Saturday 16 December 2017

Wine: Six of New Zealand's best Pinot Noirs

Scotland's first wine grapes are set to be harvested

Liam Campbell

If New Zealand was in Europe, it would share Italy’s latitude. Yet New Zealand is a David in the world of giant wine-producing countries, conquering the consumer with a purity of fresh fruit flavours, heady aromas and full ripeness.

New Zealand’s wines have three factors that give them such attractiveness. Nearly 2,000km from Australia, it is unprotected from the Pacific’s westerly winds, which cool the climate and provide the grapes with refreshing acidity levels.

By stark contrast, the sunshine helps the grapes ripen fully and attain higher alcohol, while the dramatic drop in temperature from day to night balances with fresh but concentrated and highly aromatic flavours.

Pinot Noir is the second most widely planted grape varietal in New Zealand (the grapes grown there are globally acclaimed as one of the best examples of quality Pinot Noir found outside their native Burgundy).

The highest scoring examples in a blind tasting are:


1) PINOT NOIR 2011, Brancott Estate, South Island 13.5pc

Savoury meaty aromas showing typical Pinot character. Deeply layered with flavours of red fruits and a savoury finish. Loves a camembert-style cheese, such as Cooleeney Farm’s Daru.

€15.28 at Tesco, Dunnes Stores,

2) PINOT NOIR 2012, Matua, Marlborough 13pc

Perfumed with red cherries and truffles. Crunchy redcurrant fruity character that releases tingling acidity and gentle tannins. Chill and serve with seared tuna steaks and a spicy tomato salsa.

€14.99, available from Tesco nationwide

3) PINOT NOIR 2011, Morton Estate, Hawkes Bay 13pc

Floral with raspberry cordial aromas. Ripe fresh raspberries are supported by firm tannins and followed by a savoury and vegetal finish. Serve with a wild mushroom risotto and Parmesan shavings.

€17.99 in Dublin at Mitchell & Son, CHQ Buildings,I FSC and Glasthule

4) PINOT NOIR 2011, Sugar Loaf, Marlborough 14pc

Fragrant and feminine with a savoury note. Delicious bright red berry flavours ripple over a silky smooth texture. Try with Japanese-style salmon, grilled and basted with teriyaki sauce.

€18.99 at McCabe’s, Blackrock; Red Island Wines, Skerries; Baggot Street Wines; Wines on the Green, Dawson Street; Case’s, Galway; Nectar Wines; Nolan’s, Clontarf and Holland’s, Bray

5) PINOT NOIR 2008, Hunter’s, Marlborough-Wairau 13.5pc

A seductive and sensual mature bouquet is underpinned by red fruits. Firm red berry flavours linger long on to a woody dry finish. Match with a roasted game bird of pheasant or turkey.

€23 at Superquinn nationwide and in Dublin at Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; McCabe’s, Blackrock; Carpenter’s, Castleknock and Kelly’s, Phibsboro

6) PINOT NOIR 2010, Urlar, Gladstone 14pc (organically grown grapes)

Assertively rich and meaty aromas with roasted coffee bean-oak influence. Full-bodied, richly textured and a savoury bite to the finish. Likes a lighter-spiced Indian, such as lamb rogan josh.

€23.99 at O’Brien’s off-licences


Tasting Notes

New Zealand wine tasting, Thursday, January 23, 6.30pm–8.30pm at Radisson BLU Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8. Explore New Zealand wines for yourself, meet producers and taste wines including the highly regarded 2013 vintage. Tickets €16. Call Jean Smullen at 086 816 8468 or email

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Life