If Kiwi’s know one thing, it’s what makes a good Pinot Noir. And this is one grape that New Zealand has started to excel with. Our cooler southern climate, a wide variety of soil types enables a wide variety of styles and flavours to be coaxed from the grapes.
Known for its rich juiciness and easy pairing ability, Martinborough Pinot Noir is what put New Zealand on the Pinot radar. Light enough to be paired with poultry, but full bodied enough to be coupled with salmon, pork, lamb and other red meats this pairing workhorse is a crowd pleaser with enough nuance for the experienced wine drinker.
Martinborough township is not the only part of the region with distinctive Pinot Noir. Go a few kilometres south and you’ll discover Te Muna Road which is higher in altitude meaning that the vines have to work hard to draw moisture from the land. Pinots from Te Muna are rich with dark fruit aromas and flavours of dark chocolate. These wines are beautifully balanced while maintaining a light drinkability and mouth-filling texture.
Head north and you’ll stumble to Gladstone, with Pinots that are rich and robust. These grapes have been tended to reveal fragrant characteristics of lush red fruits, and lush bouquets on the nose. There can be subtle herbaceous qualities of clove and thyme.
Pinot Noir is notorious for being a difficult grape to grow and it tends to do well in fairly unforgiving climates. Hot during the day, cold at night – conditions most people would consider harsh yet this tends produce some damn fine wine. Kiwis have definitely found a love for it and it is now the second most produced grape in the country.
5 Facts about NZ Pinot Noir:
Pinot Noir is NZ’s leading red wine export
Pinot Noir grapes were first commercially planted in NZ in the 1970s
Wine legend Larry Mckenna has been inducted into the NZ Wine Hall of Fame for his Pinots
Pinot Noir is the second most planted grape varietal in all of NZ
Pinot Noir is a great wine for pairing, and can be paired with a wide variety of meals