiced tamarillos, star anise, rose hips, violet pastilles and earthy savoury notes in harmony all the way through. The tannins are firm initially with grip to the finish then, as the effects of the wine compound, it flows like silk and has a creamy feel after the flavours linger with great persistence of the thought-provoking flavours. 13.5% alc. $45. 27Aug2016.

Rod McDonald Wines One Off Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Moderate depth of hue for Pinot. The bouquet is initially earthy and savoury with a woody herb character together with Morello cherries and then attractive creamy oak with deep inhaling. In the palate it has that typically Martinborough edgy savouriness and firm tannin structure. Seemingly a little stemmy and sappy at first with gamey, savoury, mossy forest floor suggestions, juicy fruits of the forest and a silky finish that goes on and on. One to pour into a big glass and swirl and savour as it opens up and reveals all it sensual nuances. Beautiful wine. Te Muna Terrace fruit. 13.8% alc. $26.99. 9Nov2016.

Sacred Hill Orange Label Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Deeply translucent ruby in hue. The bouquet is rich and ripe with fruit in the black cherry and plum spectrum – there’s a sensual plush velvety aromatic connotation too. Then in the palate there is immediate opulence from the first kiss – the black cherry / plum fruit is lush, the texture is velvety, the backbone is spicy and bright and the finish is full and the flavours persist with a touch of nut chocolate emerging as the flavours linger – bursting bittersweet red fruits / savoury notes expand and expand. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 9Mar2015.

Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) The intense boysenberry jam hue hints of the power this full, plush, intensely flavoured Pinot exudes. It’s meaty and savoury with an intensely bramble berry scent and flavours of plums and cranberry fruit with a spicy flourish. The tannins have a firm veneer but the flow is smooth. This pinot on steroids is made by Peregrine wines with fruit is sourced from Bendigo, Pisa and Gibbston Valley. 13% alc. $23.99. 19Aug2015.
Youthful purple red. Enticing aroma of purple fruit and black cherries with a nuance of thyme and woodsmoke in the distance. In the mouth this is full, intense and fleshy with velvet tannins, soft spicy oak, a fabulous juicy fruit profile of plums and black cherries, and a dry, spicy, herb-infused finish that whispers of its youth. And the aftertaste is satisfying and tasty. The second label of Peregrine. 13% alc. $23.99. 27Jan2016.

Soho Havana Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) While the translucent ruby violet hue is lighter than many, when you taste it you find a charming, silky textured pinot with a lot more savouriness and complexity than you may expect. There’s a touch of cigar box on the nose and while it initially seems quite dry in the palate with perhaps noticeable acidity, it unfolds and balances out nicely as it traverses the palate with lovely smoky nuances, plum and bottled cherry fruit and a touch of dark chocolate emerging on the finish that becomes quite intense as the flavours linger. Pour into a big glass to swirl, sip, savour and enjoy. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 18Nov2015.

Spinyback Nelson Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Purple ruby. Savoury on the nose with hints of woodsmoke and cherry guava – quintessentially pinot. The earthy savouriness and bittersweet red fruit nuances continue into the palate that has texture from the furry tannins and a bright fresh flourish to the finish where the juicy plum and bramble fruit sweetness pushes through. This worked best with food - with mushroom and thyme influences in this instance. 13.5% alc. $17.00. 13Dec2015.

Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) There's a pink tinge to the garnet hue of this ripe, mouthfilling pinot with fruit sweetness infiltrating the slightly herbaceous scent and a nice touch of savouriness to the taste that brims with black cherry, plums and spice with a suggestion of woodsmoke and chocolate velvet tannins. Nicely aged expression. 13% alc. $19.99. 4Apr2018.

Stoneleigh Wild Valley Wild Fermented Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Lightish ruby in hue. Stemmy on the nose. Smoky in the palate, stalky and concocted with a cough lolly confectionary taste. Full on the finish but my first overall impression was that it was simple and easy. Hey, wait – the more I came back to this wine the more complex it became and the more I elevated it in status. Juicy, savoury and spicy with blue-red fruit and hints of anise; the texture mouthcoating and velvety and the body curvaceous and full and with the food – a boneless chicken thigh sautéed with bacon, thyme and mushrooms – it really came alive. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 13Dec2015.

Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Rich ruby hued. Powerful on the nose with aromas of savoury oak, a subtle earthiness and bottled spiced cherries. Juicy yet firm in the palate with a silky edge to the pillowy tannins, a lovely savouriness that balances the bittersweet red fruits. This is a multi-layered pinot with something new to discover with every sip – evens hints of rosemary and leather. Opening up nicely and the consensus of the tasters around me was that it is easy to drink. 14% alc. $23.99. 3Feb2016.

Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) The deep dark hue is bright with crimson tinges on the edges. The concentrated bouquet is smoky with bittersweet red fruit to the fore – Morello cherries come foremost to mind. Reasonably full bodied and intense in the palate with moderately firm tannins, polished spicy oak and a sensual savoury depth where cranberry fruit comes forth with a juicy ripeness and the lingering finish is fleshy and dry. 13% alc.. $22.99. 20Apr2016.

Waimea Nelson Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Dark ruby red. Perfumed with berries, violets, hints of vanilla and woodspice – the aroma is intriguing and nice. A nicely weighted, medium to full bodied style, it’s firm in the palate with a youthful, spicy, slightly peppery brightness and while it seems a little dry and grippy mid palate the ripe dark berry fruit is juicy with a lovely savoury undercurrent and there’s a touch of zingy citrus adding to the pleasing aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $25.00. 13Dec2015.

Wairau River Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) There's a ruby brightness to the youthful Burgundy hue. The bouquet is sensuous with subtle smoky nuances and hints of spiced cherries, and the texture is smooth as it flows across the palate. The light tannins support the juicy red cherry and redcurrant fruits, there’s a momentary woody herb note, a touch of savouriness and a spicy flourish to the almost creamy finish where subtle nuances of woodsmoke waft through. A soft easy drinking style that’s full of Pinot’s charm and will definitely seduce the masses. 13.5% alc.. $22.99. 20Apr2016.

Wairau River Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Dark pinky red. There’s a creamy nuance to the savoury oak bouquet with earthy notes and an evocative bittersweet red fruit / rosehip jelly allure. Full and savoury in the palate with generous cherry and plum fruit and a sensuous silky mouthfeel. Classy and stylish with a slight herbal fascination and a spicy flourish infusing the long and fleshy finish. Very complete and rounded as the aftertaste lingers. 14% alc. $37.99. 20Apr2016.

Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Deep purple garnet in the glass with a bright, generous, inviting bouquet that's creamy, fruity and savoury at the same time. The taste is spicy upfront with concentrated plum and cherry fruit and sweet smoky oak in the background with a hint of anise on the long creamy finish and perhaps a smidgen of mint and dried herb as it lingers. A silky, seductive, generous, fruit-sweet pinot that’s ready to enjoy now. Gold NZIWS. 14.5% alc. $35.99. 15Feb2017.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Deep purple violet with purple garnet edges. A beautifully perfumed Pinot, the gorgeous aromatics exude savoury oak, rose hips, thyme and spiced red and black cherries. Savoury and silky in the mouth with the oak now spicy and layered with woodsmoke and bacon, and juicy red and black fruits with hints of cinnamon bark-spiced tamarillo. Vibrant yet robust, concentrated and intense in its flavours and the texture quite velvety and firm on the finish. 14% alc. $24.99. 30Sep2015.
Translucent purple garnet. Quite savoury and leathery on the nose with a touch of tar and rosehip then intriguingly firm and savoury in the medium-bodied finely textured palate that brims with raspberry and red cherry fruit, spice, youthful acidity and an earthy, gamey finish where cherry chocolate emerges. 14% alc. $24.99. 31Aug2016.

Vidal Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Deep ruby hued. The bouquet is earthy and savoury and while initially quite restrained it opens up to reveal red and black fruit later. Quite savoury on the nose and spicy in the palate, more typically Burgundian with moderately firm tannins, a touch of leather, bittersweet cherry fruit, cake spices and a lovely brightness to the creamy finish where the tannins have resolved to become smooth and velvety, and the lingering finish is juicy. Gold Royal Easter Show. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 2Mar2016.

2013 Vintage [top] [index]

Akarua Central Otago Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013 Ruby violet in hue with a lustrous sheen, this is perfumed with woodsmoke, violets and plump red cherries. The taste is bright and spicy with a woodsmoke infusion to the generous chocolate-coated cherry fruit that's been macerated in aromatic spices with a touch of anise and a hint of mocha on the bright lifted finish. Deliciously succulent and savoury with fine silky tannins, a creamy feel and a plush velvety flow. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.
Youthful ruby black with pinky-crimson edges, the smoky savoury bouquet is inviting with the succulent scent of black cherries and the taste is big, bold, spicy and savoury with amazing juiciness, structure and depth. The fruit is strawberries and cherries with supporting oak in the background, the tannins are plush and velvety and the powerful finish is full-bodied, creamy and rounded. Sexy and seductive. 14% alc. $35.99. 29Apr2015.
Purple / ruby / violet. The gorgeous aromatic scent is sultry, smoky and savoury without overpowering, with delicate cherry notes coming through. A beautiful elegant and refined Pinot Noir with a spicy brightness and juicy fruit deliciousness – the tannins are silky with a velvet cushion flow – and while the texture seems fine it becomes firm and plush on the long, savoury, mouthfilling finish. 14% alc. $34.99. 30Sep2015.

Akarua RUA Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Rich ruby red with violet flashes, this youthful-hued wine has a savoury bouquet with black cherries and hints of dried rose petals, and the taste is full-bodied and creamy with a lush, plush texture, a touch of anise, smoky oak, juicy red and black cherries and hints of mushrooms. Lots of seductiveness in this value-packed noir from the Bannockburn sub-region and an interesting contrast to the finer-textured Marlborough wine tasted alongside it. 14% alc. $22.99. 26Nov2014.
Bright ruby-purple-red. Invitingly spicy and aromatic with aromas of plums, black cherries and blueberries that are quite divine. Firm on first tasting with creamy oak, mulled wine spices, a touch of mint, and anise-infused plum and cherry fruit, this is a gorgeous wine that, despite the initial tannins, finishes concentrated, plush and seductively velvety. 14% alc. $22.99. 11Feb2015.

Alan Scott Family Winemakers Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Ruby purple in hue with bright cherry and raspberry jelly baby aromas infused with enticing woodsmoke and floral notes. The taste is succulent and juicy with firm silky tannins, spicy oak, red berries and herbs and a bright zesty flourish to the long savoury finish. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Alexander Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013 (c) This Burgundy-hued wine initially smells jammy with smoky oak but deep inhaling brings out bottled cherry nuances and there is a slight oxidative note too. The taste is earthy, meaty, spicy and savoury with rosemary, tar, tyre rubber and dry leathery tannins that will be tamed with food, perhaps lamb with rosemary and a fruity jus to balance the wine’s savoury disposition. 14% alc. $28.99 . 6Jan2016.

Archangel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This has a saturated dark ruby / crimson tinged hue. There's a hint of mocha infusing the opulent bottled black cherry bouquet together with a touch of tar and char and it’s earthy and savoury to the taste with firm tannins, sappy oak and spicy notes and the sought after 'peacock tail flare’ on the finish where creamy chocolate and black forest cherry emerge. An oaky sumptuous mouthfilling pinot that leaves a great deal of satisfaction. AirNZ Pure Gold. 14% alc. $33.99. 7Feb2018.

Bannock Brae Goldfields Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Deep ruby violet. Succulent aromatics of juicy cherries and macerated grapes with hints of woodsmoke in the distance, this is a gorgeous, concentrated, intense and opulent Pinot Noir with a deep savoury complexity and plush velvety tannins, plums and bittersweet cherries and a spicy flare to the gorgeously long finish with the lingering taste juicy and complex with some lovely smoky notes and touches of roasted thyme. 14.3% alc. $19.99. 16Sep2015.

Charcoal Gully Sally's Pinch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) The colour is a medium dense black cherry and the aromatics are earthy and sensuous and while it seems like quite a dry savoury wine with a fine and still firm tannin structure, there is a fabulous juicy thread running through. Medium bodied for Central, but ticks all the boxes with its cranberry and bittersweet cherry fruit, a touch of chocolate and an anise note to the spices. A wine with satisfying length and presence at this stage it needs to be enjoyed with food to offset the tannins – I’m thinking whole mushrooms slowly braised with thyme. 14% alc. $27.99. 28Jan2015.

Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (c)This deep Burgundy-hued wine is so sensuous, so vinously evocative, so fine tannined, so savoury, so silky, so luscious - it exhibits its ripe fruit beautifully. The taste is sweet yet savoury; sweet yet spicy; sweet yet earthy - you get my gist. Cracked bittersweet berry fruit (Chilean guava comes to mind) , cakes spices, an endearing savouriness, a youthful varnishy edge that will integrate beautifully with a little more time, and the texture on the lingering finish is smooth, sensual and rounded. 14% alc. $45.00. 21Apr2015.

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Ruby marone with a sweet perfume of rosehips and cherries with nuances of smoky bacon. A sultry savoury wine, rather seductive from the outset, with spiced cherries, caramelised oak, hints of anise-like spices and a sweet earthy depth. Persistent and flavoursome on the lingering finish but quite primary at the moment, leaving behind a dry, slightly puckery mouthfeel. An age-worthy wine that needs more time and will definitely reward with cellaring. This label is superb with a little age. 13.5% alc. $51.99. 16Jul2014.

Freeland Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby. Smoky savoury aromas are infused with cherries and cake spices and the red berry flavours have well-honed spicy oak, hints of thyme and bright acidity imparting and edgy brightness and freshness to the firm but finely textured finish. 14.2% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Giesen Single Vineyard Clayvin Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Immediately rich, ripe and almost voluptuous on the nose with savouriness welling up from the bowl of the glass. Then in the palate it is full bodied and mouthfilling with a velvety feel to the flow. It’s bright and spicy with hints of anise, purple fruits, a touch of lavender and even a touch of pepper with a long tasty finish. A sensuous pinot from an excellent vintage. 14.5% alc. $51.99. 23Aug2017.

Gladstone Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Rich, deep garnet/tamarillo hue. The bouquet smells ripe and inviting – is that a hint of mocha joining the juicy cherry fruit and creamy oak veneer? Upfront spiciness to the flavours – cake spices, oak spice, mulled wine spices – and bright cherry and macerated strawberry fruit underpinned by much deeper concentrated redcurrant fruit, earthy tones and hints of anise-y herbs and liquorice. Mouthcoating with pillowy tannins while the fruit lift continues all the way through. Then after several sips the lifted tones are offset by a sumptuous and vinous concentration. This Wairarapa wine is full-bodied and rich and can stand up to the best. 13.5 alc. $39. 20May2016.

Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 Deep but still translucent ruby / purple hue. The bouquet is aromatic and inviting, redolent of antique polished furniture with a sweet/sour cherry richness and vinous complexity – it smells smooth and sensual. Spicy, bright and fresh to the taste with a mouthfilling savouriness accented with citrus peel and thyme. It’s satisfying right from the first sip with a succulent maraschino / silken chocolate veneer and while the tannins are firm, the succulence of the fruit creates harmony. Fantastic match to lamb shanks cooked with tomato, rosemary, thyme and olives with a little cranberry jelly added to the sauce at the end, and exceptional with braised shallots – the shallots have a sweetness that is the perfect foil for the savouriness of the wine. Tasted over two nights, the second night the tannins had lost their slightly grippy edge and the whole package now more ‘rounded and smooth. 13% alc. $32. 9Apr2015.
Translucent in its light ruby-violet appearance with a bouquet that is fruity and inviting. A fine textured wine with a savoury richness, sweet and sour cherries, dried cranberries, nuances of rosehips, hints of mocha and touches of lemon thyme. There's a great vinous flow after the initial grip is chased away and a beautifully expansive finish. A wine to put in the cellar right now and enjoy the foresight you had to do this in 3 or 4 years time. 13% alc. $29.99. 29Apr2015.

Greystone Waipara Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) The colour of this wine is vivid, purple-tinged ruby with reasonable denseness. The bouquet is so evocative of woodsmoke, polished oak, mulled wine spices, black cherries and plums … all these traits following through to the rich, juicy palate that has a silky edge to the smooth velvety tannins. Underlying acidity inputs freshness to the finish and lingers with a tingly brightness. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 14Jan2015.

Jules Taylor Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 This deep ruby red wine smells full-bodied, succulent and fruity from the outset and the taste is indeed full and luscious yet underlying acidity packs a zesty punch and there is intriguing pepper-like spice. A darker, more brooding style of wine with firm tannins, a nuggety savoury undercurrent and a long full finish that’s full of generous, plumped-up dried cranberries and plums, then on the lingering aftertaste a touch of chocolate comes through. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 29Apr2015.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Ruby garnet, youthful in appearance. The bouquet is powerful with a dried rose petal potpourri and spice penetrating the savoury aura. In the mouth it has reasonably firm tannins, hints of roasted rosemary, an earthy savouriness and a slight struck match reductive character at first but underneath there's a plumpness to the sweet berry fruit and a silky flow. The crowd pleaser of the pair as voted by the hands-up poll. 13% alc. $22.99. 6Apr2016.
Hinting of a little age with a starting-to-brick translucent garnet hue while the bouquet offers up smoked Morello cherries and the taste is gamey and savoury with touches of dried herbs, some grip to the tannins and a touch of cranberry fleshing out the incredibly dry finish. This definitely needs to be accompanied with food. 13% alc. $26.99. 25Jan2017.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Black cherry red. Savoury yet juicy on the nose – the characters I smell are fruit cake spices and cherries with smoky savoury oak in the background. It's a vibrant, spicy, fruit driven Pinot Noir, tannins have a rubbed velvet feel, nice touch of toasty oak in the savoury background and the finish is soft and juicy and fairly dry. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 4Feb2015.

Lowburn Ferry Home Block Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This rich ruby-purple hued wine is enticingly fragrant with a delightful floral note infusing the spiced cherry aromatics with a pleasing earthy aura and a touch of dried thyme. There’s considerable depth to the flavours with the savouriness an upfront highlight together with spiced mushrooms, an edgy touch of herb and juicy bittersweet fruits of the forest bringing the long succulent finish all into balance. Firm with fine tannins, an outstanding wine. 14% alc. $47.99. 3Dec2014.
Light ruby red with moderate colour depth. There's a pretty perfume of savoury oak with hints of strawberry chocolate and wild thyme flowers adding a pleasing floral allure. A fine textured wine in the mouth with still some youthful grip to the tannins and a deeply savoury undercurrent yet has lovely red cherry / cranberry / wild strawberry fruit that balances the savouriness beautifully and woody herb notes. Hints of chocolate emerge on the finish and the lingering mouthfeel is creamy and rounded. Gets better and better as it opens up in the glass. 14% alc. $44.99. 29Apr2015.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This wine smells gorgeous with its bouquet of red and black cherries with a touch of dried roses and an earthy savoury depth and the taste is varnishy oak with plump red fruit, quite pronounced acidity and a full chewy finish. Later the bouquet becomes quite chocolatey - like chocolate coated cherries - and the taste is spicy with a bittersweet jammy red fruit brightness and a fruit cake spiciness - the varnishy oak has melded and the whole effect is velvety, plush and pleasing. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 19Jul2015.

Martinborough Vineyards Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This is a monumental Pinot Noir with wonderful mouthfeel and flow. Its dark in colour. The bouquet has waves of floral notes, forest floor, Shrewsbury biscuit jam, tar, earth and game. The taste is concentrated and mouthfilling with a momentary peppery zing quickly enveloped by plump fruit and pillowy tannins. Typical Martinborough fruit of cherries, bittersweet red berries and touches of guava jelly with integrated smoky oak and gamey savoury notes. An outstanding and ethereal pinot that reveals more and more with every sip. 13.5% alc. $59.99. 15Mar2017.

Matua Single Vineyard Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 Ruby with flashes of maroon, and although a year newer than the Lowburn wine it is more translucent and not as deep in hue. The bouquet is perfumed and savoury with hints of cherries and a waft of thyme flower, and it’s fine and silky in the plate with warmth spicy oak and a sensual feel to the flow - it may be lighter in colour but certainly delivers in taste. Fruit is intriguing, almost blue fruit says Nikolai, with delightful savouriness and a long dry finish layered with succulence and intrigue. A resplendent example of harmony. 14% alc. $49.99. 15Apr2015.

Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby in hue with a creamy oak and red fruit aroma. Fine textured with a silky flow, vibrant fruit impressions of strawberries and black cherries with smoky oak, a deep earthy savoury undercurrent and a bright spicy finish. Subtle mint/herbal notes too. Concentrated, big, opulent, succulent, generous, complete. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Gorgeous aromatics, violets, dried herbs, sweet oak and red berries. Similarly seductive in the smooth creamy palate with a lovely smoky savoury oak undercurrent, earthy nuances, cake spices, hints of rose petals, fragrant herbs and anise. Lovely use of oak and a pleasing grip to the long, juicy, succulent finish. 14.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Mount Brown Estate Waipara Pinot Noir 2013 Rich dark red with violet purple edges. Sweet, rich and savoury smelling with a musky floral allure and hints of Turkish Delight – the fruit sweet impression from the nose carries through to the palate, where there is an intriguing grapefruit-like zestiness together with bittersweet red fruits, a savoury undercurrent and a mulled wine spiciness. Plush, smooth, velvet-edged tannins impart a soft mouthfeel and all together, it is a very rewarding wine. 14% alc. $19.99. 6May2015.

Mount Brown Grand Reserve Waipara Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright purple ruby with a shimmery translucency. The bouquet is red fruit creamy with a soft, smooth, vanillin oak allure. A little edgy, herbal and sappy on the first taste yet it smooths out beautifully with gorgeous silky, velvet-edged tannins and very concentrated, almost jammy, plum and black cherry fruit. Just needs a little time for the acidity to settle down. 14% alc. $26.99. 19Aug2015.
This deep maroon-hued wine has a inviting bouquet of cherry jam and earthy savoury complexities. Full of flavour in the palate, it's bold, spicy, warm, savoury and toasty with velvet-edged silky tannins and bittersweet red fruits – like poached tamarillo in mulled wine spices - and a citrussy brightness to the finish comes to mind. The fruit profile sets off the savouriness of the wine beautifully. I can see what endeared the judges to this when they awarded it three trophies at the Boutique Wine Awards in Australia. What a great buy! 14% alc. $26.99. 13Jan2016.

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) The bouquet is earthy and savoury with red and black cherry fruit, perhaps even a hint of fresh blueberry, all following through to the palate where a spicy richness comes through with a touch of chocolate and a crushed velvet flow. It seems a little stalky on the finish, which can be polarizing, but that's a winemaking decision to hone in the voluptuous nature of Central grown Pinot Noir grapes. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 7Jan2015.

Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby hued. Succulent cherries with sweet smoky oak and a sprinkling of thyme and rose petals waft on the bouquet. The taste is juicy and fine textured with a medium-bodied presence and velvety tannins emerging. Succulent cherries and red berries with underlying dried herbs, savoury oak and sweet floral notes, violets perhaps, and a long juicy, concentrated finish. A touch of bittersweet as the wine lingers. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Mud House Claim 431 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Perfumed and beguiling sweet smoky oak, vanilla, spices, brambles and black cherries fill the bouquet and it tastes concentrated and creamy textured with a juicy lusciousness to the cherry and purple plum flavours. There’s light grip to the tannins, a brooding smoky savoury undercurrent, a light dusting of chocolate and the finish has great length. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.
From the Bendigo sub-region, this has a wonderfully rich, dense, lustrous purple red hue. It’s a brooding smoky, savoury pinot in the glass tonight, the aroma is a little closed and the flavours initially a little varnishy with sumptuous tannins still firm and tight though they mellow as wine traverses the palate. Fruit is in the boysenberry and plum spectrum with hints of anise and the finish is bright. A wine to decant if drinking right now, otherwise put away for a while. 14% alc. $24.99. 25Feb2015.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Ruby garnet hue. The bouquet is cherry with a waft of oak and the most subtle hint of anise. Initially spicy, woody and savoury to the taste with a little stalky quiver that together with the upfront furry tannins and lifted acidity make it seem quite tight and youthful. Yet there is an elegance to the flow and the lingering aftertaste brims with dark cherries and spice and vinosity. This blend from the Bendigo and Pisa subregions presents as more savoury than fruity at this stage of its life. A good one to cellar. 13.5% alc. $36.99. 24Aug2016.

Peregrine Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Smoky and savoury with a smooth silky flow, creamy oak and fruit that is reminiscent of raspberries and cherries, a little confectionary maybe, but there's a well balanced spiciness with a touch of pepper momentarily on the finish that balances it nicely. An easy drinking style for summer nights. 13% alc. $23.99. 7Jan2015.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby in colour and gorgeously fragrant with smoky oak, red berries and spices. Concentrated and layered in the palate with a sweet spicy oak flourish. Juicy cherry, hints of anise, an earthy mushroom-like complexity and violets. Gorgeous silky tannin structure and a velvety mouthfeel. A touch of chocolate emerging on the finish. One of my favourites. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.
Bright ruby red with flashes of crimson. Powerful red fruit aromatics are embellished with sweet smoky oak. Plump and spicy to the taste with raspberry chocolate, perhaps even Turkish Delight chocolate, a perfectly honed touch of fruit cake spices and sweet savoury oak in the background. A juicy, succulent Pinot with plush velvety tannins, delicious mouthfeel and flow. Another stunner from one of my favourite labels. 14% alc. $39.99. 29Apr2015.
Black cherry hue with luminous translucency. The bouquet of this wine is so beautiful, evocative, seductive and savoury with vanilla, cherries and a waft of woodsmoke in the distance. Quite smoky and savoury on first tasting with a hint of bacon but the fruit is so ripe it gives an impression of sweetness but of course the wine is dry with a decent whack of acidity to boot. The texture is interesting - smooth and velvety on entry but then the tannins seem momentarily unresolved as the succulent after taste lingers - this is when food will make this beautiful wine reach the high notes. Matched to a pumpkin, feta and spinach frittata with a side of sautéed mushrooms and bacon. 14% alc. $45.00. 28Oct2015.

Sacred Hill Orange Label Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Deeply translucent pink garnet maroon / ruby edge. A little dusty on the nose, it evokes scents of dried raspberries and tamarillo dusted across a plate as a garnish. It’s aromatically redolent of bittersweet red fruit, cake spices and savoury notes – it evokes a sense of fullness too. Yes, savoury, rustic and leathery in the palate, a bittersweet wine for sure – it is medium-bodied in palate weight with salami spices, the tannins are a little grippy and dry and overall the wine is a little short. Dry and grainy/dusty upfront – more vinosity to the finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 9Mar2015.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 15 'Strip Block' Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Rich ruby marone in colour with very attractive aromas of spiced plums and chocolate-coated cherries with a sense of savoury oak loitering in the background. Spicy and savoury and initially quite dry in the palate with firm silk-edged tannins yet there is a suppleness and fruit sweetness pushing through and leaves behind a rounded and pleasing mouthfeel, but in the taste department it is the savouriness of this wine that wins on the day - the lovely savoury earthy signature of Pinot the lasting impression. 13% alc. $28.99. 18Mar2015.

Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby hue. Bittersweet cherry aromas and flavours of juicy cherry fruits infused with spicy savoury oak with a silky smooth texture and a succulent medium-bodied finish. Easy drinking, lovely flow. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.
Attractive ruby hued with a gem-like translucency, this has a beguiling fragrance with subtle floral notes, toasty wood smoke and black cherries. Fine textured, silky, smoky and savoury in the medium-bodied palate with bittersweet cherry fruit and a smooth succulent finish. Fabulous wine for an under $20 price. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 15Oct2014.
There is some transparency to the light maroon hue which makes you think this is a lighter style but it totally delivers. The key here is don’t let the colour fool you because the bouquets offers up an earthy savouriness and there are all the typical hard to describe smoky, savoury flavours with bittersweet red fruits, Christmas cake spices, a smooth and silky flow and just a touch of grip to the tannins to endorse its class. Fabulous buying and perfect for entertaining the masses. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 26Nov2014.

Satellite Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Seemingly a lighter styled pinot with its translucent ruby hue, but there is plenty of oomph in this silky fruit driven style. There an enticing smoky nuance to the light red fruits scent and a pleasing spicy savoury undercurrent to the cranberry and raspberry fruit with a touch of vanillin on the lifted finish. Made by Spy Valley. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 8Oct2014.
There's a translucency to the medium red hue of this lighter styled wine. It's a more herbal style of Pinot Noir with an edgy bite and while the smoky French oak seems a little dominant at first, as do the firm tannins, they both meld in nicely. Fruit is in the red guava, cranberry, tamarillo spectrum and the finish is juicy and bright. Made by Spy Valley. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 25Feb2015.

Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Clear ruby with cerise tints. Very fragrant with violet candies and cherryish - quite a sweet perfume. The violets come through in the smooth succulent juicy red fruit palate with lovely savoury notes in behind, hints of cinnamon, fruit cake spices and it finishes dry. Nice expression on the finish for such an early release. Seems very quaffable but would go well with mushrooms, bacon etc. 12.5% alc. $17.95. 12Nov2013.
Soft, smooth and super drinkable with a silky texture and a touch of jaffa-infused acidity. It’s a lighter styled pinot noir with sweet red fruit over savoury oak and while the first taste seems a little herbal and edgy, the juicy sweetness comes through and the components balance nicely with spiced cherries, macerated plums, a touch of mulled wine spices and a fleshy feel to the finish. 12.5% alc. $16.99. 1Mar2015.

Soho McQueen Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby in hue. Smoky French oak infuses the juicy plum and cherry scents that carry through to the juicy and succulent palate where bright spicy notes complement underlying earthy savoury features. The tannins are fine and silky with a little bit of grip and zesty acidity adds flare to the finish with the savoury oak joining red guava as the wine lingers. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Spinyback Nelson Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Youthful tamarillo / cherry hue. Quite a complex, layered savoury bouquet with vinous complexity and bittersweet red fruits. Smoky to the taste, and quite bitey and youthful with a stalky overtone to the bittersweet red fruit - redcurrants come foremost to mind. Fleshes out well with a touch of redcurrant jelly. Overall a light, simple style. 13.5% alc. $18.00. 18Jun2015.

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc)

Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Medium dark ruby in hue. Perfumed and bright with floral notes emanating softness and beauty. Full and fleshy in the mouth with a meaty richness, a spicy brightness, plum, cherry and cranberry fruit over a savoury oak backbone and though the tannins seem a little grippy to start, the lasting memory of the wine is that it is rounded, velvety and plush. A beautiful match to baked mushrooms stuffed with mushroom pate . 13.5% alc. $34.00. 19Jul2015.
This seductive looking, deep maroon-hued pinot has hints of chocolate and spiced tamarillo conserve on the nose and smooth, silky and creamy is the first taste impression. It’s a full, fleshy red with a spicy brightness, berry fruit sweetness and a chocolatey oak undercurrent that complements the earthy notes, pepper and hints of thyme quite beautifully. Definitely a crowd pleaser. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 2Dec2015.

Super Nanny Goat Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby hued with a deep red centre. Fragrant and spicy with sweet smoky oak and red berries filling the bouquet. Velvety and opulent in the beautifully rounded velvety palate, this gorgeous mouth-filling wine just flows. There’s black cherries, plums, hints of chocolate, violets, rose petals, dried herbs and cake spices with savoury oak and underlying acidity providing the finishing flare. Great presence all the way through. 14.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Tatty Bogler Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Deep cherry red. Quite smoky and savoury on the nose with a lovely woody herb nuance wafting through the musky fruit. A fresh, crisp, youthful pinot with a velvet-coated mouthfeel, lovely purity of bittersweet fruit and a very dry finish. 13.5% alc. $35.99. 18Jan2016.

Te Awa Left Field Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Light ruby in hue with a dry brambly aroma and later a berry fruit brightness and hints of rose petals. A lighter style of pinot noir that's initially quite dry and grippy with tamarillo and cranberry fruit and a mushroom note to the finish that compounds in richness. Too dry to be a quaffer - it needs food - would work well with lamb with a redcurrant sauce. 13% alc. $17.99. 19Jul2015.

Te Kairanga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013 Moderate dark red in colour, this has a beguiling savoury aroma infused with the fruit flavours of spiced bottled cherries and plums. The spice comes through more prominently in the palate – mulled wine spices like cinnamon bark with nuances of fresh lavender and dried thyme, a dried rose petal prettiness and a funky, gamey savouriness. Juicy with a firm tannin structure to support the finish, yet in the pinot noir realm it is a lighter style wine. 14% alc. $21.99. 29Apr2015.

Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright and youthful in hue with purple plum highlights and the bouquet, infused with cracked red berry fruit, smells velvety and divine. Powerful in its palate presence, with flavours reminiscent of braised mushrooms in anise, smoky bacon, cherries and thyme, this is a big wine in the context of many pinots coming out of Central Otago recently, but it is silky and fine at the same time. Exceptional quality for the price. Delicious wine. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 27Aug2014.

Terra Sancta Shingle Beach Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) The edges are thinning on the fading ruby garnet hue. Sweet strawberry and red cherry fruit fill the bouquet with a savoury gamey undertone. It's a medium-bodied wine and quite dry on first tasting with savoury, gamey, smoky, spicy oak and sappy herb notes, a little bit of grip to the chalky tannins and ripe red berry fruit together with violets pushing through on the satisfying, rounded, lingering finish. A versatile food matching wine. 12.5% alc. $40.99. 7Feb2018.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Deep translucent Burgundy red with a complex bouquet of woodsmoke and cherries. In the mouth the texture is sensually smooth with a nice little grip at the end. Black cherry fruit combines with smoky savoury notes lifted by a herbaceous sweetness. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 25Nov2015.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 Rich pink-edged ruby purple with some opacity to the depth. Red fruits, candied coated herbs and sweet oak aromas make the bouquet very opulent and appealing. Deeply savoury to the taste with a rustic, herbal edge, and a momentary touch of black pepper, but overall a plush, opulent wine with a succulent cranberry jelly finish and great depth and flow. 14% alc. $43.99. 29Apr2015.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Deep maroon with a ruby-edged brightness. Gorgeous toasty oak and cherry conserve aromatics are embossed with an enticing savoury demure. Full-bodied, spicy, deeply savoury and textural with moderately firm tannins for the variety – this is a great indicator of the ageing potential and having tasted verticals of Southern Clays it definitely has the heritage to develop beautifully in the bottle. Full of purple plums with black cherries and red-currants, this is a stunning pinot with concentration, power and intricacy. 14% alc. $46.99. 11Nov2015.

Wild South Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 (sc) Light ruby red. Quite a fresh, inviting jammy aroma with a delicate smoky aura and hints of thyme, quite concentrated in a way. A fresh, flavoursome, savoury Pinot with dark cherry fruit and a lively touch of spice accented with a hint of mint and a long, ripe-fruited finish. While it has just the slightest feel of grip to the finish it’s otherwise smooth and juicy all the way through and makes for easy summer sipping. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 13Dec2015.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) This youthful fruity number is shiny, crimson-tinged dark ruby with smoky cake spice notes on the nose and cinnamon-like nuances most dominant in the palate with juicy black cherries and a beguiling smoky savoury note in behind. Acidity is fresh and the tannins still a little firm - they will integrate nicely with a little more time. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 30Apr2014.
Dark, rich and bright in colour. It looks good and the aroma and taste immediately hit the spot. It's all black cherries, creamy oak, velvety tannins and spices with well-balanced earthy savouriness and a long, full finish with just the right amount of acidity imparting the peacock tail flare. Fabulous value for so much succulence and richness. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 7Jan2015.

2012 Vintage [top] [index]

Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This has a translucent ruby hue and primary black cherry fruit shines through both on the nose and in the spicy, savoury palate that has an earthy, savoury undercurrent with a bit of a woody edge. Tannins are fine but still firm and the wine is structured, concentrated and complex with excellent potential to age. 14% alc. $37.99. 5Mar2014.
Bright ruby in hue with fragrant aromatics, it’s full-bodied and concentrated in the spicy savoury palate with morellos, cranberries and perhaps a touch of red guava with dried herbs, rose petals and a nuance of wood smoke. Incredible succulence throughout with exciting brightness and length with a beautifully defined silky finesse. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Deep ruby maroon. Chocolate and cherries are in harmony with savoury oak on the bouquet and the silky textured taste is spicy and creamy with Morello cherries, cranberries, underlying woodsmoke and herbs. Lovely concentration, fruit succulence and length with a touch of orange zest as the gorgeous flavours linger. 14% alc. $37.99. 17Sep2014.

Akarua Rua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Magenta rimmed purple red. Earthy nuances to the (anise-infused) spicy oak scent, firm and just a little grippy in the palate, with a spicy, almost peppery flourish. Lovely fruit balance – spiced cherries, plums and even a suggestion of chocolate on the succulent, lip smacking finish. From Bannockburn, this is very tasty and one of the better Pinots tasted from 2012 so far. 14% alc. $21.99. 10Jul2013.

Archangel Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) There's a brightness to the black cherry hue and the bouquet has an enticing smoky savoury allure with a Morello cherry overtone. Quite firm in the palate with crushed velvet tannins, noticeable upfront acidity that melds into the cranberry and plum flavours, a very appealing smoky undercurrent and a long savoury finish. Quite a meaty wine and seemingly quite youthful, enjoy now or let it continue to evolve in your cellar for a while. From a vineyard between Queensberry and Luggate on SH6, closer to Wanaka than Cromwell. A label to watch. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 10Jun2015.

Ceres Composition Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Very deep dark and rich both in colour and flavour, this is a bit of a blockbuster as far as pinot noirs go, yet still retains essential and enthralling pinosity. It is fragrantly scented and rich and full-flavoured with a vibrant spicy zesty infusion to the bright red fruit flavours that are underpinned by a compelling gamey savouriness, and finishes with a dusting of chocolate dust and lingering mushroom notes. Bannockburn fruit. 14% alc. $33.99. 29Oct2014.

Charcoal Gully Sally's Pinch Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) There's a dark cherry colour to the hue of this beautifully fragrant and inviting pinot with aromas of smoky savoury oak, roasted herbs and spiced macerated red cherries. But it is intriguingly more savoury than fruity in the silk-edged velvety textured palate with a herb and citrus brightness to the finish that is embossed with wild rose hips and brambles with underlying hints of mocha. From Central’s Pisa sub-region. 14% alc. $27.99. 29Oct2014.

Chard Farm Finla Mor Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This is a much fuller style of Pinot with a ruby colour, savoury aromas, velvety tannins, spicy oak and generous plum and black cherry fruit. Dry, spicy, earthy and a little gamey on the finish, you could call this a 'funky' style. 13.5% alc. $42.99. 8Jan2014.

Clos Henri Petit Clos Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) The nose of this medium-weight garnet red coloured wine is shy but reveals hints of cherries. It's very dry and has quite firm tannins in the palate, which is unusual for NZ pinot but probably a result of French winemaking influence. A lovely savoury beetrooty Pinot, which expands beautifully in the palate and leaves a lingering taste of cranberries and cherries. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 8Jan2014.

Escarpment Single Vineyard 'Pahi' Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012 (c) (sc) A deeply translucent ruby garnet hued wine with dark berry fruit aromatics infusing creamy vanillin oak - it smells layered and complex. While initially muscular and tight with velvet-rubbed-the-wrong-way tannins, this smoky, savoury wine opens up to reveal a warm texture with plums, cherries, creamy oak and a long, deep, multifaceted finish. One to cellar or decant now and serve in a Burgundy glass for the utmost enjoyment. 12.5% alc. $69.99. 3Jun2015.

Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Bright pinky red. Smoky and savoury on the nose with a subtle fragrance of Central Otago's wild thyme. Juicy and savoury with underlying acidity providing brightness and zing. Lovely tannin structure, it has some grip but that is part of this wine's charm. Full-bodied, sensual and savoury with spiced cherries on the long succulent finish. This and the Akarua tasted alongside it show great promise for Central Otago 2012. 14% alc. $51.99. 10Jul2013.

Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Vibrant deep ruby black hue. Very generous on the inviting nose with nuances of chocolate and cherries. Full bodied and juicy to the taste with creamy oak, opulent black cherry and plum fruit and a smooth harmonious flow with a spicy flourish to the finish and some lovely savoury notes as the wine lingers. Perhaps a little bit of grip too. Like the potential here for aging. 13.5% alc. $43.99. 27Nov2013.

Greystone Waipara Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deep ruby red with an almost black core. Wonderfully attractive aromatics - fruity yet funky in an exciting and evocative way. Full bodied and creamy with black cherries and rose petals underpinned by a deep earthy savouriness and tannins that are remarkably silky and fine. Such a gorgeous texture to this wine. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 4Dec2013.
Dark red coloured with an earthy savoury aroma, and deep and savoury to the taste with creamy oak adding softness and hints of mocha and spice in behind. A plush little number with pillowy tannins, it brims with black cherry and cranberry fruit and there's a burst of freshness to the long seductive finish. 14% alc. $27.99. 15Jan2014.
Bright ruby purple with a beguiling aroma of cherries and plums infused with evocative funky tones but surprisingly quite savoury and earthy in the silky textured palate on first tasting. Then that lovely fruit profile wells up through the savoury layers with a sensual smokiness coming into play too. Smooth and fine with a firm touch to the finish and a flourish of oak spice lingering long, tasty finish. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 26Feb2014.

Gunn Estate Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Quite ruby in colour, this is immediately generous, fruity and mouthfilling with sweet, ripe fruit that's heading towards jammy. I taste plums and prunes and then ribena. A smooth, soft style of pinot with cigar box-like oak, a touch of leather and a hint of mushroom. Pinot for Merlot drinkers because it really doesn’t taste like Pinot Noir at all. Far too jammy and sweet for me. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 26Apr2013.

Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich ruby maroon with heady scents of crushed chocolate biscuits, dried thyme, dry roasted rosemary and black cherries. A meaty, savoury tasting pinot with smooth tannins imparting a creamy texture, a herbal infusion and juicy Morello cherry fruit all melding together for the rich, flavoursome finish. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 29Oct2014.

Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This has a vibrant ruby violet hue with an inviting sweet smoky scent encompassing aromas of bottled red cherries. Vibrantly fruity in the palate – again bottled red cherries come to mind – with a hint of vanilla, a lovely savoury inflection, a touch of salami and mushrooms braised in fragrant spices and thyme. The fruit is plump and juicy, almost luscious, but there is well balanced acidity while the tannins are silky with a firm edge and the wine finishes dry. 12.5% alc. $24.99. 11Jun2014.
This velvet-like deep ruby-hued pinot has an inviting gamey infusion to both the earthy savoury aromas and flavours that are interweaved with smoky oak, spiced plums, bottled cherries and thyme. The reasonably firm tannin structure and meaty depth is one clue to the region despite the perceived ripeness and plushness. The balance of fruit and savouriness is quite divine and the finish is silky and long. 12.5% alc. $22.99. 14Jan2015.

Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Bright ruby hued with smoky savoury aromas infused with spiced berries and dried herbs and full-bodied and creamy to the taste with mouth-coating velvety tannins, succulent cherry and plum fruit, underlying dried herbs, hints of rose petal, spicy oak and a long smoky savoury finish. Very rich and generous. Firm structured with opulent sweetness. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Martinborough Vineyards Te Tera Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Translucent purple red with a very inviting bouquet that's delicately spicy and floral with sensual gamey notes coming through. It has a gorgeous fine silky texture with flavours reminiscent of violets and juicy sun-ripened red and purple berries, and the finish is savoury and long. Very stylish and great buying at the price. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 6Nov2013.

Matua Lands & Legends Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 Translucent red garnet with flashes of ruby. The scent is a little meaty and gamey with bottled raspberries and dusty oak adding to the aromatic intrigue. Rustic and herbal in the palate, heading towards savoury, with succulent bittersweet dark red fruits, a fine texture, a dry finish and a little flourish of zest. Medium bodied style and an all round pleaser. 14% alc. $24.99. 15Apr2015.

Matua Single Vineyard Lowburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 Rich ruby maroon with moderate depth, youthful and bright in appearance. Powerfully aromatic with succulent red and black fruits, dusty oak and a little confectionary edge that in this example is very pleasing. Full-bodied, spicy and savoury tasting with body and soul – it's simply outstanding from the outset. Fruit is powerful but so in balance with the oak, herb and savoury components that make up the whole. Nice touch of salinity in the spicy oak finish that adds even more interest to this deep dark drop of deliciousness with subtle nuances of chocolate begin to emerge. 14% alc. $49.99. 15Apr2015.

Mission Reserve Martinborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Pale pinky red, translucent, like cherry juice in a way. Typical earthy savoury scents of the variety and the first impression in the medium-bodied palate is quite savoury / herbal / dusty / earthy in a low level ‘Bourgogne Rouge’ kind of way. The tannins are soft and wallowy and the red fruits are a little confectionary (think jubes) with the sweetness brought into check by a peppery / herbaceous tang. Quite different from the gold medal 2011 of this label, this is a quaffer that is not to be taken seriously. 14% alc. $19.99. 13May2015.

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Moderate weight purple ruby hue. Hints of macerated strawberry and cherry on the slightly restrained scent, then dry and savoury in the medium weight palate. Undeniably Pinot Noir with its soft smooth tannins, bittersweet red fruits and subtle herb notes, it's ready to enjoy now. 14% alc. $25.99. 12Feb2014.

Ruby garnet in hue with a candied cherry aroma that has a savoury aura and an enticing anise-like spiciness wafting through. Quite dry in the palate, it has sautéed mushroom and bacon notes and distinctive woody herb savouriness with bittersweet cherry fruit, rosehips and aromatic spices. There is just a touch of grip to the fine textured tannins and an underlying brightness that carries the finish but it is to be noted it needs a bit of cuddly warmth before serving at this time of year (i.e. winter in NZ). Gold Medal Decanter 2014. 14% alc. $25.99. 23Jul2014.

Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Ruby maroon in hue with a lovely smoky savoury cherry bouquet, it's spicy and a little gamey in the medium to full-bodied palate with hints of rosemary and musky rose petal characters, juicy berry fruit, a dry savoury backbone, velvet-edged silky tannins and a long bright finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 18Sep2013.

Mud House Claim 431 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark pinky red. Perfumed with earth, game, fragrant spices and black cherries, this enticingly scented wine tastes immediately appealing with its super smooth texture, juicy red fruits and hints of chocolate beautifully supported by a spicy, savoury undercurrent with thyme-like herbs infusing the long silky finish. Soft, rounded and velvety all the way through, it’s an irresistible style of Pinot. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 25Jun2014.

Nanny Goat 'Super Nanny' Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Exciting woodsmoke on the nose, then in the palate it is lifted and spicy with beautifully balanced oak in the background together with hints of thyme, Xmas cake spices, plums and cherries and appealing smoky savoury flavours lingering. It seems soft, sensual and velvety but the firm, assertive finish shows its youth. 14.2% alc. $45.99. 6Aug2014.

Peregrine Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deeply translucent pink-edged ruby in hue. Inviting sweet cherry notes infuse the earthy savoury and lightly smoky scent - it smells almost confectionary / cherry jam in the most nicest of ways. Quite dry on entry into the palate, and a little meaty, but the fruit is just beautiful – fruits of the forest I’d say, and forest floor with cake spices lifting the rounded finish. Fine tannins still have a lightly furry feel. Seems more of a medium bodied style for the region but it has incredible savour and length. It needs to be served in a big glass or decanted as I can see it starting to evolve in the XL5 tasting glass but the next wine is waiting to be poured. 13.5% alc. $37.99. 25Mar2015.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark ruby with touches of purple. The bouquet emanates an exciting herbal savouriness with a spicy brightness and an earthy mushroom intrigue, these traits carrying through to the sensual silky textured palate where they are joined by bittersweet cherry and cranberry fruit with bright zesty orange citrus notes coming through. Compounding in power, with a lick of chocolate to the lovely smoky, savoury finish, this stand-out wine is made from Parkburn and Gibbston Valley fruit. 14% alc. $39.99. 29Oct2014.

Saint Clair Block 14 Doctors Creek Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark cherry red with sweet berry fruit on the nose and a rich, powerful presence in the palate. It's juicy, almost luscious, with gentle tannins, a spicy flourish and those almost funky, hard to describe bittersweet red fruits on the lingering finish. A show of hands proved this wine was very popular on the night. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 6Nov2013.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich ruby hued. The enticing savoury aroma is infused with spiced cherries and woodsmoke then it’s full-bodied and velvety in the palate with anise-spiced mushrooms and juicy black cherries with a meaty undercurrent and a bright flourish to the long creamy finish. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.

Sileni The Plateau Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2012(sc) Dark ruby with dark cherry hints. The bouquet is floral with juicy cherry notes and a touch of spice. Ah, this is so much more complex (than the early release 2013) in flavour profile and bodyweight. A touch of spice, more citrussy, sumac-like spices. Dry and concentrated, lovely array of juicy red/black cherry. Some interesting stalky notes coming through on the finish keeps the sweet fruit in check. Lovely mouthcoating textural complexity and very desirable hints of anise. 13% alc. $34.95. 12Nov2013.

Terra Sancta Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Ruby in hue with a touch of purple, the slightly floral bouquet emanates earthy notes with fragrant spicy red berries. While initially it seems slightly grippy and edgy it becomes quite creamy with red berries, early season plums, smoky savoury notes, dried herbs and a touch of citrus that morphs into jaffa that is very appealing. Bannockburn fruit. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 29Oct2014.

Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich ruby red with a gorgeous aroma that emanates spiced cherries and plums with a lovely savoury note wafting through, the succulent fruit a feature in the juicy palate together with smoky, savoury, gamey notes and a spicy touch of anise. Smooth and just so easy to like. 14.3% alc. $21.99. 25Sep2013.

Terrace Edge Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deep purple ruby with a glossy sheen. Aromatic, smoky and savoury with spiced cherry, rose petal and musky scents and flavours that are bright and spicy with a floral allure, a hint of chocolate, underlying smoky bacon savouriness and thyme-like herbs. Firmly structured but very silky, lovely purity and a texture that is caressing and seductive – a young wine with a long way to go. 13% alc. $26.99. 2Oct2013.

Thistle Ridge Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Medium weight ruby hue. Quite plummy on the nose with a smoky, savoury infusion. Spicy and savoury with fine silky tannins, dried cherry and cranberry fruit, underlying smoky oak and a bright, almost floral nuance to the long dry, smooth, rounded finish. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 27Nov2013.
The aroma of this wine is so seductive – black cherries, a touch of smoky savoury oak, perhaps even chocolate. And it's deliciously savoury with a super smooth flowing mouthfeel, a juicy sweetness to the black cherry and berry jam fruit and firmness to the lingering finish. Made by rising Waipara star Greystone, this has all of the qualities you look for in everyday drinking Pinot at a very tempting price. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 3Dec2014.

Thornbury Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Intense deep purple red with an inky depth, there's woodsmoke on the nose and it's quite dry to the taste yet has a very appealing smooth rounded texture. It's like Pinot Noir on steroids with its succulent cherry and plum fruit, bold savoury, gamey notes and bright spicy finish with hints of anise. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 9Oct2013.

Urlar Gladstone Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Rich, ruby violet hue. Lovely smoky savoury bouquet with spiced maraschino cherry notes coming through. Concentrated, spice, smoky and savoury with richness of cherry and spiced plum fruit with a slight tamarillo-like note and a citrussy edge. Underlying savoury oak, forest floor, bacon and herb stuffed mushrooms in the background bring the fruit sweetness into check. Tannins are fine but have a bit of a furry edge. Lovely fruit brightness on the finish. Excellent match to lightly peppered fillet steak accompanied with braised mushrooms and roast vegetables. 13% alc. $37. 1May2014.

Valli Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Deep ruby red in colour with a sensuous smokiness to the fragrant almost floral scent; firm in the palate, still quite youthful but fleshes out beautifully to become plush and generous with great depth and presence. Concentrated black cherry fruit, exciting spices, a touch of strawberry chocolate and smoky notes from the scent coming forth to linger on the deeply savoury finish. Emphatic, memorable wine. 13.5% alc. $66.99. 5Feb2014.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (sc) Bright ruby garnet with moderate intensity. The bouquet radiates black cherry, chocolate and fruit cake spices and sweet fruited cherry, cranberry and tamarillo notes balance the classical pinot noir savouriness with hints of woodsmoke in the background and a vanillin creaminess to the lingering finish. The tannin still have a velvet rub but they smooth out nicely. Drinking beautifully now. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 13Jul2016.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark cherry red. Fragrantly smoky with enticing woody spices and red and black cherries filling the bouquet and the taste is full-bodied, luxurious and plush with a beautiful fine silky texture, generous black cherry and juicy purple fruits, well balanced savouriness, a whisper of cake spices and a harmonious finish that just flows. From the Ben Morven region on the southern side of the Wairau Valley. 13.5% alc. $48.99. 29Oct2014.

Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This is a complex savoury wine both on the nose and in the palate – and while the ruby hue is faded, perhaps indicative of its age, the wine blossoms on so many levels. Silky on entry but firm on the back palate where the richness of the wine simply compounds. There's a creamy voluptuousness, dark berry fruits, hints of crushed thyme and a touch of spice – maybe even a flourish of orange zest as the wine lingers. In summary a gorgeously savoury pinot with a sumptuous nature. I really like this. 14.3% alc. $35.99. 20Apr2016.

Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) Dark ruby red. Enticing woodsmoke scent with chocolate-coated spiced cherry nuances in behind, all those characters carrying through to the super succulent, velvety textured palate that has exciting sweet / savoury harmony. There's juicy black cherry fruit, underlying earthy savouriness and smoky oak with wonderful length and flow. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 5Feb2014.

Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 (sc) This is rich in colour with concentrated cherry and plum fruit filling the bouquet that gives an impression the wine is smooth and mellow – and it is indeed smooth on first tasting then the velvety tannins kick in to add structure and framing. An earthy, savoury pinot with red and black cherry fruit, woodsmoke and a spicy brightness to the finish that is powerful and long. All the generosity expected from Central Otago with a little bit of age. 14% alc. $40.99. 31Aug2016.

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Index to Varietal Tastings
Chardonnay Gewurztraminer
Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc Other Whites
Bubblies Sweeties Pinks
Cabernet dominant Merlot dominant Pinotage
Pinot Noir Shiraz Other Reds

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