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 the prettiest of many synonyms for yarrow, a grassland and pasture plant with delicate, fennel-like leaves and a brilliant mass of white flowers. Yarrow is the basis of the biodynamic preparation 502 and is strongly associated with mobilising natural sulphur and potassium in the soil.
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. The team have also recently planted a little Chardonnay on these soils, recognising its potential as a great white wine terroir.
The nose here is a touch more delicate and savoury, with, according to Steve Smith, “the most pristine, intoxicating Angel Flower aromas I have ever experienced.”: cherry pastries, wild forest in the summer, red clover, lavender and a lick of hoisin. It immediately feels ripe, but from a cool place with autumn raspberries, early season red cherries and hints of clove and nutmeg. Underneath, there’s a fascinating blood orange note accompanied by summer berries and a savoury twist from the forest, while svelte tannins and thirst-quenching acidity give this a proper frame for aging. It’s simply dazzling and startlingly long, too.