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Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2012
Pair the 2012 Pinot Noir with soy glazed bbq pork ribs and confit of duck leg.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In 1984 founder David Hohnen and his partner Kevin Judd were convinced of New Zealand wines’ great potential. They set up their winery in the then little-known Marlborough region; Cloudy Bay was born. Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc was an immediate hit with wine lovers due to its unique striking aromatics and mineral wine profile.
It captured the essence of Marlborough and put Cloudy Bay on the international wine stage. Thirty years later, Cloudy Bay remains New Zealand’s most recognized winery. In line with David Hohnen’s visionary spirit, Cloudy Bay planted its first Pinot Noir in 1985 when the potential of the region for Pinot Noir was just starting to be realized. Good things take time, especially with Pinot Noir which is a very challenging varietal, and it wasn't until 1994 that Cloudy Bay released its first Pinot Noir wine.
Today Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir reflects many years of hard earned experience and the provenance of Cloudy Bay's unique collection of premium Pinot Noir vineyards.
Cloudy Bay winemaking philosophy is based on transmitting the interpretation of New Zealand wines and terroirs. The team is committed to producing 'wines of the region' and strives to enhance the pure, bracing flavors naturally afforded by the climate and soils of Marlborough and Central Otago.
An icon and leading region of New Zealand's distinctive style of Sauvignon blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir, making it ideal for high quality grape production (of many varieties). Despite some common generalizations, which could be fairly justified given that Marlborough is responsible for 90% of New Zealand's Sauvignon blanc production, the wines from this region are actually anything but homogenous. At the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from well-draining stony soils, a dry, sunny climate and wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, a phenomenon that supports a perfect balance between berry ripeness and acidity.
The region’s king variety, Sauvignon blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones, vineyard sites, fermentation styles, lees-stirring and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings, one from one another.
One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
In the Glass
Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.