Last week I mentioned that I hoped to be tasting some PNs from further afield and this happened yesterday. Though this importer’s portfolio embraces many PN producing countries, only those from Germany, Australia and New Zealand were on show with only one example from each of the first two. By contrast six from New Zealand were shown.
I couldn’t help feeling that there was a certain sameness in the style of the NZ offerings, even though the standard was overall high and I would have been happy to have most of these at my table. There was nice fruit with a lot of Pinot cherry type touches, good acidity and freshness of flavours. On the other hand I was troubled to a greater or lesser extent by confected scents of English boiled sweets (bonbon anglais
) and the impression that “improvement” had been sought by adding a few drops from the perfume pot; in no case, however, was this “improvement” so great as to incite me to reject a wine. I often have the same feeling with NZ Sauvignon blanc and wonder whether alchemy with commercial yeasts is not being encouraged in their wine schools. Prices between €17 and €32 put the wines here in competition with Burgundies from the Côte Chalonnaise (1er crus from best growers c.€25), generic Bourgogne and lesser Côte d’Or villages. Greater approachability when young gives them a selling argument even in Europe but it would be interesting to see how they would match up at greater maturity. Other NZ estates like Felton Road (not on show though on the importer’s list) are much more pricey and throw down the gauntlet to Côte d’Or 1ers crus.Spätburgunder 2011 – Oliver Zeter, Pfalz, Germany
– (€13 discounted from €16) was a very charming wine with fragrant bitter cherry aromas on the nose and a medium/light palate with some pretty fruit, continuation of the fragrance from the nose, gentle mouth-watering acidity and nice grip on the finish. I wouldn’t expect this to go a long way but very good now; 16/20 QPR
(Oliver Zeter has an interesting winery. I’m not sure whether he is négociant or grower but his range is unusual for Germany in being mostly varietal and he even offers a CabSauv/CabFranc/Syrah cuvée. This is a link to his website http://www.oliver-zeter.de/start.php
in German in which I am not proficient; it’s odd that there is no English because I know from his presence at these tastings in previous years that his English is very fluent.) PN 2010 – Trentham Estate, Victoria, Australia
– (€9 discounted from €11) was slightly fuller and sweeter fruited (cherry and strawberry) than the previous with a sweaty touch which appeals to me. Oak is mentioned on the website but did not stand out in the glass, thankfully. Good 15.5/20 QPR
.New ZealandPN 2010 – Momo, Marlborough
– (€17) showed marked boiled sweet aromas and not disagreeable hints that reminded me of botrytis !? A bit too scented for me; fairly good 14.5/20.PN 2010 – Main Divide, Canterbury
– (€19) was more subdued in aroma, though the boiled sweet lurked, and darker in fruit with attractive sweet cherry touches; good 15/20.“Crimson” PN 2010 – Ati Rangi, Martinborough
– (€22) was fuller (medium + bodied), more complex and fragrant; good 15.5/20+.“Tom’s Block” PN 2008 – Neudorf, Nelson
– (€25) was the least scented of the series and the nose was still subdued. The palate was medium bodied and mouth-filling with soft texture and sweet Pinot fruit with nice structure. The most serious in profile so far; good 15.5/20++.“The Donaldson Family” PN 2006 – Pegasus Bay, Waipara
– (€27). This cuvée, made for an anniversary of the importer, was the most mature PN on display with fragrant aromas (slightly redolent of the perfume pot) and an expressive medium/full palate and rich complex fruit. But was I imagining a slight cabbage touch at the finish suggestive of imminent decline? Very good right now with ? future 16/20+.Pinot Noir 2008 – Pegasus Bay, Waipara
– (€32) showed rich aromas and fruit coupled with lively acidity with hints of toffee on the finish, which I could have done without and will hopefully integrate with a bit more time. Right now good 15/20 with ?++ potential.
With only one full day to go before the end of this WF, I read from a popular Belgian wine critic that PNs from Trivento, Mendoza, Argentina
, and from Pays d’Oc, France
, are on offer for less than €7 each at our nearest supermarket. I somehow don’t think that I will get round to trying them as his TN’s, e.g. "exhalations of candied cherries" on the latter, are not especially encouraging.