While we continue to expand our collection of Burgundies, more and more new-world winemakers are coming to terms with this challenging variety. Australians have identified Geelong, the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria as suited to premium Pinot Noir. More recently, Tasmania has shot up the ranks. Mount Mary, Farr Rising and Tolpuddle are names to seek out. New Zealand is also producing some compelling, full bodied wines. Look for regions like Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago.
Once you experience it, you never forget it. For some wine lovers, Pinot Noir becomes an obsession.
While promising one of world's greatest wine experiences, it can also deliver some of the most disappointing. What is it about Pinot that makes it so frustratingly variable? There are known quality factors which offer encouragement to winemakers. Micro-climates have been observed to play an important part in a successful matrix, particularly the diurnal temperature range. Pinot Noir is a little like Riesling, in the sense that it requires warm, but not overly hot days and cool nights to fully develop its maximum flavour potential. Sunshine hours, rainfall, time and rate of precipitation are all important. Countering this is the fact that the same clone will not respond to differences in micro-climate in the same way. Older vines make better wines. Creative and adaptive viticultural management and winemaking are essential.
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