Region: North Canterbury
Grape: Pinot Noir
First Glance: delicate and fragrant elite Pinot Noir
Pyramid Valley is a true cool-climate gem in North Canterbury, situated half way between the cold ocean on one side and snow capped mountains on the other. Originally started by Mike and Claudia Weersing in 2000, the estate has been fully biodynamic from the get go, and is operated with a great focus on biodiversity, to strengthen the natural resilience of the vines and ecosystem around them. The last vintage of the Weersings was 2016, after which the winery was bought up by the dynamic power-duo of Steve Smith MW and American billionaire investor Brian Sheth. With new investments in both cellar and vineyard, as well as the addition of plots in Central Otago, the future looks bright for this iconic address.
Angel Flower is a cooler, more exposed block than Earth Smoke. The shallow soils and north-facing aspect here result in a more floral and aromatic wine, although the weight and shape of the palate have much in common with Pyramid’s other single-site Pinot. Following Mike Weersing’s vineyard blueprints, the new team recently planted a little Chardonnay on these soils, recognising its potential also as a great white wine terroir.
Picked by hand and partially crushed by foot, the wine fermented with its vineyard yeasts and was primarily raised in old French oak (just 10% new). It was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
On release, Weersing wrote, “One could hardly ask for a more invigorating, seductive, and briskly legitimate example of this wine.” Today, the ’16 Angel Flower is in its sweet spot. The aromas are alluring and wide open, laden with spices and secondary complexity. At the same time, the texture has resolved to velvety smoothness, carried by still-vibrant acidity—you can feel the freshness of this site. We love how the developing balsamic, hoisin and Asian spice notes cascade around the wine’s savoury elements and seam of fresh red fruit. It’s poised and elegant, and it is drinking beautifully.
94 points, Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate
“The 2016 Angel Flower Pinot Noir, like its Earth Smoke stablemate, is a delicate ruby hue in the glass, showing that color (at least in Pinot Noir) often has very little to do with flavor or intensity. On the nose, delicate herbal and floral nuances dance atop a base of freshly turned earth and ripe black cherries. In the mouth, it's medium to full-bodied, rich and concentrated yet silky and fresh, with a lingering, elegant finish that ends on an uplifting herbal note. It should drink well for a decade, perhaps longer.”
96 points, jamessuckling.com
“A wine with considerable, deep-set, spicy allure that has aromas of dried roses, blueberries, purple cherries and pot-pourri. The palate delivers a beautifully plush array of fine and seamless tannins, an exceptionally smooth mouthfeel and a long, alluring and convincing finish. Drink now. Screw cap.”