Wines of the week… Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir

Sileni tasting at Regional Wines & Spirits, 5 July 2017

Who would have thought that Hawke’s Bay would make Pinot Noir than North Canterbury?
The leading producer of Pinot in Hawke’s Bay is Sileni Estates, which makes up about 50% of the crush of this variety in the Bay each year.

There are 5 wines in the range and today we are tasting four because the Parkhill Pinot has sold out, such is its success.

Sileni Estate winery is in the Bridge Pa Triangle, a warmer area and home to later ripening varieties such as Merlot

Most of the winery’s Pinot vineyards are slightly inland and 100 metres up in altitude, which reduces temperature significantly. It’s a short drive but a long way to these vineyards at Mangatahi and Crownthorpe Terraces.

Winemaker Cairn predicts that most future growth in Hawke’s Bay is going to be in the cooler climate inland areas, as far as land availability goes.

The Hawke’s Bay Pinots

Top buying – 2016 Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noir $18

I try to avoid the words ‘easy drinking’ because it can sound patronising, but it’s really true of this lively, fruity, spicy, light bodied red, which is made in high volume and drinks deliciously well now. It’s finish lingers longer than its price might suggest. A great value Pinot putting Hawke’s Bay best foot forward under $20.
Approximately 80% of the grapes in this wine come from Mangatahi inland in Hawke’s Bay with the 20% balance from Te Awanga.

2016 Sileni Plateau Pinot Noir $32

A big step up in style with medium ruby colour, medium body and deeper red fruit flavours, a longer finish and hints of smoky aroma from minimum oak maturation with a smidgeon of new oak adding body and interesting savoury notes to the finish.

2016 Sileni Parkhill Pinot Noir $32

Line priced with the Plateau Pinot Noir, this wine is made from the Parkhill Vineyard; a north west facing, clay based vineyard at Te Awanga. Lovely drink-me-now wine with medium body and finish.

2015 Sileni Springstone Pinot Noir $35

Bigger, bolder but still very PInotesque in style – pale ruby colour, dry, high acid and red cherry flavours with firm body from the 15% whole bunches included in the ferment and no new oak. The whole bunches provide body and length and this wine drinks well, but can evolve well for another 4 to 5 years.

2014 Sileni EV Pinot Noir $70

This wine’s name “EV” stands for Exceptional Vintage and this is a blend from the best batches of Pinot in the winery (selected by the trio of winemakers at Sileni) with approximately 25% new oak for 9 months, which is relatively low for a New Zealand winery – and welcome too, in my view, because it allows the fruit to shine. Very pinotesque indeed – delicious.

Try it.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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