TN: Still having trouble understanding NZ Pinot - Craggy Range

2010 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Vineyard - New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough
29,50€; 14% abv. I’m not so sure I like NZ Pinot in general. There is always a pretty harsh, piercing aroma that I have trouble getting over - no one else seems to notice this, which makes me hesitant to post about it, but to me it is smells like cranberry juice. But this wine seems pretty normal for NZ PN in my experience: quite dark fruit (apart from that odd, piercing, super-bright, cranberry juice note that no one else notices) and plenty of oak, a bit of alcohol even when cellar temperature. Quite thick initially, then the sharp note hits. This is a bit like drinking Ocean Spray: sweet and sharp and confected. Now, as far as the NZ PNs I’ve tried, this seems to be at the better end of the spectrum, but I still wasn’t really able to enjoy it. But that’s understandable because of my handicap with an aroma only I can smell! :smiley:

On the other boards I frequent, no one seems to understand what I’m talking about with that sharp aroma even though I have sensed it in all NZ PNs I have had. How about here? If so, what might be the cause? And are there any NZ PNs without it?

Otto, NZ pinots puzzle me too. A number have that piercing fruit. I typically experience it more as a combination of red raspberry and cranberry. Last year I tasted a few in a row that were on form and slightly confected, followed by a couple from Larry McKenna’s Escarpment Vineyards that were decidedly more complex. I’ve enjoyed a number from Felton Road but my rule is “pick and choose” for all of them. Some Rippons were recently tasted at La Paulee and appreciating them was kind of like trying to glance at planet Venus during its transit of the sun.


Pyramid Valley
Their Earth Smoke and Angel Flower PN’s were some of the best I had last year-
(and their other wines are incredible as well)

It looks like they have a distributor in Finland

They are generally very over rated IMHO, I have struggled with ripeness and balance in a number of wines of recent.

you are not alone…

Cranberry juice?? I’ve had a lot of Burgundy like that and it IS unpleasant. I don’t find too much acid in NZ reds, more like sweet mulled fruit.


I’m not a fan of cranberry juice and I too notice the aroma in most NZ PN’s, primarily from the Marlborough region. The aroma is less noticeable in PN’s from Central Otago. Regardless of region, I get some cranberry on the palate, less so in Central Otago PN’s. I also prefer the bigger, more fruit forward PN’s, which so far, seem to be more prevalent from Central Otago.

Saying “NZ Pinot” is like saying “US Pinot”. I find the styles vary because of the climate of the different regions. Randy, I expect you’d really like stuff from Martinborough (southeast end of the North Island). Warmer, riper, more fruity and analogous to California, whereas Otago wines would be more analogous to Oregon in climate. I’m not a fan of Marlborough for still Pinot Noir.

I think I understand what folks are referring to as cranberry-raspberry…it does not offend me. I’m a fan of Otago wines, in particular.


Funky Wines usually import great stuff - I’ll have to see if I can get some Pyramid Valley from them. Thanks for the tip, Hardy!

Fred, but I have sensed this unpleasant sharp tone in every NZ PN. It doesn’t matter what part of the country it comes from.

Can anyone explain what might cause that unpleasant note? Is it something caused by wine growing or wine making choices? Clonal choices? Yeast choices?

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