Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pinot Noir NZ 2013 (part 1)

I have been quiet over the last little while, as I attended the big NZ Pinot Noir show in Wellington. This event is held every three years, attracts 500+ participants from New Zealand and around the world, and lasts for four days. I thought the event was very well organised and overall very interesting and informative. Literally all significant Pinot Noir producers are present, and I got a very good idea of where the industry is at. I thought it was worth while going, because New Zealand Pinot Noir is an exciting part of the global wine world, and developing fast.

This year's theme was regionality. The first three days was spent exploring one region each day. For me, this meant:
 - day 1: Central Otago
 - day 2: Martinborough, Nelson, Waipara/ North Canterbury
 - day 3: Marlborough

In a nutshell, there are significant differences between these regions. Firstly, acid levels. These are highest in Marlborough and Nelson, followed by Martinborough. They are quite low in Central Otago. The fruit in the higher acid regions is fresh and vibrant, tasting of red cherries usually, but can be a bit thin. Central Otago Pinot Noir tastes of black cherries and can be quite big and ripe - a Shiraz drinker's Pinot.

All wineries showed the 2010 vintage and then some older vintages. The wines from 2010 were across the board of a very high standard. Surprisingly (to me), the older vintages showed very well, too. Many were from around 2006/07, where this could be expected. But I also tasted a number of wines from 2001 and 2002 which were also still going strong.

I will report on the different regions and its individual wines in subsequent posts. Many favorites showed strongly, but there are also new stars on the horizon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Henschke Croft Chardonnay

The Henschkes have expanded their range dramatically over the last few years. Most of it is coming from their new plantings in the Adelaide Hills. They are very environmentally aware, and this has probably to do with moving to cooler climates, as their iconic vineyards are located in the warmer parts of the Eden Valley.

This 2012 Henschke Croft Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills (Lenswood) is a disappointment. The wine tastes of apple, but is not very distinctive. I tasted this wine a bit warmer initially, and the texture is quite broad then. At fridge temperature, the wine is better, but flavours cannot unfold very well then. One way or the other, this wine does not deliver a satisfactory Chardonnay experience.

Score: 86/--

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pizzini Pinot Grigio

The brand gives the style of this Pinot Gris away: it is in Italian style, light and fresh .I quite enjoy this 2012 Pizzini Pinot Grigio. The wine tastes of fresh pear. It tastes quite pure and linear. Nothing complex here, but satisfying summer drinking.

Score: 88/++

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ocean Eight Aylward Pinot Noir

Many people drink Sparkling or Champagne during summer, I prefer a good Pinot Noir. The 2007 Ocean Eight Aylward Pinot Noir is a more concentrated wine than the standard Pinot Noir. It is still quite fresh, in the cherry spectrum, typical for Mornington. This is a savoury wine, though, ideally complimenting salads, firm fish or chicken. However, while its palate is attractive, it is not very long - a good wine, but not a standout.

Score: 92/+

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bass Phillip Chardonnay

Bass Phillip is known as a leading Australian Pinot Noir producer. For years, it has also made serious Chardonnay. The 2009 Bass Phillip Estate Chardonnay is a very Burgundy tasting wine. The wine has quite a big mouthfeel with stone fruit and guava flavours. The oak is noticeable. The wine is quite big, but very clean and polished. It is different from the increasing norm in Australia where citrus and acidity are dominating. (And it costs less than the equivalent Phillip Bass Pinot Noir.

Score: 92/+

Poll Closed

My latest poll had a poor response. Maybe as I have not done many in the last year, you simply overlooked it.

My Christmas wine drinks were probably not as extravagant as the year before, but I had some nice drinks: The 2004 Schubert Goose-yard Shiraz was beautifully full bodied, but balanced. The 2007 Felton Road Pinot Noir is stunning and has many years ahead of it. KT Riesling is fruity, yet dry, but the absolute highlight was the 2001 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon which I have reviewed on this blog before.

Let's hope we can all share in the enjoyment of drinking fine wine in 2013!