Place: North Canterbury, NZ
Variety: Pinot Noir
Words from the importer, Bibendum:
Pyramid Valley’s Pinot Noir vineyards are densely planted on clay/limestone slopes. Earth Smoke sits on the richer soils of the two; an expansive, east-facing slope with strong, beautifully structured soils comparatively high in limestone. The name here comes from the nickname given to fumitory, a plant of the poppy family that can be found thriving in this 0.85-hectare plot. Although both wines share a familial DNA, the later-picked Earth Smoke is typically the more structured and darker of the two, with more fruit weight to go with its tender, fine tannins. The fruit for the 2020 was carefully hand-sorted, fully destemmed, and fermented wild. Following 21 to 27 days on skins, the juice was pressed and then settled in tank before being transferred by gravity to French barrels for 18 months.
The aromas themselves are as beguiling as they are surprising: brooding black cherry and dark plum, orange, Christmas cake spices and hints of warm, damp forest. The palate has a pure and comforting ripe black cherry pastry feel that’s pulled into line by wonderful savoury, sappy nuances and fine acidity. It’s dense and long with not an ounce of fat, just-perfect ripeness and the feel of clay and chalk with a refined, mineral-tinged close. Again, it is already showing its inner beauty, but stash it away for at least a few years and you will be rewarded.