If you like an earthy, leaner style of Pinot Noir, then this wine is for you. Not only that, but Mud House’s 2019 Pinot Noir from Central Otago in New Zealand is also a top value. At around $20, it’s a highly competitive option when compared with similarly priced Pinot Noirs from California, Oregon, Burgundy, and elsewhere.

Before we get to the specifics, let’s talk for a moment about Central Otago. The region, located in the southern part of New Zealand’s South Island, is Pinot Noir country. The variety accounts for almost three-quarters of the region’s production, thriving in the mountainous area with its extreme shifts in day and night temperatures.

Mud House Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago, New Zealand is a good wine you can actually find.

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In contrast, the far larger and more familiar Marlborough region, at the northern end of the South Island, is the most important area for New Zealand’s trademark Sauvignon Blanc.

Mud House sources its Pinot Noir grapes from an estate vineyard in the Bendigo subregion, which is known for producing some of the most intensely flavored Pinots in Central Otago. While “intensity” isn’t the first word that came to mind as I tasted this wine, the fruit is, indeed, concentrated with red berry and black cherry notes.

That aforementioned “earthy” quality — some might call it “stony” or “minerally” — contributes to this wine’s complexity. Moderate tannins and lively acidity round out the picture for a wine that beckons you to take another sip, and then another. And as this wine was aged in a combination of French oak and stainless steel, the wood element doesn’t call attention to itself.

All in all, this is a refreshing and delicious value Pinot Noir that will complement a range of foods — from chicken, pork, and salmon, to your favorite vegetarian dishes. A slight chill will make it even more delightful.

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