ALISTAIR GIBSON: Full-bodied, succulent and fragrant Kiwi pinot noirs

Alistair's choice - The Edge Pinot Noir 2016 Escarpment
Alistair's choice - The Edge Pinot Noir 2016 Escarpment
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In last week’s column I wrote about one of the finest New Zealand pinot noirs I’d tasted this year.

It was the single vineyard Escarpment Te Rehua Pinot Noir 2015, Martinborough (Majestic £34.00 but £30.60 if part of a mix six, Hermitage Cellars £28.00).

This ia a perfect introduction to what the Otago region has to offer when it comes to pinot noir

No, it’s not cheap. But as I wrote last week, a winemaking tour de force.

However, if the price tag puts you off a bit New Zealand is home to some of the best-value and certainly most exciting pinot noir outside of Burgundy.

The ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ may be best known for its sauvignon blancs but there is no doubt in my mind that actually it is pinot noir that will produce the most exciting wines in the years to come, if it hasn’t already.

So here are a few more accessible Kiwi pinot noirs to see what all the excitement is about.

Escarpment ‘The Edge’ Pinot Noir 2016, Martinborough (Waitrose £14.99, Hermitage Cellars £12.99) is not the U2 guitarist’s personal cuvée, but rather the baby brother of the Te Rehua Pinot Noir from last week.

Winemaker Larry Mckenna is acknowledged as one of New

Zealand’s leading pinot noir makers and this is very much his intro wine.

This is made in a fairly full-bodied style but with a lovely fragrant bouquet of red fruits, black cherry and some nice spice, followed by a succulent palate, well-balanced acidity and a good length.

Good value when compared to red Burgundy and would be lovely with a Sunday roast leg of lamb.

Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago (Majestic £19.99 but £17.99 if part of a mixed six) is the second wine of Mt. Difficulty, one of Otago’s most well-know producers.

Their estate wine Mt. Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago (Waitrose £25.99) is brilliant but this is a perfect introduction to what the Otago region has to offer when it comes to pinot noir.

A little more complex and maybe a little more Burgundian than Escarpment’s The Edge, the bouquet is delightfully perfumed with raspberry and black cherry fruit and some dried herbs, followed by a supple mouth feel with more black cherry, slinky tannins and a very focussed finish.

It’s worth allowing this to breathe for an hour before drinking and then serving with rich casserole.

Lastly this week another in Majestic’s Parcel Series of wines, Parcel Series Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago (Majestic £19.99 but £14.99 as part of a mixed six).

The producer of this wine may remain undisclosed but this is a lovely pinot noir which, according to Majestic, won’t be around long.

It’s a little lighter than the wines above but with lots of fragrant fruit along with a dash of spice on the nose, before a nice fruit-driven palate with redcurrants and red cherry, bright acidity, spice and fresh, fruit-driven finish.

It would be lovely with Peking or confit duck.

n Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth.

Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail alistair@hermitagecellars.co.uk.