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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Pinot Noir - New Zealand

Winner Details

New World: Pinot Noir - New Zealand

2019 Gold 5      Silver 9        Bronze 0      Commended 10
2018 Gold 5      Silver 11      Bronze 5      Commended 15

On one hand, this is a pretty good performance from the Kiwis. Five Golds is about standard for the winemakers from the Land of the Long White Cloud. On the other hand, their medal count tailed off significantly from last year, and is well down on the high of 2017.

And since both North America and Australia are seeing their awards grow pretty much year on year, it’s not too fanciful to think that in the next year or two the Kiwis might no longer ‘own’ this category in the Sommelier Wine Awards.

The problem, perhaps, is that such a lot of the entries came from Marlborough – and of all the New Zealand Pinot-producing regions, it’s the one that is most a work in progress. Styles were all over the place, and a lot of entries left with nothing.

Otago put in a strong performance (though charged through the nose for doing so), while the rest of the country provided flashes of quality, usually slightly more affordably.

All in all, considering NZ is the place outside Burgundy most associated with the grape, it rather failed to justify its reputation on this showing.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘I’m looking forward to Marlborough having more of a regional style. I don’t see that they have a direction they’re heading towards.’ Melody Wong, The Mandrake

‘Marlborough Pinot can be slightly more savoury than Otago, but here it felt like producers were trying to make them like Otago.’ Hamish Anderson, team leader

‘Every price point in the Otago flight showed good quality. It’s slightly bigger Pinot Noir than you find in France, that you can pair with food, but also serve on its own.’ Janusz Sasiadek, Bottles & Battles

‘I found the Otago versions to be very elegant, and rich in terms of red fruit and cherries, but with some herbal notes too. You could pair these with fatty, rich foods, but at the same time they’d work with vegetables.’ Corina Stanila, La Dame de Pic at Ten Trinity Square

‘As a premium New Zealand area for Pinot Noir, you obviously pay a price for Otago. This is harder in venues like brasseries, but in fine wine restaurants where the customer is more knowledgeable it’s a good upsell.’ Michael Fiducia, The Royal Automobile Club

‘Most of these I wouldn’t use – there’s a tendency to be a bit hollow or commercial – excess wood chip being used.’ Victoria Sharples, St John Wines

‘[The Greyrock] at £6.50 would be a money-making machine; it had everything Pinot Noir needs to have.’ Emanuel Pesqueira, consultant

Award winners

Found 24 wines

New World: Pinot Noir, New Zealand

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

Gold medal winner

A clear Gold medal winner, Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants praised this Pinot’s ‘lovely nose of spice and rich fruit’, adding: ‘The palate is fresh with deep, dark fruit and the lovely texture glides you towards a long finish with great complexity. This will age, too.’ Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair also praised the complexity and balance of the wine, picking out aromatics that included ‘tobacco, farmyard earthiness, grass, spicy cinnamon and leather’. Summing up, team leader Martin Lam, simply said: ‘It’s very serious, complex and long.’

£21.65 Enotria&Coe

Prophet's Rock, Home Vineyard, Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Complex aromatics and a beautifully balanced palate made this wine an easy Gold medal winner. ‘A top nose,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, describing ‘notes of leather, tobacco and dried red and black fruits, with hints of vanilla’. ‘The palate is also very well made with lots of fruit, while the acidity and balance of the finish is excellent… Pinot Noir for any white meat,’ he concluded. ‘Opulent,’ said Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club. ‘Beautiful, strong, yet delicate,’ added Corina Stanila of La Dame de Pic at Ten Trinity Square.

£27.74 Bibendum

Burn Cottage, Moonlight Race, Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

‘This is so well made,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira as he awarded a Gold medal, picking out its aromatic ‘red fruit elegance with roses and mint’ and praising the ‘great balance, fresh fruits and long finish’. His sentiments were echoed by fellow team leader Andres Ituarte, who wrote: ‘This is really good wine’, admiring the ‘earthy, leafy character’, the ‘soft currant fruit’ and the ‘lightly grippy finish’.

£24.02 Liberty Wines

Akarua, Pinot Noir 2017, Central Otago, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Awarding a Gold medal, team leader Andres Ituarte simply said: ‘This is what Otago Pinot should be.’ And it seemed that all who tasted the wine agreed. Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant loved the ‘pronounced mushroom nose’ with notes of ‘smoke, liquorice and sweet spices’, and praised it for its ‘outstanding fruit intensity that remains so elegant’. Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair described ‘a succulent and sumptuous wine with plum, cherry and black fruit complexity’, while James Fryer of Woodhead 17 found ‘some serious stuffing with smoky bacon fat and morello cherry’ and a ‘super, soft, velvety finish’.

£21.37 Liberty Wines

Foley Family Vineyards, Vavasour, Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Happy to award a Gold medal, Christopher Delalonde MS of The Dorchester described an ‘intense and juicy palate with sweet, ripe fruit but that’s held together with a great tension throughout’. Tobias Gorn of Boisdale Restaurants agreed, saying: ‘The silky tannins are working alongside the crisp acidity brilliantly.’ The aromatics appealed to Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant, who noted ‘violets, rose and lavender’, while for Melody Wong of The Mandrake the wine was simply ‘charming’.

£12.96 Matthew Clark

Te Kano, Pinot Noir 2017, Central Otago, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

This was liked by all, and loved by team leader Carlos Ferreira, who found it to have a distinctive flavour of ‘dry roses, mint and red fruits’ as well as ‘balance with grippy tannins’ and ‘fresh and clean’ length.

£23.07 Davy's Wine Merchants

Giesen, Small Batch, Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

It was the ‘subtle, clay earth nose’ that drew James Fryer of Woodhead 17 to this wine, and he went on to note: ‘Subtle fruits give way to a velvety black cherry and morello mid-palate, with cloves and spice present on the length.’

£15.02 Bibendum

Carrick, Unravelled, Pinot Noir 2017, Central Otago, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair loved the ‘simplicity’ of this wine, with its ‘elegant dry characters of red fruits, notably raspberries and cherries, but with some blackberries and a bit of earthiness in the end of the palate’.

£13.98 Enotria&Coe

Huia, Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Team leader Carlos Ferreira found ‘red plums, cherries and vanilla on the nose’ of this Silver medal-winning wine, and described ‘a very fresh palate with fruits that are very well present, and a very good acidity’.

£18.44 Bibendum

Sileni, Greyrock, Pinot Noir 2015, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant commented on the ‘pronounced nose’ of this wine, describing it as ‘perfumed with red fruits, cranberries and hints of smoke, yet with a palate of forest floor and a refreshing acidity’.

£6.48 Boutinot

Foley Family Vineyards, Te Kairanga, Pinot Noir 2017, Martinborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘A dry wine with good balance between the tannins,’ began Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair, ‘with a good body, nice acidity and balanced alcohol’.

£17.39 Matthew Clark

Saint Clair, Tutu Block 26, Pinot Noir 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘With a mushroomy, cherry nose, this wine does not disappoint, with its black cherry palate, balanced with clove, and a long juicy black fruit length,’ said James Fryer of Woodhead 17.

£17.96 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Mahi, Pinot Noir 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘Dry, fruity and juicy’ were the initial thoughts of Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair, and she went on to say: ‘Strawberries and raspberries dominate a palate with medium acidity and tannin.’

£16.15 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Akitu, A2, Pinot Noir 2016, Central Otago, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

‘A predominantly smoky wine with aromatic notes of dark cherries and earth,’ said James Fryer of Woodhead 17, adding: ‘Velvety fruit flavours give way to morello, pepper, pleasant leafy flavours and a distinctive pot pourri finish.’

£20.00 Mentzendorff & Co

Mount Brown, Pinot Noir 2017, Waipara , New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Peregrine Wines, Mohua, Pinot Noir 2015, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£13.81 Enotria&Coe

Urlar, Pinot Noir 2017, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£14.22 Enotria&Coe

Coopers Creek, Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Giesen, Ara, Single Estate, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£12.62 Bibendum

Babich, Pinot Noir 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

Giesen, Ara, Resolute, Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£25.56 Bibendum

Ceres, Composition, Pinot Noir 2017, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£20.19 Matthew Clark

Wild Earth, Pinot Noir 2016, Central Otago, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£16.82 Liberty Wines

Tinpot Hut, Pinot Noir 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£13.82 Liberty Wines

 

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