For most people Sauvignon Blanc is the primary grape that comes to mind when New Zealand is mentioned. And with good reason, they produce quite a bit of it. Not to mention that they also offer a lot of stunning examples, seemingly at every imaginable price point. Pinot Noir however has been coming on strong for awhile now, and who knows, perhaps someday we’ll think of New Zealand for Pinot first. Here’s an example I just tasted that really made me sit up and take notice. The Loveblock 2011 Pinot Noir was produced entirely from one vineyard. Someone’s Darling is a 20 acre block located above the mountains of Central Otago in New Zealand. Five clones of Pinot Noir are planted there. The vineyard is sustainably farmed and accredited as such in New Zealand (SWNZ). The grapes were machine harvested and de-stemmed. They had a 5 day cold pre-soak prior to being inoculated with yeast and undergoing fermentation. This wine most often sells for right around $30. Mushroom, leather, red cherry and bits of earth are all present on the expressive nose of this 2011 Pinot Noir. Wild Strawberry characteristics are joined by red and black cherry, along with rhubarb as well as cinnamon and black pepper on a somewhat weighty palate that is studded with appealing flavors. The finish is lingering and impressive in length with mineral notes, earth and hints of sour cherry. If you love good Pinot Noir that speaks of its origins, this wine is for you. It’s impeccably balanced and has firm, racy acidity. Loveblock 2011 Pinot Noir is delicious all by itself. However it’ll pair well with lots of food choices. Anything with mushrooms, pork dishes, and Pasta Bolognese are just a couple of options.
So while Valentine’s Day may have passed I assume we all still have time for love. If so Loveblock 2011 Pinot Noir is a good choice to keep you warm and cozy for the (hopefully) fading days of winter. Pinot Noir is a varietal I’m personally very finicky about. There are unfortunately too many examples that don’t acquit themselves very well. Sometimes they taste like almost anything but Pinot in fact. Thankfully this isn’t the case here. This is a beautiful expression of Pinot Noir that couldn’t possibly be mistaken for anything else. The fruit is a touch darker in spots than typical perhaps, but Loveblock is a delicious, well made example of Pinot Noir. It should also be mentioned that it’s being sold at a fair price when the quality and depth of this offering is taken into account. Good Pinot Noir is rarely (if ever) cheap. Here’s one that, while not cheap, is worth every penny. If you’re drinking it now, decant it for an hour or so. Otherwise it’ll hold for the next 4-5 years.