Some recent Pinot Noir vibes
I generally manage to taste at last one pinot noir a week, often more and not surprisingly, given where I live, 99% of them are from New Zealand. I've not had any 2010 vintage PNs pass my lips, yet - but from the previous three years: 2007 was a hot ripe year, 2008 cooler and 2009 a hotter year again. Here are a few I've recently tried that I like: mostly from 2009, but one from 2008. All have screwcap closures.
Wooing Tree Beetlejuice Pinot Noir 2009 – Central Otago
This producer specialises in Pinot Noir and this is the cheapest of the Wooing Tree reds making it one of the best value Central Otago pinot noirs around. A ripe, juicy pinot with a saturated deep ruby colour, succulent cherry and plum fruit, plush velvety tannins, oak spice and well-balanced smoky savouriness. I think it's the best they've made under the Beetlejuice label so far – previous vintages perhaps erring a little on the jammy / confetionary side. 14/5% alc. NZ$25.
Akarua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009
This was awarded Champion Pinot Noir at the (NZ) Royal Easter Show Wine Awards in February. It's a deep ruby colour with inviting aromas of plum, earth and savoury oak and generous flavours of bright red fruits with anise-like spices, smoky oak, a touch of chocolate and acidity adding brightness. It's succulent and approachable yet has a firmness to the structure that demands respect. 14% alc. $32.
They also make a 'Reserve' which I prefer to this wine, not to say this is not good, because it is – it's just that the 'Reserve' has more. The 'Reserve' was not entered in the Easter awards.
Akarua Central Otago Bannockburn Reserve Pinot Noir 2009
A brilliant ruby red, showing a little more depth than its sibling, this has an inviting aroma of smoky savoury oak with a hint of game and bittersweet red fruits. Spicy and savoury to the taste with silk-edged velvety tannins, juicy red and black fruits and a succulent and savoury finish that leaves a powerful impression, the textural complexity gives it the upper hand and there's a lovely vibrancy as the spice-infused flavours linger. 14.7% alc. $57.
Valli Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2008 – Central Otago
Valli is the personal label of long-time CO winemaker, Grant Taylor (previously with Gibbston Valley Wines). This is the best of his Valli trio from 2008. The perfumed, sweet-fruited aroma infused with subtle florals and musk is beguiling and the wine is juicy with a silky tannin structure, spicy oak, nuances of forest floor, mushrooms and black cherries with a chocolatey richness welling up from within to balance the underlying acidity. 14% alc. NZ$57.
Waipara Hills Equinox Waipara Pinot Noir 2009
This producer is really makin an imperssion on the wine scene and wines like this make you take notice. It has an expressive powerful aroma of spice, savoury oak and macerated mulled-wine fruit that carries through to the palate where a fruit driven sweetness balances the deep, gamey, earthy savouriness. With its silk-edged velvety tannins and succulent richness, it has a funky sexy allure. 14% alc. NZ$30.
Martinborough Vineyards 'Te Tera' Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009
Te Tera is a lower tier label than the 'Martinborough Terraces' wine, and thankfully, cheaper, because the quality expected from this producer is definitely here. It is smoky and savoury with a finely structured silky texture and black cherry flavours enhanced by integrated spicy oak with a meaty depth and a forest floor complexity with an earthy richness to the lingering finish. 14% alc. NZ$27.
Julicher 99 Rows Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009 – Martinborough
Reasonably new to the Martinborough wine scene, but making an impact right from the start, this 2009 vintage follows on from the stellar wines that Juilicher produced in 2006 and 2007. While lighter in colour, what I like about this is its immense juiciness and generosity while maintaining the smoky, savoury characters and firm tannins I associate with the region. Fruit is in the cherry / red guava spectrum – it has that lovely bittersweet mystique - and anise-like herbs and spice infiltrate the finish. 14% alc. $NZ26.