They say it’s really hard to describe great pinot noir. I’ve given these three a fairly decent crack though …

Jules Taylor OTQ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 $43

Can you even believe the gorgeousness of this bottle? It shouldn't matter, but holy Nora! Happily the wine inside is just as opulent and exotic. With a nose oozing cherry-cola and a lash of liquorice, it follows with a fleshy, plum-induced palate-frenzy of flavour. Jules calls her top-tier wines OTQ, which is short for "On The Quiet" - but she needs to re-think that, because the noise they make on release means they sell out super-quick.

Sip with: mushroom risotto.
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Misha's Vineyard "The High Note" Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 $44.95


I have been hanging out to taste this, the new vintage of High Note, for what seems like forever. Winemaker Olly Masters insists on leaving this wine for a good few years to mature, for those fresh spices, wild cherry and berry flavours, smoky notes and hedgerow fruits to knit together. Plush and plucky, it's ripe, generously proportioned and darned delicious.

Sip with: classic duck confit.

Hopes Grove Hawke's Bay Pinot Noir 2015 $30

Here's the debut pinot from Pieter and Paige Koopman's vineyard on Anderson Rd in sleepy Paki Paki, just south of Hastings. Soils rich in limestone have produced pinot noir grapes that when crushed, create aromatic, baked berry flavours, cocoa-dusted rhubarb and super-fresh spices, yet it's light and luscious.

Sip with: duck rillettes and crusty bread.