Rippon Emma’s Block Mature Vine Pinot Noir

New Zealand’s first grand cru, 2011 Emma’s ranks among the most profound pinots I’ve tasted outside the hallowed halls of Burgundy itself. Such is its impeccable craftsmanship that no detail is lost in capturing the spirit of this remarkable single block on the lakefront within the Rippon vineyard. The bouquet is ethereal, wafting with violet fragrance, pipesmoke, black pepper, layers of exotic spice, blackberries, even hints of game. The palate is a revelation of pepper, exotic spice and black plum fruit, intricately laced together with very finely structured, enticingly textural tannins of mineral finesse and grand endurance. Epic. DIAM seal. $106 at United Cellars (2010).