We have only seen a stereotype of NZ Pinot - that of chocolate covered cherries and Ocean Spray/cranberry sweet-tartness - that I really hate. So I was pretty much ready to forget about the whole region. But gladly we have some small, intrepid importers here than do try to get us something good. And on the basis of these two wines, I feel I must now say goodbye to my anti-NZ PN stance.
Cambridge Road "Animus" Pinot Noir 2011 - Martinborough
This is perfumed and sexy with bright aromas of Pinosity - it isn't the stereotype of chocolate covered cherries than so much of NZ PN is. Lovely structure, refreshing, no cranberry harshness, and the 14% abv is not noticeable. So, yes, it works for me (I already liked the Pinot of 2009 but Lance Redgwell has since tried to make wines in an even more elegant style). This is a very nice Pinot. It's not Burgundy (nor should it be since it's from the other side of the planet) but it has wonderfully expressive Pinosity and not at as much obvious oak as the 2009. So it is enjoyable and very good.
Pyramid Valley Cowley Family Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 - Marlborough
To further smash my preconceptions of NZ PN to smithereens we opened this Pyramid Valley. There is no cranberry harshness that Kiwi Pinot often has, instead it is full of what can only be described as Pinosity of a sexy and earthy and ripe style. The 14,5% alcohol is slightly noticeable, but not so much that I'd worry about it. It's moreish. Great stuff. Apparently some new oak is used, but I didn't notice it.
I would gladly buy both wines again. (Which is something I don't think I've ever said about NZ PN before!)
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.