What started about four decades ago as an experimental project, has today converted Pinot Noir into the island country’s second most grown varietal. In the 1970s, vine-cuttings from Burgundy’s Domaine de La Romanée-Conti’s La Tâche Grand Cru were found hiding in a rugby player’s boots in the quarantine area at the airport. Around the same time, soil scientists identified resemblances in conditions at Martinborough with Burgundy, indicating that Pinot Noir was destined to find its second home in New Zealand’s cooler pastures.
The country that had become synonymous with crisp and grassy Sauvignon Blancs has been repositioned by its Pinot success and proved to its critics that it isn’t a one-hit wonder. The fruity, ethereal and hauntingly perfumed reds from this finicky varietal have become a greatly desired by true Pinot Noir connoisseurs.
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