NZ our bete noir

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Wine - WINE with John Jens

THE po­si­tion of pinot noir in the Aus­tralian wine mar­ket has changed for­ever.

From be­ing in­con­se­quen­tial in per­cent­age of red wine pro­duc­tion in the early 1990s, pinot noir now outsells both shi­raz and caber­net sauvi­gnon on an an­nual ba­sis in some of Aus­tralia’s more wine-ori­ented restau­rants.

From 2.4 per cent (21,000 tonnes) of Aus­tralia’s red wine pro­duc­tion in 2002, and 3.5 per cent in 2006, Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion grew to 4.9 per cent (42,000 tonnes) in 2010.

I don’t have the most re­cent statis­tics but it is worth­while not­ing that New Zealand pinot noir im­ports in­creased from a few thou­sand cases in 1991, to 22,000 cases in 2002, be­fore ex­plod­ing to 100,000 cases in 2007 and then to well over 200,000 cases in 2010.

From mem­ory, this went to more than 300,000 cases in 2013. The de­mand was in­creas­ing but Aus­tralian plant­ings only grew by 14 per cent from 2002-2010.

From the early 1990s to about 2010, the New Zealand pinot noirs both on the show cir­cuit and in the con­sumers’ per­cep­tions were su­pe­rior to Aus­tralia’s in most price ranges.

From about 2010 on­wards, Aus­tralia had al­tered its pinot noir plant­ing pat­terns and its pro­duc­tion tech­niques, and, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, our best pinot noirs in ev­ery price range be­came both more in­ter­est­ing and marvel­lous value for money.

Bass Phillip in East Gipp­s­land is clearly this na­tion’s great­est pinot noir pro­ducer, and the 2014s, the cur­rent re­lease, are won­der­fully re­viewed al­though avail­able in only tiny quan­ti­ties. Talk to your wine mer­chant.

New Zealand pro­duc­ers such as Bell Hill and Mount Dif­fi­culty are marvel­lous, but rarely seen.

The two most widely avail­able of New Zealand’s great pinot noirs are the Fel­ton Road range, of which the new vin­tage, 2016, will be avail­able in early July.

The other is Ata Rangi, of which the most re­cent vin­tages have been out­stand­ing.

The 2015 vin­tage ($99) is avail­able in tiny quan­ti­ties in pre­mium restau­rants and wine stores, and about an­other 400 dozen are on the wa­ter now, of which per­haps 10 per cent will be com­ing to the west. Order early.

Ata Rangi founder Clive Pa­ton wine tast­ing at Ata Rangi in Mart­in­bor­ough, New Zealand.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.