Delta Hatters Hill Pinot Noir 2019 (Marlborough) - 4 $35 ★★★★★
THERE’S NO DOUBT that the Ibbotsons know a thing or two about growing grapes in Marlborough, after all they’ve been doing it for more than forty years. So, in the 2000s when it came to choosing a site from which to source their new wine range, Delta, they knew exactly what to look for. The Delta vineyard is located in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys, a subregion becoming renowned for its pinot-growing potential, and is now home to a combination of the pinot noir clones 115 and 777 that make up this spectacular wine. Head judge Ben Glover describes this top-rated pinot as “the complete package”. In the glass the wine appears a dense, almost indigo colour and the nose rewards with beautiful blue fruits and sublime red-cherry fragrance with just a hint of whole-bunch characters coming through. These aromas flow seamlessly onto the palate in a symphony of fruit flavours: blue, black and red all present and correct, backed with brambly fresh, wild berries. The wine is succulent and deftly poised, treading lightly on the palate with savoury complexity and salivating firm tannins from integrated oak and fruit. It’s a wine showing personality, elegance and restraint of power.
2 / Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2019 (Marlborough) ★★★★★ - 2 $39.90
Vibrant blueberry notes and lifted red notes interplay on the nose with a creamy note which provides poise and allows the palate to pick up where the aromatic nose left off. This seamless transition means that the palate seems endlessly long emboldened with persistent oak notes among fruit that is juicy, fleshy and bold. A wine that proudly sits in your glass.
3 / Two Rivers Tributary Pinot Noir 2019 (Marlborough) ★★★★★ - 5 $36
A dark rouge in the glass and a nose laden with spice and berries yet also slightly herbal which envelops you aromatically and allows you to gently explore the warm rich and inviting palate. Taut acid and salivating fruit tannins combined with deft use of oak really help to support the wine. The use of whole bunch delivers a slightly brooding aspect which just adds to the complexity, length and appeal of this serious wine.
4 / Framingham ‘Nobody’s Hero’ Pinot Noir 2019 (Marlborough) ★★★★★ - 3 $25
This pinot noir has beautiful fragrant poise as though the aromatics are just hovering above the wine in the glass. Gorgeous aromas of both black and red cherry abound. It has a dark, powerful expression yet with a light, elegant and seamless integration of vibrant, youthful fruit and oak combined. This is a wine with wonderful command and a stunning finish.
5 / Sugar Loaf Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2019 (Marlborough) ★★★★★ - 5 $28
Sugar Loaf Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2019 is a very smart and serious piece of pinot work with fragrant red notes and juicy, fleshy fruit and charred-oak notes delivering a vibrant and well-aligned palate. The palate is chewy, layered, dense and long showing a slight sinew character that provides intrigue and dazzle against the sweet and supple tannins.
6 / The Ned Pinot Noir 2019 (Marlborough)
★★★★★ - 3 $26
This is an elegantly crafted pinot noir with bright cherry reds, some darker black notes and a white-pepper note woven in on the nose. It is a succulent wine with persistent vibrancy and drive that manifests in an appealingly linear way. There’s impact and juiciness across the palate with fleshy tannins and svelte balance in what is a still a youthful wine.
7 / Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2019 ★★★★★ - 4 $30
Lovely bright-red cherry, earthy and herbal notes deliver a precise aromatic impact on an inviting and intriguing nose which pulls you into the wine. The palate is laden with earthy complexity and flavours of chocolate, spice and an incredible lusciousness that keeps this wine alive and helps to provide balance and tension between the tannins that parade through the palate.
8 / Villa Maria Single Vineyard ‘Taylors Pass’ Pinot Noir 2018 (Marlborough) ★★★★★ - 5 $60
The bright cherry notes on the nose are inviting, however the real attractiveness is in the complex palate. It’s the exact balance between juiciness and the weighty fruit profile alongside the cedar toast and complex herbal notes intertwined with salivating acidity that really make this pinot stand up. Very well crafted.
9 / Devil’s Staircase Pinot Noir 2020 (Central Otago) ★★★★ - 4 $26
A devilishly good, vibrant pinot noir full of youth and exuberance. Each glass is teeming with bright, juicy, redfruited flavours – a cracking example of fabulous wine frivolity, yet with some serious crunchy, chewy fruit tannins and well-integrated supple oak. All that and great value at this price point.
10 / Mud House Single Vineyard Dambuster Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 ★★★★ - 3 $35
An older pinot that has lost none of its elegance. In fact it has developed wonderfully holding its charm and spine and still boasting primary notes along with the complexity that comes with great wines when bottle aged. Succulent red fruits with structured, fine-grained tannin richness integrated with soft acid giving structural length. Ageing like, well… a fine wine.
Esk Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019 ★★★★ - 4 $25
Fragrant, elegant, subtle aromas you could liken to fresh meadow hay with brightred cherry fruit juiciness layered with earthy aromatics on the nose. Deft oak usage and ripe, easy tannins with a touch of fennel for complexity on the palate. In short, an approachable, drinkable pinot that works well – very smart.
Pyramid Valley North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2019 ★★★★ - 3 $50
An alluring, dense array of black cherry and red spices and just a touch of liquorice on the nose. A vibrant, fleshy, juicy style with power and smooth, silky tannins that linger and coat the mouth. A mouth-filling wine that retains a serene character. A very smart and intriguing wine that’s almost cerebral, if that’s something a wine can be.
Rockburn Pinot Noir 2019 (Central Otago) ★★★★ - 6 $45
Bright-red cherry fruit flavours merge with juicy black fruits – precise with good
density – whole bunch herbaceousness and a brown-spice character that creates lift and provides a delightful sinewiness on the palate. The powerful fruit characteristics are layered and complex complemented by supple oak well integrated.