Tag: Ata Rangi

Sep 09 2012

New Zealand Pinot Noir: What Sets it Apart?

Posted on September 09, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I was intrigued to read Lettie Teague’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled What Happened to New Zealand Pinot Noir? Fortunately, the article was not about a decline in the quality of New Zealand pinot noir, but rather a lament about its disappearance from the shelves of many American wine stores. Teague cited a few reasons that I’m sure would also ring a bell with Australian wineries: not enough distributors, an unfavourable exchange rate and poor brand recognition. (WSJ, 1 September 2012)

Teague also shared Felton Road‘s head winemaker Blair Walter’s comment that “The USA is about the only place where New Zealand Pinot competes directly with the other New World Pinots.” He noted that in other markets New Zealand pinot noir is second only to Burgundy since most U.S. pinot makers don’t export their wines.

Teague interviewed an Oregon wine buyer, Mike Dietrich, who happens to love New Zealand pinot noir and has managed to put together a reasonable selection for the Fred Meyer store in Tualatin, Oregon. He believes that New Zealand and Oregon pinot noir have a lot in common: “Oregon and New Zealand Pinots are less about fruit and more about earth and minerals,” he told Teague. “There’s an earthy complexity to the wines—they’re not just fruit-forward like California Pinots.”

While Teague was less than impressed with lower price point New Zealand pinot noir (around $20 a bottle), she believes that the higher priced wines express a uniquely New Zealand point of view: “The Pinots from producers such as Ata Rangi, Felton Road, Craggy Range and Greywacke were quite good. Some, particularly the Felton Road and Ata Rangi, were truly impressive, marked by dense, dark fruit, firm minerality and a pleasing savory quality. But as Mr. Dietrich had noted, ‘fruit-forward/ they were … Read the rest

May 05 2011

Tasting Highlights: From New Zealand to the South of France

Posted on May 05, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The Cellarit Wine Blog took a bit of a hiatus over the Easter break due to family and other pressing work commitments. But that didn’t mean I didn’t have time to sample some great wines! Here are a few that recently impressed.

My love affair with New Zealand pinot noir continues. The best that I’ve tasted recently have a bit of age and a hint of that savoury earthiness that I think probably all the best makers of pinot noir strive for. A couple of highlights:

Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir 2007

Te Kairanga was one of Martinborough’s founding vineyards. Martinborough is at the foot of the South Island where the soils of the ancient river “Martinborough” terraces and the climatic conditions are remarkably similar to Burgundy. In less than thirty years, Martinborough has established an enviable reputation as one of the world’s best places to grow pinot noir, with Ata Rangi and Dry River, for example, attaining world class reputations.

Gary Walsh of The Wine Front scored the Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir 2007 90 points:  “Has an attractive earthy beetroot character, dry herbs, rose oil and plum/cherry fruit with a good clip of quality oak. It’s fresh and medium bodied with an attractive Chinotto like bitterness and a good finish. It’s a style I like and one I enjoyed drinking – interesting and not too fruity.” (The Wine Front, 31 March 2010). Also affordable!  Vaucluse Cellars, where I bought my bottle, has this wine for a mixed case price of $28 a bottle.

 

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2007

I tried the Amisfield Pinot Noir 2007 at a friend’s home. They are passionate wine collectors, who obviously know what they’re doing! This wine was superb.  A slightly riper style than the Te Kairanga Runholder but … Read the rest