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Praiseworthy Pinot Noirs of the New World

Standouts from the Decanter World Wine Awards...

Known as the ‘heartbreak grape’ among winemakers, Pinot Noir is recognised as one of the most difficult varieties to work with, but also the most rewarding. From berry fruits and floral touches to earthy, meaty, spicy notes, quality Pinots can be complex and expressive of terroir.

Burgundy may remain Pinot Noir’s stronghold, but New World producers, with time, understanding, experience and passion are creating praiseworthy Pinots of their own.


Scroll down to see top-scoring New World Pinot Noirs and tasting notes from DWWA


It’s known that cool-climate regions such as Central Otago in New Zealand or Willamette Valley, Oregon specialise in top-quality Pinot Noirs, but as DWWA results reveal, noteworthy examples can be found elsewhere, too.

On judging at the 2021 competition, Decanter World Wine Awards judge and The Wine Society buyer Sarah Knowles MW commented: ‘I think the standard of Pinot Noir across Canada is really improving and I think it’s definitely one of the grapes that Canada should really hang its hat on, especially for the export market.’

Unveiling quality across the globe, below discover the 95pt-plus Pinot Noirs of the New World, tasted and rated by regional specialists at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021.

Praiseworthy Pinot Noirs of the New World

Best in Show

Hahn, Lucienne Smith Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, USA 2018

Hahn-Lucienne-Smith-Vineyard-Santa-Lucia-Highlands-California-USA-2018

97 Best in Show
£63 Castelnau Wine Agencies
This striking wine is from a scenic fillet of land, alternately fog-chilled and breeze-freshened during summer, on the landward side of the Santa Lucia Range mountains next to the chill waters of Monterey Bay. Dark and sweet-scented, with discreet spice and refined black cherry, there’s a peony allure to give it lift, too. It’s vivid and mouth-filling yet structured, poised and fresh: a Pinot that proves the natural wealth which derives from California’s light and soils can work superbly in delivering Pinot of both nuance and sensual charm. Alcohol 14.5%

Australia

Spring Vale, Family Selection, Tasmania 2018

Spring-Vale-Family-Selection-Tasmania-2018

97 Platinum
springvalewines.com
Heady, seductive and silky, this moreish, accomplished wine brings fine-grained tannins supporting layers of cocoa, red berries, ripe strawberry, touches of bacon, incense and macerated plums. Alc 13.5%

Tamar Ridge, Reserve, Tasmania 2019

Tamar Ridge, Reserve, Tasmania 2019

95 Gold
tamarridge.com.au
Smoky and subtle, with an abundance of fine berry fruits, cherries and gun flint, complemented by a leafy background and fine, grainy tannins. Alc 13%

Canada

Little Engine, Gold, British Columbia 2018

Little Engine, Gold, British Columbia 2018

95 Gold
littleenginewines.com
Regal, dark berry, plum and cherry with sweet spice, vanilla and toast. Some earthy, meaty notes and plush, rounded tannins. An opulent style with full but well integrated oak. Alc 13.9%

Chile

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Malleco Valley 2019

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Malleco Valley 2019

95 Gold
POA Hallgarten Wines
Lovely smoky summer berry aromas with notes of dark cherry and oak spices. Appealing with plenty of fruit. Pure and elegant expression, lovely finish. Alc 13.4%

Japan

Camel Farm Winery, Private Reserve, Yoichi, Hokkaido 2019

Camel Farm Winery, Private Reserve, Yoichi, Hokkaido 2019

95 Gold
camelfarm.co.jp
Sumptuous cherry, rosehip, raspberry and pomegranate aromatics. Concentrated and impressive with layered complexity. Long mineral finish. Such purity and sense of place. Alc 12.5%

New Zealand

Brennan, Gibbston, Central Otago 2016

Brennan, Gibbston, Central Otago 2016

97 Platinum
brennanwines.com
A perfumed, complex nose of cherry and strawberry over pepper spice and mocha. Satisfying Sunday roast flavours dominate, with some red fruit, florality and tannin on a long, mellow and savoury finish. Alc 13%

Yealands, Winemaker’s Reserve, Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2017

Yealands, Winemaker’s Reserve, Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2017

96 Gold
£19.45-£21.50 (2016) Chiltern Wines, NZ House of Wine, The Great Wine Co, Vinvm
A developing wine, offering savoury truffle aromas allied to red fruits and smoky, meaty character. Plenty of savoury fruit, peppery oak on a long finish. Alc 13%

Wooing Tree, Central Otago 2019

Wooing Tree, Central Otago 2019

95 Gold
£33.15 (2018) Frontier Fine Wines, Port2Port
Aromatic intensity with dark cherry, spice and a mocha lift. A complex palate with a bright red fruit style, ripe tannins and appetising finish. Alc 13.5%

South Africa

Bouchard Finlayson, Tête de Cuvée, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2019

Bouchard Finlayson, Tête de Cuvée, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2019

96 Gold
£95-£98.35 Frontier Fine Wines, Port2Port, Wine Direct
Shows class and pedigree. A shy, tight nose of tilled earth and freshly cured bresaola. Young, tight, concentrated black fruits, on an intense, mouthwatering palate. Alc 14%

USA

Audeant, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2017

Audeant, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2017

97 Platinum
US$49.95 K&L Wine Merchants
Opulent nose of blackberry and blueberry, gentle oak weaved with hints of leather and grilled meats. Plush, with lovely tannins, dried cherry acidity, balanced oak. Tremendous. Alc 13.8%

Long Meadow Ranch, Pinole, Anderson Valley, California 2017

Long Meadow Ranch, Pinole, Anderson Valley, California 2017

97 Platinum
US$80 longmeadowranch.com
A nose of rich dark fruits with hints of maraschino cherry, marzipan, smoked meats and toast. Rich and lush with an open, round palate, fine cotton tannins and a delicacy to the finish. Alc 13%

Domaine Serene, Triple S Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Oregon 2017

Domaine Serene, Triple S Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Oregon 2017

96 Gold
domaineserene.com
Sweet spice on the nose: toasted wood, dried leather, coffee. Rich red fruit and blueberry palate with refreshing acidity and excellent intensity. Long chewy finish. Alc 14%

Donum, Three Hills, Los Carneros, California 2019

Donum, Three Hills, Los Carneros, California 2019

96 Gold
thedonumestate.com
Plush blue and black cherry compote fruit flavours. Smooth, deep, supple and mouthcoating, though just enough acidic vitality with modest structure and some earthiness. Alc 13.8%

J Vineyards, Russian River Valley, California 2018

J Vineyards, Russian River Valley, California 2018

96 Gold
US$29-$45 Widely available across US states
Ripe, expressive, with a cherry-menthol red fruit overlay, cookie dough spice and hints of wild jasmine and charred wood. Ripe and warming. Alc 14.6%

Audeant, Luminous Hills Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2017

Audeant, Luminous Hills Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2017

95 Gold
US$59.95 K&L Wine Merchants
Plenty of sweet and savoury notes; dark chocolate, toasted wood, oak, ripe black cherries. Rounded, with a fine-grained tannin on the finish. Alc 14.1%

Domaine Serene, Grace Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Oregon 2017

Domaine Serene, Grace Vineyard, Dundee Hills, Oregon 2017

95 Gold
domaineserene.com
Rich palate of dried strawberry and grilled red pepper with some charred wood. Chewy and slightly warming finish with textured, layered, well-handled tannins. Alc 14.4%

Long Meadow Ranch, Perrygulch, Anderson Valley, California 2017

Long Meadow Ranch, Perrygulch, Anderson Valley, California 2017

95 Gold
longmeadowranch.com
An appealing wine showing mature notes of game and leather alongside stewed plum, expressive mulberry, and cherry. Rounded mid-palate, weighty, with retaining freshness and ripe tannins. Alc 13%

Marimar Estate, La Masía, Russian River Valley, California 2017

Marimar Estate, La Masía, Russian River Valley, California 2017

95 Gold
£36-£48 Fareham Wine Cellar, Harvey Nichols, Vinvm
Ripe, bright, slightly spiky kirsch-maraschino cherry jam, Christmas spice and cola with hints of cocoa powder. Plump, with fine grippy tannins in support. Alc 14.5%


Search all DWWA 2021 award-winning wines


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