Matua 2012 Pinot Noir



I have been lurking around the lower end of the Pinor noir market, due to a chaotic year of employment, money has been scarce and unfortunately fine wine is something of a dream at the moment.

I saw a man while searching for a reasonably priced wine, frantically packing Matua Pinot Noir’s into his trolley without checking the vintage.

“They any good mate” I asked and he looked up and smiled.

“They love them at the restaurant, very popular, good colour” He said this smiling and confident.

This seemed like an unusually strong endorsement for a $13 bottle of wine, it sparked my curiosity not only about how he purchased his wine for his restaurant but what sort of customers he had and what they expected.

He took off and I stood staring at the bottle’s price for a long time, finally I just got it- how bad could it be?

Well the wine is interesting it’s aroma has very little to offer except a slight hint of oak and tiny hint of cherry.

My friend was correct about the colour, it has the beautiful deep glimmering Burgundy shade giving it true body. The flavour is saturated in an oakish tones, which conceals the intricate flavours of the Pinot, giving it maybe only three or four strong flavours.

It isn’t smooth, a little hard on the palette, it knocks your tongue around in a greenish overbearing way. This is undoubtedly the reason why it is so low in price, it is a hard working lower class New Zealander, lacking the delicate subtle charms of a wine from a higher strata.

Still, sometimes these wines are really the easiest to be around, they don’t drain your wallet are down to earth and have that cheeky New Zealand relaxed attitude.

The wines strength comes from its region, the fruit is grown in Marlborough and while their are plenty of New Zealand Marlborough wines on the cheaper end of the market that are really very bad,  I would not class this wine as one of them.

It does maybe lean on the mediocre side, but it shows that even the lower end of this market from New Zealand could easily outclass many higher priced Australian Pinot’s


Nanny Goat Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir


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.

Mount Macleod 2010 Pinot Noir

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This Pinot Noir is from Gippsland Victoria, not the usual place in Australia for Pinot Noir but still cold enough to create a good enough environment for the tricky Pine black grape.

When I think of Gippsland I envisage tall gums and dense forest, ten canoes kind of atmosphere the kind of place to truly make you zone out with ambient music and imagine pre-colonial Australia.  (all while in a warm bath of course).

I have tried this Pinot Noir the 2009 incarnation and for $17.60 and I was pleasantly surprised the cinnamon and sweet cherry flavors are something I always look for in a Pinot  so I had an open mind for Mount Macleod Pinot Noir 2010.

The 2010 incarnation is interesting,  It never ceases to amaze me the subtle changes in Pinot noir from year to year the complex matrix of events that can make or break a good wine are truly staggering.

This particular wine is a good example of this, it has similar flavors but the cinnamon is more relaxed and the tomato is more forward there is a lack of sharp whippy like flavors that snap into your palate like a springbox thumping and jumping exciting the senses.  It has a new feel a bubbly fresh fruity feel. It’s youth  makes it flirtatious  in a way that is peppery and spicy.

This lacks the complex variety of flavors that winemakers love and probably why it has its low price tag.

However this is a great wine to just have on a Friday after a long and difficult week or one just to drink while you cook tea.