Spotting the perfect Pinot

I recently installed Spotify on my computer. For a modest monthly fee this very clever piece of software gives me access to a seemingly infinite number of songs, albums and artists. So vast is the choice that I enlisted the help of a menu that groups music by clever titles such as “Air Punch!”, “Young, Wild & Free”, “Yoga and Meditation” and the depressingly titled “Life sucks” featuring tracks such as “Only love can hurt like this” and “Misery”. I needed music to accompany a large Pinot Noir tasting and chose “Smooth Morning” described as “A soft start to your morning – no fast beats, screaming or shouting allowed”. It was perfect.

So perfect in fact that I have dreamed up my own titles to help you choose the perfect Pinot for a particular food or mood.

Fruit Bomb Smoothie

Masses of ripe fruit flavours with a satin knickers texture

Dress to impress

An iconic label designed to make any wine lover salivate

My God, it tastes like Burgundy!

Kiwi wine with a strong French accent

  • Fromm Brancott Valley Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2012 – $53.66 (tastings)
  • Valli Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2013 – $65 (tastings)

Reach for the roast lamb

Probably tastes twice as good with food

Super seconds

Classy second labels by top producers (in this case Nautilus and Greystone)

  • Opawa Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2013 – $28.95 (tastings)
  • Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir, Waipara 2013 – $22 (tastings)

Buy now, drink later

Solidly structured wine with serious cellaring potential

If you need the perfect piece of music to accompany your chosen wine, try Pinot Noir, a solo piano piece by Robert Skiles from his album “Noble Grapes”. Yes, I found it on Spotify.

Bell Hill Pinot Noir, North Canterbury 2011 – $105

Yes, it is one of the country’s most expensive Pinot Noir labels, but it earned the highest score I have ever awarded to a Pinot Noir. It hasn’t been released quite yet. I suggest you add your name to this tiny winery’s mailing list and move fast when the wine goes on sale. This is seriously good Pinot Noir. – view on

Fromm Clayvin Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2012 – $80.63

Marlborough’s first hillside vineyard is now regarded as one of the region’s best. Very dense fruit suggesting vine age with plum, black cherry, spice and a hint of chocolate. A rich, silky texture is the icing on the cake. Impressive wine with a history of ageing very well indeed. – view on

First published in KiaOra Magazine – Sep 2014.

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