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New Zealand’s finest “white” pinot noir

2021 Akitu, Pinot Noir Blanc, Lake Wanaka, Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand 

£28.12, thedrinkshop.com; coming soon to nzhouseofwine.co.uk, harveynichols.com, harrogatefinewinecompany.com

Akitu was established in Lake Wanaka two decades ago by Andrew Donaldson. Andrew planted 12 hectares of pinot noir, and his two red wines, A1 and A2, have climbed swiftly to the higher echelons of the New Zealand pinot ladder.

The latest red wine releases, 2019 Akitu A2 Pinot Noir (about £33, from the four stockists listed) and 2019 Akitu A1 Pinot Noir (about £43, ditto) are the finest yet from this elite estate. Showing refinement and unshakable integrity, while A2 is designed for relatively early drinking, I feel that 2019 A1 is set to be a superstar given five more years in the cellar. 

But, this week, I have a less predictable treat for you – New Zealand’s finest “white” pinot noir, and only 270 cases were made, so you must act without delay to secure stock. With the faintest of pink hues, this will be labelled a rosé by many, and it certainly possesses the most enchanting cherry-skin perfume, but Andrew is insistent it is a white wine made from swiftly crushed pinot noir grapes.

There is an inevitable, albeit very faint skin influence, and this slight colouration baffles the senses, but it is genuinely white-shaped on the palate. Keen-edged with acidity underpinning the beguiling fruit and oak and lees both playing subtle supporting work, the dramatic terroir shines through with laser accuracy, and it is this setting that you are drinking. I urge you to taste this wine – there is nothing like it on earth.

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