Wairarapa wine pips $7000 French drop in blind tasting

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Martinborough Vineyard winemaker Paul Mason with a bottle of their 1998 Reserve pinot noir. Photo / Lynda Feringa
Martinborough Vineyard winemaker Paul Mason with a bottle of their 1998 Reserve pinot noir. Photo / Lynda Feringa

A $200 bottle of Martinborough pinot noir has blitzed in a blind tasting a $7000-a-pop rival from France and a clutch of renowned wines from around the world.

The Kiwi wine was crowned the finest at a tasting on Friday at the redwhite + bluezz wine bar and jazz club in Pasadena, California, in a contest to find the world's top 20 pinot noir wines.

According to an LA Weekly writer and the wine review blogger for the Pasadena Star-News, the bottle of Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 1998 Reserve trumped 19 other wines at the tasting, conquering on the way a $7000 bottle of 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tache.

Pinot noirs from Burgundy placed well at the contest, with three wines in the top five including a $260 bottle of 1996 Mortet Clos Vougeot and a 1996 Hudelot-Noelle Richebourg at $600 a bottle.

The top California pinot noir was a $350 bottle of 1991 Williams Selyem Rochioli, which placed seventh.

A 2001 Edna Ranch Estate pinot from Tolosa Winery took 9th place and, despite being the least expensive wine at the contest, placed ahead of a $700 bottle of 2001 Bass Phillip Reserve from Australia.

The Martinborough winner was one of two New Zealand wines represented at the contest as well as a pick of pinot noir offerings from California, Oregon, Australia, Germany and France.

Vineyard winemaker Paul Mason said yesterday a bottle of the Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 1998 Reserve - if you can get it - would cost about $200 a bottle.

Master of Wine Bob Campbell said in an earlier critique of the 1998 Pinot Noir Reserve that the wine "has a great future".

"A powerful, youthful pinot noir in a very Burgundian style with strong black cherry flavours and a very good underlying sappy/stemmy complexity. Destined to be a classic," he said.

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