Pinot noir – New Zealand’s most exciting grape

Villa Maria Pinot Noir Reserve 2012, Marlborough
Villa Maria Pinot Noir Reserve 2012, Marlborough
Kuti's of Wickham, Wickham Star Corner, Fareham Road, Wickham.

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I hosted a tasting of wines of the iconic Marlborough winery Cloudy Bay this week and as I have thought for some time it is pinot noir, rather than sauvignon that I think is now New Zealand’s most exciting grape. So on that basis here are three Marlborough Pinot Noirs to seek out.

Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2012, Marlborough (waitrose.com £24.99, Ocado £22.99) is an incredibly pure wine with cherry, liquorice, spice and a hint of vanilla, followed by velvety, supple tannins and a long elegant finish. This is very fine wine indeed.

Villa Maria Private Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough (widely available from £12.99) is, given the quantity that is produced, very impressive wine and must be one of the best value pinot noirs currently on the shelves. Lighter in style with cherry and soft red fruits and just a little spice, this is easy drinking but with enough going on to keep you interested, try it with a mushroom risotto.

Villa Maria Pinot Noir Reserve 2012, Marlborough isthe big brother of the Private Bin Pinot Noir and a real step up. From a fabulous vintage this has a gorgeous deep colour, with darker fruits, black cherry and autumn berries, roasted spices and cloves, followed by silky tannins and along finish. It has real complexity and would be a great choice with the turkey on Christmas Day. Tesco £18.99, nzhouseofwine.co.uk £17.99