Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pinot Noir

Australian winemakers, without doubt, have made more progress with Pinot Noir in the last couple of years than with any other variety. So I went to the Ultimo Wine Centre yesterday, which had an interesting line-up of those Pinots which would be closest to the French model (my interpretation). My problem with this direction is that it ignores the unique contribution Australia can make and instead is aiming for a weak copy.

The 2004 The Gate Pinot Noir from Stefani (89 points) is already showing a lot of age and finishes a little harsh. The 2006 Bellvale Gippsland Pinot Noir (88 points) is very dry and savoury and does not show much fruit. Hatherley (88), from southern NSW I believe, was similar with an earthy aftertaste. The much acclaimed 2007 Marchard & Burch (92) was a much more complete wine, with cherry, forest floor and truffle flavours and fine tannins. However, the wine is a little lean and went into its close down period. The 2007 Paringa Estate (93) was quite a contrast, with much brighter fruit, red cherry flavours, backed by savoury characteristics and integrated tannins. This is much more what we can do well in Australia. The 2005 Domaine A Pinot Noir (91/---) was much darker and brooding, very earthy and french. The turn-off for me was this cat piss finish I have tasted in this wine before. Finally, the 2006 Mount Mary (94 points) was the highlight, as it should be given its price ($160/bottle). It showed ripe strawberry and was very rounded and elegant, with very soft tannins and a smooth finish.

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