Top 5 New World Pinot Noirs
29th March 2022
Pinot Noir is a finicky grape. It's notoriously difficult to grow, which is partly why it's hugely intriguing to New World winemakers and their entrepreneurial spirit and emphasis on making wines utilising modern advances, but it's part of why we love it so.
We've chosen our favourite New World Pinot Noirs from the following countries:
- New Zealand: grown all over NZ but traditional success in Martinborough (S end of North Island) and Marlborough (N of South Island), followed by splendid (but sometimes over-ripe and over-alcoholic) wines from newer plantings in Central Otago in South Island.
- Australia: usually too hot (and therefore jammy, unsubtle and fast-maturing) but some fine Pinots from cooler areas such as Adelaide Hills (S. Australia) and around Melbourne in Victoria.
- Chile: most successful in cooler, Pacific Ocean influenced sites, e.g. Aconcagua Costa, Casablanca, San Antonio, Itata and the far south – Bio-Bio.
- USA: where best in cooler valleys open to maritime influence such as the Californian fog in Carneros
With so many beautiful Pinot Noir discoveries to be found from New World countries, we've hand-picked our favourites for 2022.
Here’s our selection of the Top 5 New World Pinot Noirs for 2022:
- Errázuriz, Pinot Noir, Aconcagua Costa, Chile, 2020
- Wickhams Road, Pinot Noir, Gippsland, Australia, 2020
- Carneros, Avant-Garde Pinot Noir, Carneros, USA, 2019
- Hoddles Creek, 1er Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Australia, 2019
- Felton Road, Bannockburn Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand, 2018
The latest vintage of the Aconcagua Costa Pinot is again brilliant. From vineyards on schist at Manzanar, it benefits from proximity to the cold Pacific Ocean, just 12 kilometres away, as the vines are refreshed and kept healthy by sea breezes.
"Restrained nose showing aromas of raspberry, clove and cedary oak. Dense fruit on the palate with layered herbal and cherry notes and a racy freshness. 90/100", Decanter, Chilean Pinot Noir panel tasting, October 2021
Gippsland is an up-and-coming coastal region east and south of Melbourne. From here the grapes come back to be vinified by Franco at Hoddles Creek. Pale crimson tone. So light and approachable, full of crushed strawberries with herbal hints of rosemary. Summer-puddingy, supple and so friendly. The Australians would call it “smashable”. Now-2023
“Very pale ruby indeed. Perhaps that’s the current Australian fashion. The wine has developed a certain earthiness on the nose since I last tasted it. After the beguiling fruit, it finishes dry and appetising. I wouldn’t hold on to it for that long but it seems at a really nice stage of drinkablity now with a satisfying finish. A red to serve as a very appealing aperitif to those who don't drink white? Or with simple fish and really light savoury dishes? GV. 16.5/20”, Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com, 28th October 2021.
Carneros was co-founded by Taittinger in 1987 as a sparkling wine estate, but the quality of the Pinot demanded bottling on its own by 1992. Carneros is a sweet spot for Pinot, cooled by proximity to San Pablo Bay.
Burgundian winemaking (open top fermenters and ageing in French oak) delivers an appealingly strawberryish glass of pure pleasure. Youthful but svelte; pure and jewelly but correctly dry; and with just a hint of umami savouriness hiding in the background. the merest light chilling for maximum enjoyment. Now-2025
“A wine of remarkable value and world class quality – if you’re a lover of Pinot Noir then this is a must buy. This is Australian Pinot Noir at its very best”, Garry Walsh, The Wine Front.
“Violets, mushrooms with a real undertow of something quite nuanced. Light tannins and admirably persistent. 17/20. Drink 2021-2025”, Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com, May 2021
Felton Road make the best Pinots in New Zealand: the driven perfectionism of English owner Nigel Greening - who has embraced organics and bio-dynamics (Demeter certified) - combined with the light touch wine-making of Blair Walter (now using more whole bunch fermentation) ensure that these intensely fruited, fleshy wines are brilliant every vintage; and age superbly.
The Bannockburn is a benchmark wine among all New World Pinots: heated raspberries and strawberries with a hint of coffee; supple and perfumed, already delicious but also ageworthy. Now-2027
Exclusive to Stone, Vine & Sun
We source our amazing wines from small independent winemakers and as such you’re unlikely to find them anywhere else in the UK.
Due to their exclusivity, these beautiful wines New World Pinot Noirs may sell out. If any of our selection of top picks are unavailable, you can get in touch with us & we’d be delighted to suggest some delicious alternatives.