New Zealand’s New Big Thing Is Pinot Noir

New Zealand “was once known merely for crisp, grassy sauvignon blanc wines. No longer,” Elin McCoy writes in a report for Bloomberg.

“Actor Sam Neill just finished a six-part television documentary on the voyages of Captain Cook, but right now he’s focused on the role of proud farmer. I’m walking with him on a tour of his organic vineyard in Central Otago as he shows off his prize pigs and pulls out bottles of his much-talked-about Two Paddocks pinot noirs,” McCoy writes.

“‘What do you think?’ Neill asks.

“Thumbs up, for sure.

“When it comes to wine, New Zealand is on a roll. According to a just-released Vinexpo study, it’s now the fastest-growing wine-exporting country to the United States. By 2021, it’s predicted to become the No 4 exporter to the US, right behind Italy, Australia, and France – which is pretty remarkable, considering that the country makes barely 1 per cent of the world’s wines.

“Most of them are New Zealand’s whistle-clean, distinctive sauvignon blancs, which smell like fresh-cut grass and wake up your palate with citrus-y zing. The ultimate white wines for parties, they’re driving much of that growth in the US.

“But the real excitement in the offing centres on the country’s stellar pinot noirs.

“Forty years ago, this finicky grape was a curiosity in New Zealand; now it’s the second-most-planted variety. And, as I discovered during two weeks of tasting in four regions, the top bottles are undiscovered gems.

“The country’s cool climate and intense light (a hole in the ozone layer lets in more ultraviolet rays) translate into pinots with lush fruit, charm, complexity, silky textures, and way more sophistication than they had a decade ago.

“With prices of Burgundy at record highs – sure to soar even higher, because frost and hail have blighted recent vintages – it’s time to turn to this South Pacific sweet spot for your pinot fix.”

Amongst others, McCoy recommends the following pinot noirs: 2016 Kupe by Escarpment, 2012 Two Paddocks the Last Chance Pinot Noir, 2013 Bell Hill Pinot Noir and 2016 Jules Taylor OTQ.

Original article by Elin McCoy, Bloomberg, February 12, 2018.

Tags: Bloomberg  Pinot Noir  Sam Neill  Two Paddocks