The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Cameron Douglas MS Wine Review: Pinot Noir

There’s no question that Pinot Noir is one of the great grapes and wines of Aotearoa New Zealand.

It is a variety that demands constant attention in the vineyard to reach optimal ripeness.

Any grower of the variety will outline the focus Pinot Noir requires – from microclimates in the vineyard, to soils that take advantage of the minerals available deep down, and access to just enough water for the vines to stay happy and balanced.

Pinot Noir should carry a sense of place in the bouquet.

It’s not just about the aromas of ripe red berries and flowers, it must also be about subtlety and complexity, a quiet yet noticeable layer of minerality, a core of fruit, not too much oak, polished tannins and an abundance of ripe acidity.

Cameron Douglas MS explores some of the options in this month’s tasting guide, here are some of his top picks…

Jules Taylor Pinot Noir 2021, Marlborough

An excellent bouquet filled with scents of ripe dark cherry and black currant, the fruits are laced with a savoury natural spice and dried herb quality from soil and barrel work. Complex and youthful bouquet overall. Delicious on the palate with a core of dark berries and currants, dried herb and wood smoke with a clove quality. Taut and youthful, salivating with a fresh nut and flinty quality. An abundance of fine through chalky tannins and medium+ acid line. Very lengthy finish, a wine of quality, panache and style. Best drinking from 2024 through 2032+.
Points: 95
RRP: $32.99
Distributor: Hancocks Wine and Spirits Merchants
Phone: (09) 361 8480

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2022, Marlborough

Fabulous bouquet of variety, spice, and ripeness. Aromas and flavours of spiced plums and dark cherry, there’s a layer of dark red strawberry followed by spices from fruit, spices, and oak. Firm and dry as the wine touches the palate, there’s tautness with a gentle grip from the tannins and acid line. Flavours of berries and plum deliver core flavours and contrast. Vanilla and clove spice, some dried herb, and gentle wood smoke add lift and complexity. Best drinking from 2026 through 2034+.
Points: 94
RRP: $48.00
Distributor: Negociants New Zealand Ltd
Phone: (09) 531 5200

Matahiwi Estate ‘Holly’ Pinot Noir 2021, Wairarapa

Youthful, varietal, and enticing core of dark red berry fruits with mineral and barrel spice layers. Aromas of fresh red plums, raspberry, cherry, fruit and barrel spices, dark roses, and clay stone earthy attributes. Dry on the palate with flavours of ripe and tart red berry fruits, great mouthfeel from the acidity and tannins. Vibrant with velvet tannins and lots of youthful energy throughout the palate. Well-made, youthful, and complex. Best drinking from 2025 through 2030+.
Points: 94
RRP: $39.99
Distributor: Matahiwi Estate
Phone: (06) 370 1000

Ruru Pinot Noir 2022, Central Otago

Aromas of place with core scents of fresh and dried raspberry, tea, and red plum. A definitive crumbled stone soil quality adds complexity and breadth. A youthful bouquet with a freshness and lively fruit profile. Delicious on the palate with a core of red berries and dried raspberry. Taut with an abundance of finely textured tannins, medium+ acidity, and a crisp mouthfeel. Plenty of length and charm, a wine offering great drinking today or from 2026 through 2036.
Points: 94
RRP: $29.50
Distributor: Immigrants Vineyard
Phone: (027) 240 3529

The Craft Series ‘The Journey’ Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough

Some bottle-aging fading effects show with red and slightly browning hues, a complex and complete bouquet of cherry and fallen leaves, some fine leather, and baking spices, dried black currant, and a mix of savoury dried herb qualities. Dry and ready as the wine touches the palate, flavours mirror the bouquet with red berries and spice, integrated oak, and fine tannins. Flavours of tea and a touch of tomato add to the foundational flavours. Complete and ready to drink from the day of purchase through 2026.
Points: 93
RRP: $100.00
Distributor: Lion
Phone: (09) 347 2000

To read all of Cameron’s Pinot Noir reviews, click here!

Cameron Douglas is New Zealand’s first and only Master Sommelier. An experienced wine commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant, he is the Beverage Director & Group Sommelier for Rodd & Gunn and is the Patron of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association. Formerly academically in charge of the Wine & Beverage Programme at AUT in Auckland, Douglas has also consulted to a variety of establishments, taking care of their wine lists, wine and food pairings, and staff training matters, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas.

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