I had an occasion to celebrate recently and decided now was as good a time as any to delve into the “Premium” price category and extend the coverage of this humble blog. Thankfully I had not needed to pay out of pocket for this opportunity; this wine was a gift from a friend and had been waiting for the right time to see the light.
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Medium
- Colour: Purple
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Pronounced
- Development: Developing
- Sweetness: Dry
- Acidity: High
- Tannin: Medium-
- Alcohol: Medium+
- Body: Medium+
- Flavor Intensity: Pronounced
- Finish: Medium+
- Quality: Very Good
- Readiness/Cellaring: Can drink now, potential to cellar
- Identity: New Zealand / Central Otago / Pinot Noir
- Price: Premium ($90~)
- Pronounced aromas after opening
- <300 cases made
- Long, fast tears
- Aromas of ripe berry fruits, dust, dark chocolate, spiced oak, earth, smoke
- Flavors of ripe black and red berries, spices, liquorice, bitter herbs (reminiscent of tonic water/quinine)
- Very fine, velvety tannins
- Would go well with roast meats, charcuterie and cheese
Before tasting this wine, before even pouring it into the glass, the aroma hit me once the cap came off the bottle. As I had intimated before I was not always an enthusiast of Pinot Noir, but the pronounced nose of the wine promised great depth that must be explored.
In the glass the wine was quite an intense purple relative to most Pinot Noirs, and is only marked as “Medium” in deference to other varietals – we must be rational and impartial with these matters. Considering it has had 3-4 years in the bottle I was mildly surprised it was not more Ruby in colour. This could be due to the use of screwcap instead of cork, lessening the effects of oxidation.
The nose and palate had similar profiles, and you will note that most of the criteria evaluated tend towards the High/Pronounced end of the spectrum. The notable exception was the tannin, which was pleasantly fine and smooth, balancing the experience and giving the impression of delicacy despite it’s overall pronounced status.
I want to get into this tannin component a little more – compared to its bolder international cousins of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah/Shiraz, Pinot Noir can be too easily dismissed as a pale shadow. In fact some Pinot Noir can have surprisingly high levels of tannin that cannot be forseen through visual observation alone. This can be achieve by carefully observing the ripeness of the grapes and controlling how much time the wine spends on the skins, and is probably the factor behind the “big, bold Pinot Noir” that one may read about elsewhere, which is also a source of its cellaring potential.
This was a very good wine for a celebration, and I am glad to have overcome my prejudices against Pinot Noir when I did, otherwise I would have missed out on something wonderful. The fact that there were less than 300 cases of this wine produced is an interesting note, and makes me feel vaguely haughty to think of being part of less than 1% of the world to have tasted this wine. Maybe it’s the alcohol getting to me (14.5% AbV). I quietly dismiss the thought as irrational, as the world of wine is huge and I am just one man seeking to understand it.
Further technical notes from the winery HERE
Another brief perspective of this wine (August 22, 2012) – Raymond Chan Wine Reviews Rockburn ‘The Art’ Pinot Noir 2010