Why New Zealand makes some of the best pinot noir wines in the world

Getty ImagesLake Wanaka at the top of Central Otago offers proof that its cool climate.

Continuing our weekend celebration of International Pinot Day on Saturday – yesterday I singled out two of the best from Tasmania, and on Friday, two great value French Burgundies, today we turn our attention to New Zealand.

The most famous pinot region is Central Otago, between Queenstown and Middle-earth (the scenery for Isengard and Lothlorien comes from this neck of the woods), but Marlborough is now starting to press its reputation with an intricate savoury style that goes well beyond cheap sauv blanc.

Nelson, at the top of the South Island, is also staking a claim, along with the North Canterbury and Waipara regions. And lets not forget Martinborough – Ata Rangi kicked things off there nearly 40 years ago – for its subtle elegance.

Kiwi pinot noir smashes Australia in wine competitions with the same regularly as the All Blacks side, also taking on the French when it comes to value. In fact, one of my favourite New World wines comes from Central Otago (see below).

Here are two Kiwi pinots worth seeking out.

2014 Seresin “Rachel” Pinot Noir

Marlborough, NZ. RRP $55

Since the late 1990’s, filmmaker turned vigneron and winemaker Michael Seresin, has been on a quest to produce pinot noir of the highest quality and in the most natural manner possible, hence his commitment to organic-biodynamic vineyard practices.

This cuvée is named in honour of his mother and is a blend of three of the Seresin vineyards. Bright tingly raspberry fruit on entry which really “pops” with its liveliness.

Racy palate which builds with sneaky intensity into a beautifully weighted middle palate which finishes with an even, long, elegant and fragrant finish, with the fruit coating the fine chalky tannins all the way.

Romps across the palate with the shape, grace and elan of a catwalk model. Really very Burgundian.

2016 Burn Cottage “Burn Cottage Vineyard” Pinot Noir

Central Otago, NZ. RRP $93

IMHO, Burn Cottage makes some of the finest expressions of Central Otago – and indeed New World in general – pinot noir going around. Having glowingly reviewed their 2015, I came to this with high hopes and this 2016 vintage wine has not disappointed.

Cool, lifted aromatics of rose, sage, and a back note of menthol; there’s a snoot full in every sniff. Explodes in the mouth with intense rose water characters, leading to a complex briary/savoury mid palate of really sneaky power and intensity, with plenty of spice and Central Otago “sandiness/sandstone back notes”.

Very long with a wonderfully fragrant aftertaste, this superbly proportioned pinot noir is positively lissom and an absolute pleasure to drink. 1st Division New World pinot noir.

Frank Wilden is a retail food strategist and a “lapsed” restaurateur whose love of wine began nearly four decades ago.

Frank is writing this regular wine column for Business Insider Australia. If you have wines you’d like him to try for this column, contact him touch with him via @thefrankreport on Twitter

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