Hannah’s June Pinot Noirs

Hannah would like to dedicate this month’s picks to her first vinous love – Pinot Noir.

Known as one of the most fickle grapes, this noble varietal needs extensive care and attention, perfect ripening conditions and very specific soil types in order to flourish. But, in those times where the stars align and the wine gods smile, this grape produces some of the most sublime (and expensive) wines on the planet.

While Central Otago and Oregon compete for the mantle of ‘Best outside of Burgundy’, Martinborough and Sonoma Coast are also producing outstanding examples. We’d love for you to try these outstanding wines of even a delicious Burgundian number thrown in for comparison.

Tasting note bellow.

2016 Aurum Estate Pinot Noir  – Lowburn, Central Otago
2013 Julicher 99 Rows Pinot Noir – Te Muna, Wairarapa
2012 Georgetown Pinot Noir – Kawerau, Central Otago
2014 Cristom Mount Jefferson – Willamette Valley, Oregon
2015 Flowers Pinot Noir  – Sonoma Coast, California
2014 Domaine Olivier ‘Les Temps des Cerises’ – Santenay, Burgundy

(Click to view tasting notes)

Hannah’s May Spotlight – De La Terre

Tony examines grapes at the De La Terre Winery

Later on this month, I am co-hosting an event at Auckland’s Beirut, to celebrate the debut of their new executive chef.  Diners will experience dishes from chef Alex’s exciting new menu, expertly paired with wines from one of the prize stallions in the Dhall & Nash stable – De La Terre. Click here for more information.

The brain-child and personal project of one of Hawke’s Bay’s most celebrated winemakers (Tony Pritchard, 15 years at Church Rd), De La Terre is a family-run vineyard and winery with an uncompromising approach to exceptional winemaking.

The very first time I met Tony last year, I was blown away by his encyclopædic knowledge, and passion for his craft. Tony is a trained food scientist as well as a legendary winemaker, and happily tells how he will sacrifice ‘varietal expression’, in order to produce a wine that is food-friendly. Visits to his custom-built winery often involve a delicious offering from their famous pizza oven to accompany his exceptional wines.

Unsurprisingly, his Chardonnay and Syrah are exemplary. But for me, the real stars are the 5 expressions of Viognier – a particularly fussy varietal, seldom seen outside of it’s spiritual home of the Northern Rhône. I have never experienced a more thrilling Viognier than the 2015 Ridgeline – Tony actually hand-selects specific bunches from his Viognier plantings for this very special wine, based on ripeness and concentration.

I highly rate all of Tony’s wines, and encourage you to discover them.

-Hannah

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