This event was a collaboration between the Australian and New Zealand wine industries. The purpose was to explore Pinot Noir from prime territories in both countries, looking at aspects including terroir, proximity to the ocean and Pinot Noir clone selection. I suspect the sub-text was about elegance too, showing that both of these relatively young Pinot-producing countries have maturing vineyards and increasingly knowlegable Pinot Noir winemakers, who are teasing the best from this notoriously fickle variety.
A few Statistics
Eight regions were represented here. This table shows 1) Annual Rainfall, 2) Mean January Temperature, 3) Percentage Pinot Noir of Total Plantings:
(2022) A whole variety of Pinot clones in the mix for this wine from vineyards 50 kilometres from the coast. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and 40% whole bunches, aged eight months in French oak (10% new barrels). Medium-pale garnet colour. Fragrant, cherry pie nose, a little hint of truffle and forest floor, but really more about upfront red fruit. More of that buoyant, juicy and fleshy cherry and berry character on the palate, with a dark stripe of liquorice tannin and acidity. There's a little feeling of Campari bitters in the finish here, that is perhaps slightly at odds with the gloriously perfumed style.
(2022) From vineyards just 15 kilometres from the sea, and again nine or 10 different Pinot clones. The vineyard is farmed organically and the wine was matured 10 months in older French oak. 10% whole bunches in the ferment. This 2019 shows obvious maturity, quite dense in colour with amber tones, but with a mushroomy, stalky but also slightly dank character. The palate is much more attractive, but it is pretty dry, cranberry and beetroot characters and a dry, lemony finish. No UK retail stockist listed at time of review.
(2022) The vineyards here lie at over 450 metres altitude, and 24 kilometres from the coast, planted with clones D5V12, 114 and MV6. Thirty percent whole bunches in the ferment and 10 months in seasoned French oak barriques. Attractive moderately pale colour. The nose gentle and fragrant, with a light herbaceous and stony character. The palate is really juicy and flavourful, cherry and raspberry notes. There's a peppery leanness here, grippy tannins and notable acidity, but always juicy.
(2022) Most of the fruit comes from certified organic vineyards 35 kilometeres from the coast, six different clones of Pinot. Fermented with a pied de cuve wild yeast, 20% whole bunches, and 10 months maturing in French oak. Relatively dense and dark in colour. A big, bold fruit and oak nose that is very different from the lighter style of the preceding wine. Ripe and chocolaty, but there is perfume. The palate has weight and textue, an earthy character, truffle and woodland notes and a little lick of salt on the finish.
(2022) This certified organic Pinot is made from nine different clones, the majority Dijon clones, in vineyards 20 kilometres from the coast. Thirty percent whole bunches were fermented with indigenous yeasts and the wine spent 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Medium colour density with a touch of warmth to the colour. Sweetly perfumed and immediately harmonious. Little rose and herb touches to woodland notes. The palate has pepper and spice to spare, but lovely natural fruit density. That endive stripe of bitterness refreshes the finish, giving lovely savoury bite.
(2022) A single vineyard Pinot, clone G5V12, grown organically 30 kilometeres from the coast. Fermented with indigenous wild yeasts, 25% whole bunches, and spending eight months in French oak puncheons, 20% of which were new. Delicate colour. Another very fragrant, perfumed Pinot. There is a hint of cocoa in the background here, fleshy red fruit too. On the palate this is the sweetest fruit of the line-up so far, really charming and ripe, quite plump, with a cool combination of acidity and very tight, fine tannin. Great length here.
(2022) Certified organic, from biodynamically farmed vineyards that are inland - 130 kilometeres from the coast - and at an altitude of 240 - 310 metres. A variety of clones, the wine was feremented with wild yeasts, only 5% whole bunches. It matured 11 months in French oak, 21% new. A 2019 retaining a clear garnet colour. A lovely subtlety but harmony to this. There is a little sous bois, a little truffle, with fleshy red plum. The palate follows through on that promise, with a harmonious pillow of red fruit supported by earthier notes, a hint of toast, and very nicly pitched tannins and acidity.
(2022) The vineyard is just four kilometeres from the coast, planted with the MV6 clone and farmed organically. There were 15% whole bunches in the indigenous yeast ferment, and the wine spent 15 months in French oak. A touch of amber on the rim of this 2019. Lots of dried cherry and Chinese plum on the nose, spicy and richly fruity, with a fine cedary oak background. The palate is lovely, with a spark of grippy, nicely roughening tannin as a counterpoint to the fleshy red berries, a little tobacco smokiness too.