Call it a matter of perspective. But one of the enduring memories of a visit to New Zealand was how many talented winemakers characterized their Pinot Noirs as summer reds.
The more I think about this classification, the more sense it makes. Marrying the juicy and fruity style of many affordable Pinots from Marlborough, Waipara and Nelson with a free-spirited season of picnics and al fresco dining gives separation from more rarefied and costly French bottles that are aptly suited to more formal occasions.
It’s also a savvy positioning that deflates any direct comparison to the highly romanticized view of Pinot Noirs fashioned in the grape’s spiritual homeland in Burgundy.
It’s not a direct question of the rigor and dedication of the winemaking teams responsible, especially when you consider the grape’s notorious fickle nature in the vineyard and cellar. Well-made Pinot doesn’t just happen. It needs to be coaxed into being.