It was a Friday afternoon and I was aching for a wine, the first few sips slipped around my tongue and I felt a smooth velvet shot of pure pleasure.
After a long week drinking horrible freeze dried coffee, a glass of pinot noir from Otago New Zealand was a pure unadulterated luxury.
I had and have mixed feelings about ‘Central Otago’ region. When I worked in the wine industry people who talked about pinot noir always mentioned Central Otago.
I knew one cellar door worker and wine lover who refused to buy pinot noir from anywhere else. ‘Not even Burgundy?’ I asked once. ‘Oh yes of course Burgundy first’ he said with a laugh.
When I finally got to visit the Burgundy region on a winery tour I asked our wine tour guide what he thought of New Zealand pinot noir, he made unusual gestures with a grimace, mumbled something about French Burgundy he gave a very French kind of grumble, which I took as a satisfying nod that they where worried.
‘Mirrored nanny goats stand firm, head to head, the slope steep, rugged country all around’
This is written on the label and it certainly furnishes the imagination about where this pinot is actually growing, a place where only the nanny goat can reach and which people are fighting over to put their plots in.
The wine has a beautiful royal purple colour, the aroma was very light and casual slight scents of oak and pepper with raspberry.
The wine itself seemed to have a strong structure that firmly says ‘I am a pinot to contend with’ however after a few glasses I started to doubt my first assumptions.
It has a very slight tomato like flavour, it tends more towards the raspberry and pepper flavours, the label mentions ‘violet’ but I have never eaten a violet and I find it unusual to mention a flavour of something you can’t really eat.
(If you really ate a violet flower I would wager the flavour would be nothing like what we think of violets)
The wine was lacking in the front part of the palette, it lacked those sharp zippy flavors of a fresh wine which leads me to feel that maybe this would not be a great wine for the cellar.
I had the impression that this is usually a pinot that does produce very complex flavors however I had lucked out and purchased a vintage that wasn’t the best.
Overall however the New Zealand pinot noir has something altogether different to offer. There is something in the flavour in this wine that Australian pinot cannot replicate and I am guessing it is all to do with climate.
It is so nice to sit and have a conversation with a wine like this and even though this isn’t a premier wine, it still is a great one and of very fine quality which is totally worth a try.
This is certainly one for flashy occasions and you would take this to a dinner party or on a date, or for something special.