Thank heavens for the dinosaurs if the latest wine news is to be believed. Apparently their extinction allowed woodlands and various plants, including vines, to thrive although it took mankind over 100,000 years to discover the beauty of vinification.

Anyway, I enjoyed a splendid array of New Zealand Pinot Noirs last week that would surely prove that the wait was worth it.

Truth be told, there were no badgers' derrières in the line up which says something about both the quality and consistency of the style.

The standout wine was still the one from Cloudy Bay, but the rest of the pack are so close these days that there's barely a wafer-thin mint between them.

New Zealand Pinot Noir has all the familiar traits of the great wines of Burgundy but the fruit is just that bit richer and the earthy characteristics so beloved of the French wines are more nuanced and overall, the wines offer far more bang for your buck.

Akitu A2 

Slightly unusual for a Pinot with its hint of liquorice on the nose but I loved it. Plenty of gamey fruit and silky tannins. It pairs well with rich dishes and soft cheese. £36.00

Mt Difficulty ‘Roaring Meg’ 

Very lively on the nose with crunchy raspberry fruits, soft tannins and a gentle hint of spice on the finish. A wonderful wine for the price

Majestic £22.99 per bottle or £16.99 mixed six