Cuisine Wine

NZ Pinot Noir Tasting results

20 April 2024 (Cuisine magazine Issue 223)

Spectacular wines from the 2021 vintage star in this pinot noir tasting, says MARY-THÉRÈSE BLAIR.

They say great wines can be made in bad vintages: while the vintage overall may be disappointing, someone somewhere will succeed in making a great wine. It’s just that the truly great wines are few and far between in a tough year. But, in a good year? Here in New Zealand pinot noir is a barometer for vintage quality and, as you will see below, the results of Cuisine’s latest tasting reveal what those in the wine world already know: 2021 was a spectacular year. The 2021 wines shone bright against their 2022 compatriots, as 2022 was a much more challenging vintage. In 2021 the conditions were fabulous throughout most of the pinot growing regions and winemakers were au fait with how to handle the complex experience that was vintage in a COVID world. The result is a range of pinot noir wines that show their regional style beautifully and that are fantastic to drink straight away, but will also age gracefully.

top NZ Pinot Noir

Wet Jacket Pinot Noir 2021 (Central Otago)

I admit to questioning why someone would name a wine brand after something that inherently smells bad, such as a wet jacket. So, a few years ago I delved a little deeper into Wet Jacket Wines as I was quite beguiled by their pinot noir rosé. It turns out that the name refers to Wet Jacket Arm (Moana Uta), a remote yet stunningly beautiful part of Fiordland so named by Captain Cook during his second trip to New Zealand in 1773. During this stay Cook’s crew took longboat trips to explore and one group returned completely sodden after getting caught in a storm. As a result, Wet Jacket Arm was the name given by Cook to the area.

For Greg Hay, the owner of Wet Jacket Wines, Wet Jacket Arm is a spiritual retreat. He spends a great deal of time hunting and foraging in the area and is passionately dedicated to wildlife conservation as a trustee of the Fiordland Conservation Trust. The trust exists to ensure the survival of endangered native and endemic birds in Fiordland and protect the taonga of southern New Zealand.

With this wine, the Wet Jacket team has reflected the rugged beauty of their namesake. It is wonderfully deeply coloured with aromas of cherries, blackberries and Black Doris plums with some red fruits set against dark, violet florals. The complex nose leads into an equally complex palate which is beautifully balanced with great concentration. The palate is plush and soft with lifted sweet fruit, vanilla and dried thyme alongside brooding, earthy forest floor that gives yet another level of complexity. Poised pinot perfection.

| $45
→ more 1 View All Results in the Wet Jacket Pinot Noir 2021 (Central Otago) Tasting

Star ratings for this tasting

» How ratings work

  • Outstanding 5
  • Excellent 4
  • Very Good 21
  • Good 54
  • No Award 23
  • Total Entries 107