2020 Pyramid Valley Angel Flower Pinot Noir
Driven to create one of the new world’s great cool-climate vineyards, it took Mike and Claudia Weersing 15 years and a quixotic global journey that included a lengthy stopover in Burgundy before they found their perfect site. Inspired by the climate and soils of that region, the duo finally found their special place in the limestone-rich soils of Waikari in North Canterbury. From here Mike and Claudia established Pyramid Valley and emerged as NZ pioneers of both biodynamic practices and high-density viticulture. For almost 20 years they inspired and/or challenged all those who came into their orbit. Their minute scale and exceptional dedication to their soils and vines led to some incredible wines being produced. First visiting the vineyard in 2007, Steve Smith MW (then of Craggy Range) was one of many affected by what he describes as one the most compelling and unique vineyards he has ever visited. When Mike’s health went into decline, the Weersings were forced to sell and Smith and his partner Brian Sheth acquired the estate in late 2017. The spectre of Burgundy is writ large over the foundation and ethos of Pyramid Valley, yet we should not expect imitations in terms of the style of the wines. Rather they have their own very distinctive style and energy, and this is precisely as it should be with terroir-driven wines; uniqueness is the point.
Angel Flower is a cooler, more exposed block than Earth Smoke. The shallow soils and north-facing aspect here result in a more floral and aromatic wine, although the weight and shape of the palate have much in common with Pyramid’s other single-site Pinot. The team have also recently planted a little Chardonnay on these soils, recognising its potential as a great white wine terroir.
The 2020 Pinot Noir Angel Flower is a soulful, complex wine that you don't really want to pick apart. Compared with the Pinot Noir Earth Smoke, which hails from the same small estate, it's not as obvious and takes longer to get to know. It's harmonious, round and calming, sitting comfortably in the mouth like a good friend visiting. It's my job to deconstruct wines, but I feel that to do so would be to destroy them. Pure, elegant, and quiet with a confident but unobtrusive line of acidity and airy-light chalky tannins that envelop the mouth. Rich intensity of sweet strawberry, fruit, fennel, thyme and smoky characters without any sense of heaviness. Initially, you might prefer Earth Smoke for its immediate aromatics, but I'd prefer to spend time with Angel Flower getting to know it. Over three days, I tried to get to the bottom of it but soon realized that might take years. Drink 2023-2035.
Rebecca Gibb MW - Vinous
A hint of reduction on the nose blows off to reveal lovely aromas of fresh red cherries, strawberries, rosemary and violet. Then orange peel and fresh mint. Changes all the time. Medium- to full-bodied with silky, tightly knit tannins. Juicy and fresh on the palate. Showing complexity and verve with subtle intensity and length. So pretty right now. This will age nicely. Drink or hold. Screw cap.