Pinot Noir

January 29th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pinot Noir is the standout variety on the scene, with exports of the drink made from black Vitis vinifera grapes doubling in the last decade.

The red wine is big business to New Zealand.

The value of pinot noir sold to overseas drinkers hit $122 million last year, up from only $19m a decade ago.

It is the second most popular variety after our star sauvignon blanc, with pinot noir vines planted on more than a million more hectares than chardonnay.

A four-day festival dedicated to the tipple was launched on Wellington’s waterfront yesterday, with 500 people attending. Pinot Noir NZ 2013 spokesman Robert Brewer said the industry in New Zealand had evolved since the first three-yearly event in 2001.

I was very lucky to be a guest of Visa at the Pinot Noir festival last night. They had dozens of different Pinot Noirs flowing on demand. I couldn’t even attempt to try them all, but did sample a fair few. My favourite was the 2007 Grasshopper which sadly ran out it was so popular.

As if dozens of great wines wasn’t enough, they had 12 of Wellington’s best chefs there including Logan Brown, Martin Bosley and Ruth Pretty. Scallops, lamb, salmon etc. I think I undid a fortnight of exercise in one night – but it was worth it :-)

Putting aside my personal enjoyment, the NZ wine industry success with Pinot Noir is a great story. 500% export growth over a decade is superb and I’ve noted when overseas how often NZ wine is offered in restaurants as a premium wine.

Tags: ,

32 Responses to “Pinot Noir”

  1. anonymouse (716 comments) says:

    “they had 12 of Wellington’s best chefs there including Logan Brown”

    Who?????

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Piss-weak red wine you can see through.

    I’ve enjoyed some nice NZ Pinot Noirs over the years, but I think it is very over-rated and doesn’t justify all the hype. Sort of a compromise drink for when you can’t decide if you want white or red, so pick something in between.

    Sounds like it would have been an awesome night out though!

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. kowtow (8,512 comments) says:

    Hype.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Pinot noir can be very nice but you have to pay for it.

    Anything under $20 is very ordinary (might as well buy a cheaper variety). There are some nice drinkers in the $20-30 range (especially if on special) but nothing outstanding.

    Yoy have to spend $30+ for the proper pinots with delicious subtle complexity but even then quite a few in the higher price ranges can still be ordinary. At those prices I don’t drink pinot often.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Sort of a compromise drink for when you can’t decide if you want white or red, so pick something in between.

    I think you’ll find that’s called a “rosé”. Which, it is true, can be made from the vitis vinifera grape varietal … but it ain’t a pinot noir.

    As for why pinot noir rocks? Well, like Miles said:

    Um, it’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It’s uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    There are some nice drinkers in the $20-30 range (especially if on special) but nothing outstanding.

    Try Bannock Brae Estate Goldfields 2011 or Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings 2012. New World has had both at $22. You’ll need to leave them for 2-3 years, but … they’re still a little thin straight off the shelf.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    RRM I agree with you about the majority of Pinot Noir out there but there are exceptions.

    Pegasus Bay (Waipara) used to do an unfiltered Pinot Noir that was bloody good (I can’t remember the name).

    Unfortunately the grape made to make Pinot Noir is a low cropping grape meaning that good PN is bloody expensive but I can recommend the Pegasus Bay product.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Don’t get too attached. If your wineries don’t go broke, it makes better sense for them to export than sell it domestically:It will be back to Chardon for special occasions.

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2013/01/cost-of-living-one-for-wine-drinkers.html

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    … and in breaking news, deputy head melon Metiria Tooraloohralalaland demanded a Commission of Inquiry into the price of Pinot Noir, pointing out that export prices were penalising hard-working kiwi families.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    AG – I agree on Bannock Brae, doesn’t have the complexities of the better pinots (age could be a factor) but excellent value for a very nice drinker.

    Must try Mysterious Diggings. Terra Sancta took over Olssens in Bannockburn.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Colville (2,269 comments) says:

    Pinot is over priced, over hyped and routinely dissapointing.

    Hawkes Bay Syrah however… slurp slurp slurp :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Manolo (13,828 comments) says:

    Sorry Colville, but nothing beats a top class Australian or Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I really like central Otago pinots. The flintiness of the soil come through for a really distinctive finish. Mr and Mrs kk’s cellar has some 2009 Grasshopper and some 2007 Amisfield. But I agree with Colville too. I have a stack of yummy HB syrah, including one named to please a former… poster … here… eh? It’s the 2007 Stoned Crow :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    How can you Neolibs enjoy your Pinot Noir while 250,000 NZ children go hungry?

    Don’t you think your disposable income would be better spent on health and education?

    [DPF: No.]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    hamnidaV2 – do you have any idea how much business and employment and tourism pinot noir has created by utilising previously marginal to totally unproductive land?

    And don’t forget the supermarket jobs selling it either, wine is one of the biggest parts of supermarket business.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. James Stephenson (2,186 comments) says:

    @Manolo – Bollocks. Cab Sav’s vocation is to be joined with Merlot and Cab Franc to make (still) the the world’s best reds.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    Colville, too many Syrah/Shiraz wines taste like mud.

    A good South Australian Cab Sauv is more to my taste although I’ve been drinking a Hidden River Cab Sauv from, I think, Hawkes Bay recently which is rather drinkable and was only $10-12.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    Maybe Ham thinks we’d all be better investing our hard-earned cash in the hair shirt industry?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Manolo (13,828 comments) says:

    How can you Neolibs enjoy your Pinot Noir while 250,000 NZ children go hungry?

    Just think of your hero, the spinster comrade Clark, sipping some Chardonnay.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    How can you Neolibs enjoy your Pinot Noir while 250,000 NZ children go hungry?

    Setting aside the absurdity of the figure, I can enjoy wine because I have worked hard so that I could feed, clothe, and care for my children. In addition to that I pay shitload, and I mean shitloads of tax, so that moaning, envious people like you can sit around all day, posting comments which include words you don’t understand.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    It’s stupid arguing over what is ‘the best wine’. I enjoy many varieties and blends from around New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere. Had some very nice Rose in my last trip to central.

    Different situations and different seasons suit different wines, different seasions, different foods, different company.

    I drink more cold whites in the summer, but pinot noir is lighter so better for summer drinking too. The heavier reds are often better suited to winter. Or a cold summer evening. Or whatever.

    There’s a huge variety of options, that’s one of the great things about drinking wine.

    I put two bottles of wine in the fridge this morning, I’ll decide which I feel like tonight, unless I change my mind and try something else.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    Piss-weak red wine you can see through

    No, it’s not a shiraz, which you can get pissed on by itself, or with a wedge of blue cheese. But it is the ideal companion for a good steak. The cheap stuff tends to taste like someone with smelly feet stomped all over it, but as far as the better quality ones go there is nothing more fragrant. And Central Otago ones are the best.

    It is a shame that it is so hard to get good NZ Pinot Noir in Texas. At the moment I can only get Brancott Marlborough pinot at my local supermarket. Some of these wineries need to band together and market their product better.

    How can you Neolibs enjoy your Pinot Noir while 250,000 NZ children go hungry?

    Actually it’s you leftists drinking all the wine. As for the hungry kids, their mothers should cancel the Sky subscription, lay off the booze, and buy a $2 loaf of bread so they can make toast in the mornings. Problem solved.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    hamnida V2-

    New Zealand is not the Sudan. The only reason kids would live in poverty here is if their parents are career beneficiaries.

    My kids are fed, educated and healthy. And I buy a max of about one bottle of wine a month, because providing a home for my kids (that they will one day inherit) is absolutely killing my “disposable income” at the moment.

    FYI – We live in an area where plenty of the other kids at school have dead-beat, booze-addled dropout welfare bludgers for parents.
    We often invite our daughter’s little friends over for dinner and to stay the night. These kids are so well-mannered thatit’s almost embarrassing, compared to my daughter… these kids that seem afraid of speaking out of turn when adults are present, presumably they’re afraid of getting bashed or something. We have no “disposable income” that you speak of, nevertheless we are doing something to shine a beacon of light for a few “impoverished” children.

    So fuck you, coming in here and making sweeping criticisms of everyone who enjoys a glass of wine. You know nothing. You are nobody. Do you even work for a living?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    RRM
    In my experience all kids invited over behave better than when at home, irrespective of the domestic environment, but good on you.
    I used to be a chardonnay socialist but I’m looking for a suitable epithet to describe my current regime of prescription meds plus a good glass of pinot or cabernet each evening.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    (Bottle of) red under the bed?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Paulus (2,631 comments) says:

    Being an elderly citizen I only buy wines which are drinking now.

    No way am I going to leave any decent wines to my children – what a waste.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    Pete George (16,028) Says:
    January 29th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Different situations and different seasons suit different wines, different seasions, different foods, different company.

    I drink more cold whites in the summer, but pinot noir is lighter so better for summer drinking too. The heavier reds are often better suited to winter. Or a cold summer evening. Or whatever.

    Pete, this time of year I often chill a cheap bottle of Cab Sauv for an evening, not usually as sweet as most Rose`, not as expensive as drinkable Pinot Noir, and not as barbaric as it sounds.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    MT-Tinman – sounds good. Stuff wine snobbery – this is the new age, of drinking whatever you fancy.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Longknives (4,763 comments) says:

    “How can you Neolibs enjoy your Pinot Noir while 250,000 NZ children go hungry?”

    Hamnida- Our Social Welfare system literally throws cash at DPB spongers. Why should I feel even a pang of guilt that these hideous baby factories choose to spend the wads of cash we throw at them on pokies, booze and drugs?
    We long suffering taxpayers work bloody hard for our money. I think we deserve a nice tipple at the end of a tough week….

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Jinky (185 comments) says:

    So ALL those on DPB are spongers? They ALL spend their cash onpokies, booze and drugs? Evidence please! Yes some (minority) do behave in that fashion I agree but NOT ALL.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Longknives (4,763 comments) says:

    You are correct Jinky- Not all behave in this way (which is why it is important we retain our Welfare system), but I would argue the vast majority of DPB recipients are spitting out children because we pay them so handsomely to do so…and care little about the health and welfare of their ‘meal-ticket’ children.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Jinky –

    My wife was once a DPB Mum briefly, and she said it was such a sh!t state of affairs to be in that as soon as she could she got herself a trade apprenticeship and started earning money.

    You would have to be a sponge to stay there long-term. (Or some other kind of soft, spineless invertebrate anyhow…)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote