I never need an excuse to drink a good Pinot Noir, but when we recently had wine-interested friends visiting from San Diego, it was a great excuse to have some other wino’s over for dinner and a tasting to showcase New Zealand’s 6 Pinot Noir regions. We knew the regions~ Marlborough, Nelson, Martinborough, Waipara, Hawke’s Bay and Otago, and the vintage (2011) we wanted to have, but the trick was finding just the right wines. This was actually the fun part for me, and I searched high and low, internet and no for just what I wanted.
So that we would ALL be surprised by what we were tasting, I would buy a wine and immediately brown bag it and put it away. Over the course of weeks it took to locate the wines, I would forget what wine was in what brown bag ~ perfect. It really helped that 5 out of 6 of the wines were under screwcap, so I didn’t have to worry about ‘seeing’ what wine it was. The format was to pour 2 wines at a time ( just didn’t have enough glasses to pour them all at once for everyone!) make some notes and take a guess at what region it was from, and then move on to the next two, and so on. I found it intriguing that while New Zealand is such a small country, the diversity of its wine regions is quite large.
Here are my quick notes (and I do want to pat myself on the back as I guessed all six regions correctly:)
-Seresin “Leah” (Marlborough) – high acid, sour cherry, zest, dry tannins
-Kina Cliffs Reserve (Nelson) – bacon fat on the nose, pomegranate, cherry, vanilla palate
-Escarpment (Martinborough) – Violet, pea, wild strawberry, blueberry – big yum!
-Mountford Estate (Waipara) – black pepper, spice, earth, good texture
-Osawa (Hawke’s Bay) – This was under cork and slightly corked (:
-Felton Road Bannockburn (Otago) – Black fruit, dry tannins