|When to drink
Pyramid Valley are probably New Zealand’s most exciting “newcomers” of the past few years, making some of the most impressive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays outside Burgundy. Situated about 50kms north of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, their cool climate, high altitude vineyards are based on a mix of clay and limestone soils. The vineyards were planted in 2000 and have been cultivated biodynamically ever since. In 2017 the winery was sold to Steve Smith MW, one of New Zealand’s most accomplished winemakers and formerly the head winemaker at Craggy Range. At 20+ years of age, the vines are now beginning to show their true potential. These are fantastic, single site, terroir-expressive wines and seriously good value alternatives to Burgundy!
“Sitting beside Lion’s Tooth and picked a week to ten days later, this is imperceptibly richer and a tone or two darker than Angel Flower. With a more elemental stance on the palate, again, the name of the wine is truly evocative of its flavour. That it is named after a weed found growing wild in the vineyard is borderline unbelievable, but it’s true. In the same way that Lion’s Tooth Chardonnay was tougher and more unyielding than Field of Fire, Earth Smoke is the more belligerent and belligerent of the Pinot pair. Backward and this time more akin to a brooding, squarecut Morey-Saint-Denis, this wine needs ages but will be utterly astonishing when it finally falls into equilibrium.” 19+/20pts Matthew Jukes
“Deeper, more earthy, more savoury than the Angel Flower. Smells richer and riper. More grip, too. More muscular but still has an echo of the light, lifted floral, ethereal character of Angel Flower and opens to a floral cloud that hangs over the wine. And it has the same stony/dusty aftertaste of the finest tannin texture. Great freshness though this isn’t really what you notice because the wine is such a complete whole.” 18/20pts Jancisrobinson.com