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New Zealand Pinot Noir Tasting from Central Otago

Bread Meat Cheese Plate

Only two weeks after a Pinot Noir Tasting trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, I find myself in New Zealand’s Central Otago region. As one of the world’s great Pinot Noir #win growing regions, I had no choice but increase my knowledge of these local varietals.


Luckily, I had an excellent plate of breads, meats and cheeses to help me make my way through a multitude of wines. So here’s the list of New Zealand Pinot Noirs from the Central Otago I tasted last night:

  • 2012 Gibbston Valley School House: Full bodied, loved it, 90.
  • 2012 Valli Gibbston Pinot Noir: Also full bodied and loved it, 90.
  • 2012 Valli Waitaki Pinot Noir: Medium bodied, liked it, 88.
  • 2010 Pasquale Pinot Noir: Full bodied, loved it, 90.
  • 2009 Tarras Estate Pinot Noir: Zingy, spicy and warm, loved it, 91.
  • 2011 Hawkshead First Vines Pinot Noir: Liked it, 88.
  • 2011 Carrick Pinot Noir: Light bodied, didn’t like it.
  • 2012 Mondillo Pinot Noir: Tasted like cough medicine.
  • 2012 Alex Gold Pinot Noir: Big, bold, liked it, 89.

Since I was in Queenstown, I stuck to Pinots that were a little closer to home than the lighter bodied cousins from Marlborough. I barely scratched the surface and so I encourage you to explore all the wonderful wines Central Otago on the south island has to offer the next time you find yourself in this part of the world.


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