The fabled Cote d’Or in Burgundy is the spiritual home of pinot noir, but it’s safe to say New Zealand can rival the best of the French.
Its cool-climate regions produce top-notch reds that are bright and fruity with a silky texture and heavenly aromatics that cost a fraction of their Old World cousins, and the quality’s consistently good.
A favourite port of call on the New Zealand wine trail, Wairarapa – meaning “land of the glistening waters” – is located in south of North Island and renowned for its pinot noir. If you love fruity bombs with sweet plummy flavours, try Kate Radburnd Pinot Noir 2011, Wairarapa (£11.50, www.tanners-wines.co.uk). A Wairarapa producer with real talent, Radburnd heads the medal-winning C J Pask Winery and this is a fantastic pinot with succulent dark cherry and raspberry fruit, good body and a pleasing measure of acidity.
Across the way, Marlborough’s fast becoming as famous for its pinot noir as its sauvignon blanc. A familiar label on our supermarket shelves, Oyster Bay produces quality wines at fair prices and Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2011, Marlborough (£10.99, Waitrose) bridges the gap between youthful, bright fruit and a dark, savoury character with a round, luscious feel, lightly perfumed strawberry fruits and black cherry flavours with layers of spice.
Ara Wines Select Block and Resolute were both awarded a silver medal at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards and their entry level Ara Pathway Pinot Noir 2011, Marlborough (£12, Tesco) is a delicious wine in its own right.
With a sweet berry nose, it has savoury fruit, earthy spice and soft, subtle tannins on the long finish which gently glides along.