Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Oscar Wilde on the weather and my wine of the week

Wine of the week - aged Pinot Noir

Posted Friday 10 May 2024 

PS   Five of the best Pinot Noirs blog will follow this weekend, giving readers a sneak preview of some of the smallest volume, highest quality red wines in New Zealand today.

Oscar Wilde is famous for many reasons, including his quick wit, which translated to an enormous range of thoughtful comments when he was alive. One of my favourites is about the weather. Unless there is a reason to discuss the weather, I have always felt a sense of suspicion when it is mentioned as a sort of space filled run conversation, so I loved reading Wilde's quote many moons ago; "Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me quite nervous."

Most winemakers will relate. Not that they are nervous for the reasons that Wilde might have been alluding to, but rather because weather ultimately determines the taste and the quality of the wines being made from grapes that grow in the good, the bad and the ugliest of weather conditions. This year the weather was surprisingly outstanding in most of New Zealand's wine regions, which means there is plenty to look forward to for those who love complex wines, wine or red. I say surprising because the 2024 summer follows two miserably difficult ones for those in the North Island of New Zealand, particularly east coast regions, such as Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa; of which Martinborough is the best known and most famous as home to many of New Zealand's top Pinot Noirs. It will be another two years to wait until we are able to taste the wines from 2024 from the many regions that experienced promising conditions this year.

In the meantime, I have been tasting my way through a long line up of Pinot Noirs to write an extensive annual report that I have written for Drinksbiz magazine for the past 14 years. This year's report includes Pinot Noirs that are better than ever and that is the tip of the iceberg. Here is a wine that absolutely shines now, thanks to being intentionally held back by the winery, which had the view that sharing a beautifully aged wine would shine another light on Pinot Noir from the deep south of New Zealand and the world. 

It does.

Wine of the week


2017 Mora Kolo Pinot Noir RRP $115

It's something of a cliche that good things take time and it's also an incredibly apt description of how great a well aged wine can taste, which leads us nicely into this outstanding Central Otago Pinot Noir from the team at Mora. The aim is to make small amounts of the best wine possible and this Pinot Noir certainly makes a good case for best in show. Tasted alongside a long line up of other wines (all with their identities concealed), it stood out for its smoothness, its subtle depths and layers of flavour; aromas of sweet dried cranberries, black cherries and smoked mushrooms lead into a robust full bodied Pinot Noir with lingering flavours. 

The winemaking team's aim is to produce it in small volumes and hold it back for release so it will always be a slightly older wine, putting Pinot Noir's most complex foot forward. The name Kolo is the Maori name for a legendary warrior who protected his family from a pouakai; a Haast eagle.

The legend is majestic and so is the wine.

Buy 2017 Mora Kolo here