I’ve neglected New Zealand since I started writing, not for any reason in particular, but just because I haven’t had any of their wines at hand and hadn’t gone out of my way to pick up any. In fact, I’ve been to New Zealand twice, and while only one trip was wine related, it is a lovely country, they produce some fantastic wines, and I was proud to put on a New Zealand jersey to support them when I watched one of their draws in South Africa a year and a half ago. Their national team in football/soccer is the All Whites, as opposed to their rugby squad which is the All Blacks. It was potentially awkward, being an All Whites supported in South Africa, but no harm came of it.
As to their wine, they’re a very fortunate country. They’ve come to the international wine trade business relatively recently, but they’ve done well to establish themselves with good quality wines across the board, and as such brand New Zealand commands better prices than most countries in important markets such as the UK. They made a certain style of Sauvignon Blanc fashionable, to the point that some Old World producers have made changes to their winemaking. While they don’t get quite the same value per bottle they did a few years back, New World producers (and some Old) would love to be the next Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.
So while New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has certainly had an impressive rise on international markets to the point that I believe it’s not in decline, they haven’t quite had the same success with Pinot Noir. It’s been a success, certainly, but more a success in establishing itself as a category and Central Otago as a region, rather than dominating a whole sector the way New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc did.
When I bought this bottle I was of two minds. First, I wanted a Kiwi Pinot Noir where my notes would broadly be applicable to a wide range of their offerings. On the other hand, I also wanted a wine I’d be happy to enjoy with a meal. Two Paddocks is a well known New Zealand producer, and while it’s not exactly the most common wine on the shelves, this one ticks both boxes I was after. This is a wine you can find around the world, and it is very typical of the Central Otago style. It’s a step up from their Picnic Wines, but at roughly $40/bottle it’s not overly expensive. The only thing that really would set it apart from what’s most readily available in this category is its age – as a 2006 it’s at least a couple of years older than the current release.
It’s a lovely wine – lots of sour cherry and herbs. At five years old, it’s not so fruit forward that I immediately think New World, but when I look at the colour I can see that the age is the factor in the restraint, not the winemaking. The herbs are quite savoury, and I look forward to tasting something like this next to a Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills to pick out the differences. I know they have a different flavour profile, but it’s book learning and I would love to internalize it with some glasses in front of me.
Clear and bright, medium-plus garnet, quick legs.
Clean, developing, with medium intensity of iodine, red cherry, herbs and cinnamon.
Dry, with medium intensity, medium fine tannins, medium-plus acidity, medium alcohol and medium-minus body. Notes of black pepper, sour black cherry, herbs and a gamey character. Medium-plus length and a spicy finish.
This is a very good quality wine – while not particularly intense, the flavour profile is very pleasing and complex across fruit, herb/spice and meat characters. While the body is relatively light and the acidity relatively high, it works for a wine of this style. While it’s showing its age of five years, I think there is more to come as fruit will give way to further secondary characters. Can drink now, will improve over the next three years.