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Is New Zealand The Next Best Pinot Noir Region?

New Zealand Pinot Noir captivates with ripe cherry notes and velvety tannins but can it rival the finest from Burgundy? Here's what you need to know.

The wine in this video is from Wine Folly Club!

Why Pay Attention to New Zealand Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir is a wine we could be paying more attention to in New Zealand. The grape makes up 75% of the red wine production in New Zealand and grows in the same places that Sauvignon Blanc thrives.

The reason most of us haven't heard about NZ Pinot Noir is production is still quite small. Plantings represent less than half of what you'll find in Burgundy with only 14,300 acres (2016).

We love it because:

  1. Wines offer excellent value.
  2. The quality is exceptional.

What's New Zealand Pinot Noir Like?

As a cooler climate, New Zealand Pinot Noir often have striking similarity to Pinot Noir's homeland in Burgundy, France. Wines tend to have more red cherry flavors, refreshing acidity, and subtle earthiness.

Still, the sun shines a lot more here in New Zealand than it does in Burgundy and it affects the flavors. In Hawke's Bay it averages 2400 hours of sunshine versus 1800 hours in Dijon (Burgundy). This gives Pinot Noir wines more ripe fruit flavors.

Flavor Differences Across New Zealand

Each of New Zealand's wine regions produces slightly difference Pinot Noir wines. Here's what you can expect:

  • Marlborough This is the coolest Pinot Noir area (and also the largest) producing wines with tart red fruit and elevated acidity.
  • Central Otago This is the second-largest Pinot Noir wine region and produces the richest and more tannic Pinot Noir with the ripest dark berry fruit flavors.
  • Hawke's Bay With lots of sun but not as warm as Central Otago, you can expect ripe red berry fruit flavors and softer tannins.

We hope this helps you explore new and interesting Pinot Noir wines and find something that fits your style. Salut!

Wines Mentioned

Kumeu Village Pinot Noir

Kumeu River

2021 Kumeu Village Pinot Noir

New Zealand

Hand-picked light-bodied red wine with excellent fruit purity.

On the palate the wine is cool, round and fruity and with a nice hint of chalky tannin that keeps the wine dry and refreshing.

Find out more

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