Since our first pinot noir was bottled in 1987, New Zealand has quickly developed a reputation as one of the leading pinot noir growers in the world
Pinot noir is arguably the flagship red grape for New Zealand. Second only to Sauvignon Blanc in production, pinot noir is predominantly grown in the cooler southerly regions of Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, North Canterbury and Central Otago. It's a tricky grape to grow, as the grapes are tightly packed in bunches, and the skins are very thin, making it susceptible to disease, but it's clearly worth the effort, as we love it! When it comes to this red wine, there really is a pinot for every personality.
Traditionally, New Zealand red grape wines are medium-bodied, elegant and fine, but as our winemakers continue to experiment and create, more varietals are being produced all the time. Because we have a huge diversity in climates and soils, New Zealand pinots range greatly in style. Most pinots pair well with food, as the variety is light enough for salmon or chicken, but robust enough to cope with red meats. Give it a go with venison or even duck.
If you're after something quite gentle, a Marlborough red might be a good place to start, with their aromatic and bright raspberry, cherry and plums on the palate. Brancott Estate's Letter T Pinot Noir is lovely and velvety without being too bossy, making it is a great place to start, while Villa Maria's Pinot Noir is a good choice if you're looking for something to pair with a meal like lamb, mushroom or venison.
If you're a 'go big or go home' pinot noir drinker, Central Otago wines are fuller and more tannic, with dark fruits. Try a rich, complex wine like Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir, which is smooth and pairs well with almost any meal. For a vibrant coloured wine with fragrant blackberry, sweet dark cherry characters and touches of spice, Madam Sass Pinot Noir is your girl.