Pyramid Valley North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2018
96 Points – $50
Drink 2023 – 2030
Grower sourced from a blend of four vineyards from the Waipara region and a mix of clones, this might just be my favourite wine of the entire release, if one factors in both quality and value. There are Burgundians offering Premier Cru wines that wish they were this good and yet are several times the price. You won’t find much better Pinot for $50.
Fermented in open top fermenters with 30% whole bunch (I had to read that three times because you just could not pick it, so well is the wine integrated). French barrels for 11 months, 20% new. Unfined and unfiltered. A lovely, subtle, low-key, complex Pinot. Truffles, warm earth, red fruits, root vegetables, dry herbs and oodles of mixed spices. Juicy acidity, very fine silky tannins, balance and length. What is not to love? Alluring Pinot with 8 to 12 years ahead of it.
Pyramid Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2018
94 Points – $50
Drink 2020 – 2026
From the Manata Estate at Lowburn Ferry (same vineyard providing the fruit for their Home Block Pinot), which was converted to organics in 2018. Close planted – 3,000 vines/hectare. Destemmed, a small amount of whole berry, ten months in French oak, 19% new.
Another fine Pinot, rich and ripe. Flavours boom out like a thumping drum. Cherry flavours and a hint of mushrooms. Some oak. Has some plushness but is not as complex as the North Canterbury wine. More of a crowd pleaser. Slightly fine grainy tannins. Appealing and delicious.
Pyramid Valley ‘Earth Smoke’ Pinot Noir 2018
97 Points – $150
Drink 2025 – 2033
From the same biodynamic vineyard as the ‘Field of Fire’ Chardonnay. Hand destemmed and partially crushed by foot. Wild yeasts, cuvaison for a lunar cycle (28 days), settled for another and then transferred to French barrels by gravity. Élevage for 16 months, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Only 97 six-packs made.
A pale but vibrant red with lifted aromatics. Black cherries, truffles, tobacco leaf, old leather. There is weight on the palate but a lightness as well. Moves into the classic forest floor notes. Bright acidity. Seamless, supple and long. A decade ahead.