Fine New Zealand Pinot Noir is often more boozy than Burgundy but with a similar tannin and acidity profile. Escarpment 2009, made by the brilliant Larry McKenna, provides a really fun and highly enjoyable example of the style.
I must admit to leaning a bit in favour of Larry’s wines. He came to Oxford when I was an undergraduate and provided my first taste of really classy New Zealand Pinot. He was a lovely chap, and seemed amused when Edward Tully and I took him to the McKenna Room in Christ Church.
Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009, Escarpment Vineyard
This smells like it is going to be quite a lot of fun. Yeah, it may be a tad on the boozy side but there is plenty of sappy character to the fruit and there is an edge of leafiness as well. But that fruit is just lovely, really complex and bursting with charm. It is a nose that just wants to tempt you into bed and there’s no danger of beating with harsh wood from this little minx. The palate is even more attractive. It’s fruit is a great combination of the plump and ripe with the leafy and racy. It has great acidity and, whilst they are ripe, there is a good tannic structure on show here as well. Blow me if there isn’t an edge of stony complexity to the finish as well, which I find sophisticated and remarkably persistent for a Pinot of this price. Quality New Zealand Pinot is never cheap by the time it makes it over to the UK, but for the hilarious fun-value and definite class this delivers it is worth every penny. I enjoyed my glass as a warm-up to dinner and I’ll enjoy a glass with dinner; exactly the style of New Zealand Pinot I want. Larry makes single vineyard Pinots as well (which you can score from Ten Acre as well for only a few quid extra) and I think they are beezer and topping value. Cannot go wrong with wines like this.