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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Pinot Noir, New Zealand

Winner Details

New World: Pinot Noir, New Zealand

2017 Gold: 8 Silver: 7 Bronze: 5 Commended: 19
2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 6 Bronze: 8 Commended: 7

Boom! That noise you can hear? It’s the Kiwis passing the Pinot Barrier in the Sommelier Wine Awards.
The country has generally been a surprise disappointment with this variety – particularly perplexing, given that outside Burgundy, it’s known as THE place for the variety. But this year it finally delivered on its promise.

Even though eight Golds was twice what the country has ever managed here before, the real good news was the feedback from the teams: informed, sympathetic and practical, it was proof that this is a category that is bang on our judges’ radar.

The teams detected differences in regionality, differences in winemaking and differences in ambition – but they mostly felt that the winemakers were delivering with all of them, and they could see a use for them, too, from cheerful, fruity Marlborough Pinots through to complex, savoury, textured examples from Martinborough.

Even Central Otago, which has often failed to deliver on its own hype in the past, was warmly received, with our teams detecting better balance to the wines.

It seems invidious to pick out a star performer, but this is the second year running that the extraordinarily well-priced Foley Pinot has picked up a Gold. #justsayin’.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘The wines from outside Marlborough and Otago were the most impressive: complexity, mouthfeel, integration with the oak, mid-palate weight and the body and focus to stand up to that high acidity.’ Harry Crowther, M Wine Store

‘There was a real sweet spot [from Marlborough] between £9 and £12. A lot of restaurants could do these by the glass.’ Hamish Anderson, Tate Catering

‘I used to think of Central Otago Pinot Noir as being an opulent style with perfumed fruit. Now winemakers are playing with a structured Burgundian style, too.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘We found a lot of reduction and cooked jamminess from Marlborough.’ Frances Bentley, Individual Restaurants

‘In places like Martinborough we’re seeing mature vineyards producing wines that are ready to compete with Burgundy. They’re not just identikit Pinot Noirs, they’ve got a lot more to say.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘There was a good contrast between the vibrant, fruity styles and the earthier, funkier, more animally styles. Both types did well and there were a couple of real standouts at various price points.’ Rebecca Coates, consultant sommelier

 

 

Award winners

Found 39 wines

New World: Pinot Noir, New Zealand

Akarua, Pinot Noir 2015, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

This ‘classical Pinot Noir’, according to Plateau’s Federico Forte, couldn’t walk away with anything less than Gold. Team leader Annette Scarfe MW found it an ‘attractive, juicy style, with ripe black plums and cherries in the mouth, a juicy mid-palate and delicate spices on the finish’. ‘This draws you in with red cherry and sugar plum aromas, sprinkled with thyme, leading to graceful power on the palate. Beautiful, and ideal with venison,’ concluded team leader Angela Reddin.

£20.75 Liberty Wines

Foley Family Vineyards, Awatere Pass, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner By the glass

A great Gold at a great price, and worthy of a By The Glass Trophy, too, this had ‘a juicy, bright nose with lots of red fruit, redcurrant and creamy texture on the palate with a bite of tannin and a fresh finish – brilliant for the price’, said Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson. Avenue’s Agustin Trapero found a ‘pleasant nose of fresh red fruit and plums with a hint of spicy beetroot on the palate’. ‘Lovely mouthful of juicy fruit, remarkable value!’ concluded Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering.

£6.89 Greene King

Borthwick, Paper Road, Pinot Noir 2015, Gladstone, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates praised this great-value Gold’s ‘earthy, animal nose, followed by a well-balanced palate with plenty of fruit and hints of vanilla’, with team leader Martin Lam describing it as ‘quite focused and lightly tannic with fresh red fruits’. ‘Hedgerow and summer fruits – a ripe, sweet nose with hints of spicy oak. Nice, and recognisably Pinot,’ added team leader Angela Reddin, while Stamatis Iseris of The Strathearn at The Gleneagles Hotel appreciated ‘a palate redolent of fresh red fruits and spices, with good texture’.

£8.20 Armit Wines

Craggy Range, Te Muna Road Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2013, Martinborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Lavished with praise by our judges, this unanimous Gold winner had, according to team leader Martin Lam, ‘complex sour cherry and raspberry fruit, then a note of liqueur raspberry on the palate, with a long finish, for a refined and elegant style’. Consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates, meanwhile, was lured by its ‘raw, meaty, animal, enticing nose, followed by great balance and finesse, and there’s an artisan touch here – I took a second sip!’ ‘Match with lamb, pheasant, or game,’ suggested Stamatis Iseris of The Strathearn at The Gleneagles Hotel.

£21.07 Bibendum

Ara, Single Estate, Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Well-considered oak and lots of fresh fruit took this to Gold. ‘Almost a toasted bread nose, with a beautiful red cherry fruit and violet background,’ began impressed team leader Laurent Richet MS, continuing: ‘Delicate and fruity on the palate, with a structured finish, it’s a lovely wine.’ ‘Lovely, pure, expressive wine, red fruit and spice, mid-weight with a long and elegant finish,’ added Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson. Frances Bentley of Individual Restaurants thought this perfect with ‘tuna steak, or roast beef sandwiches on sourdough’.

£11.05 Bibendum

Prophet's Rock, Home Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

A second Gold for Otago Pinot, this was ‘delicate, with fresh plums and cherry fruit on the nose – well integrated with high quality oak’, began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who was impressed with its ‘textured and structured palate and great length on the finish’. Winexponent’s Simon Cassina advised: ‘It’s worth the effort to decant this wine, with its high-extraction, low-yield concentration and premium style. I’d be happy to buy a case!’ A similarly enthusiastic Stamatis Iseris of The Strathearn at The Gleneagles Hotel added: ‘Elegant and rich, it explodes on the palate with sweet red fruits, spices, red roses and herbs. Match with venison or duck.’

£26.04 Bibendum

Mahi, Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

‘A great food wine,’ said Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson of this Gold Lister, praising its ‘savoury, spicy nose with whole bunch lift’, and adding: ‘An intriguing wine with something to say, showing cherry and strawberry fruit on the palate, with grippy tannin.’ Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering noted: ‘Good complexity, appealing development in the mouth and good depth.’ ‘Super-fresh acidity and excellent typicity – great with cold cuts, or as an aperitif,’ concluded Frances Bentley of Individual Restaurants.

£15.25 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Urlar, Organic, Pinot Noir 2014, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

This took home a Gold for its ‘bright and fruity’ style, as consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates described it, continuing: ‘Strawberry and cranberry perfume on the nose, and a clean palate with lots of charming, crunchy fruit.’ Giancarlo Cuccuru of The Ned Hotel meanwhile highlighted ‘spices and vanilla notes, good body with lots of dark fruit character and a warm finish’. ‘A deeply layered palate with earthy notes and lovely ripe, sweet fruit. Match with game,’ suggested team leader Angela Reddin.

£12.88 Enotria&Coe

Craggy Range, Te Muna Road Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2014, Martinborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Earthy and animal, layered aromas of dark fruits, then juicy fruit and soft tannins on the palate, lovely balance and structure,’ said consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates, with team leader Martin Lam adding: ‘Uncomplicated, dark and funky, forest floor and mushrooms with cherry fruit.’

£11.35 Bibendum

Babich, Rongopai, Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

An ‘easy-drinking example’ for Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, who liked its ‘fresh, balanced, fruity, amiable style, and good value’, while team leader Laurent Richet MS highlighted ‘black cherries and ripe red plums, blackberry jam with lovely ripeness on the palate, delicious and juicy’.

£8.25 Molson Coors

Akarua, Rua, Pinot Noir 2016, Central Otago, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Light and tasty, a nervy and restrained style with lovely chalky tannins, notes of under-ripe raspberries and strawberries, young and refreshing,’ said Simon Cassina of Winexponent.

£13.50 Liberty Wines

Spy Valley, Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Nice ripeness of red fruit on the nose, with intense strawberry, cherry and plum, then earthy and smooth on the palate,’ said Avenue’s Agustin Trapero, while Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson enjoyed its ‘lovely, pure Pinot perfume on the nose, red fruit and cherry palate with savoury balance and spice, subtle and long’.

£12.70 Bibendum

Wild Earth, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW enjoyed this wine’s ‘rich, creamy vanilla oak nose, opulent with ripe black cherries, showing a sense of place with perfumed floral notes on the palate’, while Tamas Nemeth of Bread Street Kitchen noted ‘lovely ripe fruit, a bit of earthiness with a long finish; good value for money’.

£14.63 Liberty Wines

Saint Clair Family Estate, Pioneer Block 5, Bull Block, Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Smoky, meaty nose, almost cured meat hints, then a complex palate of dark cherries and dark plum; clean, with a little showing of oak,’ said team leader Laurent Richet MS, with Agustin Trapero of Avenue noting: ‘Great, ripe black fruit, plums and beetroot, with a hint of white chocolate.’

£15.83 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Saint Clair Family Estate, Omaka Reserve, Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Light, raspberry fruit nose with a touch of austerity, juicy fruit on the palate then a clean and fresh finish, good length and balanced tannins,’ said Neil Tabraham of Paris House, with team leader Simon Woods finding it a ‘rounded, plush, textured style’.

£15.83 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Mount Brown, Pinot Noir 2014, Waipara, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

Giancarlo Cuccuru of The Ned Hotel enjoyed this wine’s ‘vibrant nose of red fruit with some herbal character and a pleasing finish, that’s bound to be a popular style’, while for consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates it had a ‘gorgeous nose of roses, and a classy palate with plenty of finesse’.

£10.83 Davy's Wine Merchants

Esk Valley, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘An appealing wine,’ began Richard Brooks of Caroline Catering, finding it ‘easy, clean and balanced, with a pleasing mouthful of fruit and remarkable development in the mouth’. ‘Classic rhubarb, plums and cherries on the palate,’ added Avenue’s Agustin Trapero.

£9.96 Hatch Mansfield

Babich, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Attractive aromas of raspberry and ripe strawberries,’ began Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels, continuing: ‘An elegant Pinot with notes of redcurrant and strawberry on the palate, very well made with a lingering finish.’

£11.52 Bibendum

Delta, Hatter's Hill, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Simon Woods found ‘floral, fragrant aromas with strawberry, plum and cherry, a welcoming style with a slightly spicy finish’, while Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice saw it as ‘a harmonious wine, worth every penny, I want to drink more and more of this’.

£15.58 Liberty Wines

Peregrine, Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

‘Cherry fruit aromas with rich farmyardy notes, sweet-sour cherry palate with light pine hints and a charming finish,’ began Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club, with Plateau’s Federico Forte finding ‘maturity, strawberry and blue and black fruit notes, concentration with spicy notes to finish’.

£20.51 Enotria&Coe

Aitken's Folly, Riverbank Road, Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Ceres, Pinot Noir 2013, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£17.49 Matthew Clark

Wairau River, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Wairau River, Reserve, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Sileni, Cellar Selection, Pinot Noir 2015, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£7.73 Boutinot

Sileni, Greyrock, Pinot Noir 2014, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£8.18 Boutinot

Marisco, Fernlands, Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Marisco, Fairhall Cliffs, Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Borthwick, Paddy Borthwick, Pinot Noir 2015, Gladstone, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£9.35 Armit Wines

Huia, Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£14.65 Bibendum

Foley Family Vineyards, Te Kairanga, Pinot Noir 2014, Martinborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£14.33 Matthew Clark

Foley Family Vineyards, Te Kairanga, Runholder, Pinot Noir 2014, Martinborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£17.75 Matthew Clark

Foley Family Vineyards, Vavasour, Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£12.87 Matthew Clark

Matahiwi, Mount Holdsworth, Pinot Noir 2015, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Burn Cottage, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£30.63 Liberty Wines

Kim Crawford, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£13.34 Liberty Wines

Tinpot Hut, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£12.04 Liberty Wines

Trinity Hill, Pinot Noir 2016, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£11.40 Liberty Wines

Peregrine, Mohua, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£12.99 Enotria&Coe

 

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