Lately, I haven't just been drinking a ton of New Zealand wines; I've also been learning a lot about them, too. At a recent wine tasting, I was taken by the aromatic whites and Pinot Noirs of Central Otago, a remote, barren, plains-swept region in the South Island that occupies a valley between the snow-capped mountain ranges where Lord of the Rings was filmed.
It's amongst the dry, high plains that the grapes of Peregrine are hand-harvested to produce wines such as a luscious 2007 Pinot Noir ($29). The silty soil allows for exceptional drainage, producing a Pinot that's Burgundian in style, yet even darker and more concentrated. I noted the wine was soft on the nose, with cherry up front, some red plum in the middle of the palate, and a supple finish. It's a reserve-quality bottle with an extremely reasonable price tag. Have you ever had a New Zealand Pinot Noir?