Monday, October 29, 2018

Wairau River 2016 Pinot Noir, Marlborough

Pinot Noir is a traditional favorite for Thanksgiving. Here’s a top Pinot pick from New Zealand.

When the frost is on the pumpkin, our thoughts turn to autumn and the Thanksgiving meal. Around here, that means thinking about the best bottles to enjoy with the holiday meal too.  Rising to the top of the list is Pinot Noir.

New Zealand isn’t always top of mind when thinking of Pinot, but we recently opened a bottle that reminds us that this country produces more great wine than just Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough region, is on the northern tip of the South Island and is protected from strong sea winds. Some of the best vineyard land is along the Wairau (why-raow) River, on flat plains where shallow and stony soils promote good vine growth.

The Rose family established their estate vineyards on the banks of the Wairau River in 1978. The wine blends three estate vineyards: Home Block, Spring Creek and Winery Block.
The Southern Alps mountain range runs the length of South Island and dissipates the prevailing winds from the west and creates a “rain shadow” in the region. There is plentiful, but not intense, sunshine. That allows the grapes a long, slow ripening period.

In the glass the Wairau River Pinot is a violet color of medium depth. The aroma is of ripe cherries.
Aging is in French barriques for 10 months. That adds some nice complexity, but doesn’t detract from a supple texture.

There are subtle flavors of raspberry embellished with threads of earth, leather and oak. The finish is short with spice notes.

At a $24.99 SRP, this is a tasty value in New Zealand Pinot Noir. It has the hallmark lighter body and complex flavors of the grape variety wrapped in an elegant package. It’s a marvelous pick for your Thanksgiving Day turkey and the savory side dishes.

Full Disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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