When you think of New Zealand wines, you’ll more than likely picture its fine sauvignon blancs. But it’s worth knowing that New Zealand also makes some fabulous red wines, particularly pinot noirs.
Look out for pinot noir from regions including Marlborough, Nelson, Martinborough and Central Otago in New Zealand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Central Otago is at the heart of this premium wine producing region.
New Zealand red wines are becoming more popular
So great is the love for the region’s pinot noirs, there is even a dedicated pinot celebration in Central every year. It regularly attracts lovers of red wine from all around the world. Wineries within the region that produce pinots include Gibbston Valley, Felton Road and Rippon.
New Zealand pinot noir is modelled on burgundy, although the wines are different. Young vines gave off lighter, red berry fruits, but as they’ve bedded in there is more natural flavour and less processing needed to extract it.
Over in Marlborough there has been a corresponding shift in the pinots produced. While they used to be rather pale and weaker, they have improved hugely since independent wineries shifted their vine planting. For example, Dog Point began planting vines on the slopes of the Southern Valleys, which are cooler than the flat planes.
Four New Zealand red wines worth checking out
Full-bodied red wines from New Zealand are now more syrah than cabernet sauvignon. New Zealand syrahs are more like the spicy styles from the Rhone in France, rather than the rich Barossa shiraz. From Marlborough, there are great examples including Te Whare Ra and Fromm.
Red wine from New Zealand is more expensive than sauvignon blanc from the same region. But it’s worth paying a bit extra. Give them a go if you’re looking for something different. Here are four worth sampling.
- Land Made Pinot Noir from Yealands Estate
From the Marlborough region of New Zealand this is a medium bodied, elegant Pinot. The wine is made using sustainable grape growing practices, leading to a finished product that is fresh, acidic and fruity with a finish of soft tannin flavour. Goes well with lamb dishes.
- Organic Pinot Noir Urlar 2018
Also from the Marlborough region, this organic red wine is a combination of dark. The wine mixes sweet plum flavours with ripe red fruits, exotic spices and a savoury flavour. Refined and elegant, it also packs a flavour punch.
- Lake Chalice ‘The Nest’ Pinot Noir 2018
This Pinot is a lighter and juicier wine with hints of ripe strawberry sweetness, red cherries and dried herbs. Expect aromatic flavours and a silky yet fresh finish.
- Clos De Ste Anne Pinot Noir 2014
From an artisan winegrower near Manutuke, this Pinot is packed with black forest fruit flavours, with an overlayer of wildflowers and fennel. On the palate you can expect rich dark fruit flavours and a refined finish.