New Zealand: New Pinot Noir and Syrah Releases

We continue to be impressed with the high quality of the wines being produced in New Zealand these days.   Pinot Noir is clearly a stand out variety,  and producers like Quartz Reef and Rippon Vineyard are producing wines every bit as good as the top estates in Burgundy and California.   In our Report #7 New Zealand’s Exciting Pinot Noirs published in July 2007 we predicted a bright future for New Zealand Pinot Noir, and we have seen this come to pass.   The wines reviewed here are a tiny sample of the high quality Pinot Noir being produced in New Zealand, with Syrah not far behind. Station Imports of Colorado Springs CO imports these wines to the US.

Quartz Reef 2010 Pinot Noir Bendigo Central Otago ($36) 91   This Pinot Noir offers spicy dark cherry fruit with some earthiness on the nose.  It is soft and velvet-like on the palate with good depth of dark fruit flavors,  integrated toasted oak, and firm sweet tannins on a persistent finish.  Internationally acclaimed winemaker Rudi Bauer can always be depended on to turn out stellar Pinot Noirs.

Rippon Vineyard 2009 Lake Wanaka Central Otago ($58) 89+   Rippon Vineyard’s Lake Wanaka Pinot Noir displays attractive aromas of dried cherry and red plum on the nose with a hint of mushrooms and earth.  Aged for 16 months in barrel, it is soft on the palate with good acidity and a melange of fruit and earth on the finish.

Mission Syrah 2010 Hawke’s Bay Station ($16) 87  The Mission Syrah has a dark ruby color and reticent aromas of sweet dark red fruit, brambles and a hint of shoe polish on the nose.  It is lean and dry on the mid-palate with dark red fruit flavors, dry tannins, and thick extract on the finish.

Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler

July 2012


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