Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Four of the best for International Pinot Day

This year's International Pinot Noir Day was Friday 18 August and since this is typically the coldest time of year in New Zealand, here are four great Pinot Noirs that will see you through the entire month of August.

2019 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir RRP $55.99

This is one of my Pinot Noir highlights this year and tastes incredibly smooth with velvety mouthfeel supporting its plum and ripe dark cherry flavours. Succulent acidity stretches every complex sip to a lingering finish. The wine is made with grapes grown on one of Martinborough's most consistently high quality vineyard sites; Martinborough Vineyard's home block, a stone's throw from the village. Hand sorted grapes were given wild yeast fermentation and plunging with 24 days on skins before being pressed to French oak (24% new) for 12 months ageing. 

2020 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir RRP $58.99
The concentration of flavour, depth of colour, layers of savouriness and long finish made us all immediately think of an east coast Pinot Noir wine region. Its distinctive boldness and complex flavours make this a wine to sip and savour; a vino contemplazione, as my Italian friends would say. Drinking beautifully now and it has the structure to age a lot longer. A keeper.

2022 Rockburn Twelve Barrels Gibbston Pinot Noir RRP $99

There were 12 barrels of this powerful earthy, savoury Pinot Noir made and it is gorgeously balanced by layers of red and dark cherry flavours in a complex, multi layered wine. The grapes in this wine were grown on Rockburn winery’s Gibbston Back Road Vineyard site, which is one of Central Otago’s coolest growing areas and this comes through in the wine’s distinctive flavours of earthiness with notes of dried mushroom, balanced by dry tart cherry flavours, all held in a smoothly structured wine. Daily plunging during fermentation was followed by 14 months in French oak, 50% new, which is integrated and flatters the wine.

2021 Jules Taylor Marlborough Pinot Noir RRP $30.99

When Jules Taylor says Pinot Noir is the rising star of Marlborough, she’s talking about Pinots such as this one, made from grapes grown in the region’s Southern Valleys where elevation to the sun means warmth in the day and cool nights. These factors provide Pinot Noir with depth of flavour from the extended growing season and this wine expresses that in spades with fleshy plum aromas leading into a savoury mocha note on the nose, which is followed by dark cherries and even a touch of spice. All of these flavours are underpinned by the fresh acidity that gives Pinot Noir its hallmark varietal character and adds freshness to every sip.