Central Otago, on New Zealand's south island, is internationally renowned for its natural beauty and spectacular landscapes. The rocky, mountainous region also has gained recognition for its elegant and unique expression of pinot noir. The southernmost region in the world for growing grapes for fine wines, Central Otago's valleys and slopes reach as high as 1,500 feet. Even higher mountains surround the area and shield it from the cold. 2012 was praised as a great year in the vineyard with an early, warm summer and extended dry autumn, perfect for long ripening. The winery owners are fully committed to conservation and sustainable organic farming. Vineyards provide low yields, producing fruit that is lush, rich and of unique character. Grapes are hand picked and vinified in Mohua's state-of-the-art winery. In the glass, the wine offers intense aromas of red berries, herbal notes and some spice. The vibrant cherry bouquet is still present on the palate, and those cherry notes usher in the flavors of red currants, raspberry, thyme, some earthy nuances, chewy tannins and bright acidity on the finish. Although the wine is drinking well in its youth, this one will keep through 2016-2017. Pinot noir is perhaps the most versatile red wine with food and pairs well with pate, charcuterie, fowl, game, lamb, pork and other meats, tuna, salmon, roasted vegetables and medium-firm cheeses. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellars Uptown and in Metairie and Mandeville and at Dorignac's. Drink it at: Clancy's.