Finding the right site for growing good Pinot is no easy task. It’s sensitivity to the heat and need for just the right climatic conditions means there are only a select few pockets in the world where it not just grows but grows well. These sites imbue Pinot each with their own unique expression, character and style which make this such a fascinating varietal to drink.
While Burgundy may be the spiritual home, we have happily taken the challenge of growing world class Pinot on our southern shores for some time now and with great success.
New Zealand have been quick to do the same with the popularity of Central Otago and Martinborough nothing short of astonishing. These wines have fast become much sort after collectors’ items as well as staples on restaurant wine lists.
The tyranny of distance and availability of wines from the USA sometimes precludes us from including the countries wines on this list but there is not doubt that the USA is a world-class producer of Pinot. Sonoma's southern coastal areas with their cool ocean breeze provide the perfect moderating influences for this demanding and difficult variety.
Representing Australia we have the latest release of the Moorooduc Robinson Pinot. The McIntyres have perfected the art of the wild ferment and their single vineyard wines represent the best of the best of Mornington Peninsula Pinot. Andrew Marks of Gembrook Hill has been putting out his personal project Wanderer in the much lauded Upper Yarra Valley. His experience and skills show through in this spicy and up-beat Pinot.
When it come to New Zealand you are often an Otago or a Martinborough lover but with the likes of Valli and Escarpment it might be hard not to sit on the fence a bit. Larry McKenna's project in the Martinbourough Valley has a cult status and his wines are generally highly allocated. The 2016 Estate offers a fantastic snap-shot of what this eponymous estate is all about.
Grant Taylor's vision for Valli has been much realised. With Jenn Parr at his side they have taken Otago Pinot to the next level with their regional focus. The Gibston Pinot always seems to be the most complete wine out of the gate and in 2017 it is a stunner!
Run by Andy and Nick Peay and Nick's wife Vanessa Wong (winemaker), the trio's attention to detail in the vineyards and prosecution of their unique isolated site in the northern reaches of the West Sonoma Coast just a few miles from the Pacific creates a formidable combination of site and talent. The Sonoma coast blend is from multiple single vineyard sites as well as fruit that doesn't make the cut for the upper tier wines. Its a pitch-perfect example of great California Pinot.
Last and certainly not least is one of the best value wines out of Burgundy from the infamous Nicolas Potel at Domaine de Bellene. The Cotes de Nuits Village comes off several plots and from vines averaging 70 years old. Its always represents whats so great about burgundy - an earthy, mineral line with lifted, florals and sweet red fruits. The generosity of the 18 vintage has added and extra layer of warmth to this wine that makes it irresistible.
We hope you enjoy this fantastic collection of the pillars of Pinot from around the world.
Cheers, Myles and the Team at PWS