New Zealand: Pinot central
Since the boom time of the noughties, the big players have applied an increasingly powerful grip over Central Otago. With little land now left for sale, what’s next for this extraordinary Pinot-producing region, asks Patrick Schmitt MW. Let’s face it, New Zealand is one lucky nation. Not only did the country accidentally create one of today’s most powerful associations in white wine – Marlborough and Sauvignon Blanc – but it went on to do so in red wines too, with Central Otago and Pinot Noir. With the Marlborough Sauvignon success story attributed to the fortuitous combination of the right variety in the right place at the right time almost 50 years ago, similarly, Otago’s Pinot triumph was not planned: as next year marks 30 years since the region’s first commercial release of Pinot Noir, producers willingly admit that they had little sense that this grape would work so well in this remote area – or, indeed, that the variety would become so fashionable.