Regularly described as being the grape varietal responsible for producing the world's most romantic wines, Pinot Noir has long been associated with elegance and a broad range of flavors The name means 'black pine' in French, and this is due to the fact that the fruit of this particular varietal is especially dark in color, and hangs in a conical shape, like that of a pine cone. Despite being grown today in almost every wine producing country, Pinot Noir is a notoriously difficult grape variety to cultivate. This is because it is especially susceptible to various forms of mold and mildew, and thrives best in steady, cooler climates. However, the quality of the fruit has ensured that wineries and vintners have persevered with the varietal, and new technologies and methods have overcome many of the problems it presents. Alongside this, the wide popularity and enthusiasm for this grape has ensured it will remain a firm favorite amongst wine drinkers for many years to come.
Across the Cook Strait on North Island, Wellington, around the town of Martinborough, has a cool climate, long dry autumns and gravel soils - all precisely suiting the requirements of the finicky Pinot Noir vine. Wines from this area rival the finest Pinot Noirs, and their refreshing acidity gives them the potential for further aging. Wellington also produces some botrysized Riesling which can be very fine.