Wine Tasting: The pinot noir of 2009? It's from New Zealand

Wed Feb 3, 2010 12:37am EST
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(Curtis Marsh is a Singapore-based independent wine writer and commentator with nearly 30 years experience in the wine industry. The opinions expressed are his own. His website is

By Curtis Marsh

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - It's a big call, nailing the single wine of 2009 that was most impressionable amongst so many good bottles and an ever-increasing myriad of quality, relatively more approachable wines produced around the globe.

However, Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2006 from Central Otago, New Zealand, is the wine that stimulated my sensory core, viscera and thoughts most in terms of complexity, quality and sheer enjoyment.

It was my house red for a period. I simply could not get enough of it, drinking the supplier in Singapore dry. I then resorted to hording bottles on my travels to Malaysia.

I recently satisfied my thirst for it at Four Seasons in Hong Kong at the two-star Michelin restaurant Caprice. Caprice's head sommelier agreed with my admiration for the wine, in his words, "This wine is comparable to many red burgundies at several times the price." Quite a statement coming from a Frenchman.

Certainly New Zealand pinot noir is distinguishing itself on the world wine stage and unquestionably the red grape showing the most potential in the cooler areas moreover, stylistically diverse between regions with Central Otago center-stage in familiarity, popularity, individuality and arguably the most stunning wine region to visit on the planet.

Perhaps what I like most about Two Paddocks is it is atypical to what people perceive as New Zealand pinot noir and resonate in its individual character.

While unquestionably antipodean with the attractiveness of brighter berry fruits, texturally soft and inviting viscosity, refreshing acidities and a subtle sweetness; a combination of qualities that I find particularly suited to practically every Asian cuisine - whether spicy or not.   Continued...