Six Kiwi Pinot Noirs

While I was in Tokyo last week I did a seminar on New Zealand Pinot Noir with Akihiko Yamamoto, a well-known local wine writer. After a presentation on New Zealand’s various wine regions, we discussed these wines with the group, and he asked me questions about how they were made, how this might affect the flavour, and also my general impressions on the wines. These are my notes.

Folium Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Bright and sappy with nice green hints as well as lovely bright cherry fruit, with good acidity. It’s really fresh and vivid, with attractive red fruits and some herby hints. Satisfying stuff. 92/100

Felton Road Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2016 Central Otago, New Zealand
Lovely sweet aromas here of red cherries and spice with a floral lift. The palate is elegant, supple, has some fine green notes, and lovely expressive, restrained red cherry fruit with some nice spicy framing. Not at all over-extracted. Has lovely balance and elegance with great purity and transparency. 94/100

Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
Ripe and concentrated with a little bit of lift bringing out the floral red and black fruit aromas. There’s a smoothness and elegance on the palate, but also a distinctive acid line keeping things fresh. Ripe black cherry and berry fruits, with some grip on the finish. 94/100

Rippon Mature Vine Pinot Noir Wanaka 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
This is taut and fine, with bright red cherry fruits and nice structure. Precise and well defined with harmony between all the elements: good acidity, decent structure and focused red berry and cherry fruits. Restrained and understated. Compact and long, this has great potential. 95/100

Black Estate Home Pinot Noir 2016 North Canterbury, New Zealand
Lighter in colour, this has a beautifully aromatic nose showing dried herbs, some hay, red cherries and spice. The palate is open and expressive with juicy red cherry fruit, layered acidity and some herbs and spices on the finish. Lively and expressive with some nice savoury character and some green notes well integrated with the fruit. 94/100

Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2017 Martinborough, New Zealand
Lovely aromatics here: there’s a hint of cedar spice underneath floral red cherry fruit. The palate is expressive and juicy with bright, vivid cherry and plum fruit. A really drinkable wine, with some grip and acidity under the sweet fruit. 93/100



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