Three Flights of NZ Pinot and The End of a Semester

Pinot Noir Tasting at Lincoln 2nd June 2011
You know what they say about beauty is in the eyes of the beholder? Can’t say I love the wines but a couple of them were not bad (until they revealed the price tag). This was part of the Wine Science course at Lincoln University and the tasting was held at the Horticulture Lab next to the varsity’s winery. Wines were served blind. I actually forced myself to take down tasting notes to keep myself awake – so don’t hold me responsible for what I’ve written down below. Go try the wines. We are likely to have to agree to disagree on most points.

Three Flights of NZ Pinot Noir

First Flight – Central Otago

1. Craggy Range, Calvert Vineyard, 2009
Clear, dark ruby. Sweet candied cherry nose, strong oak/vanilla and a touch of spice. Tart cherries and sour plum fruit on the palate. Med to med+ acidity, med length. Simple. ($50)

2. Pyramid Valley, Calvert Vineyard 2009
Deep dark garnet. Strong red fruits, cranberry and hawthorn aromas. Layers of darker fruit, mocha, dark chocolate lingered. Med acidity, medium length. Tannins seemed to collapse towards the end but an interesting muruku flavour emerged? ($50)

3. Felton Road, Calvert Vineyard 2009
Dark opaque purplish red. Pronounced vanilla and oak and very ripe dark cherries on the nose, with just hints of herbaceousness. Tingling nose sensation. I thought it was very Central Otago and it appeared to be correct (and for the record, I almost always get things wrong). Plenty of tart red fruits on the palate. Slightly bitter with well constructed tannins. Med to med+ acidity,  med finish/ length. ($60)

Second  Flight – Waipara

4. Terrace Edge, Pinot Noir 2009
Bright ruby red. Ripe fresh raspberries and jasmine tea leaves on the nose. Tart cherries and a little green. Med- acid, light tannins, med- finish. Simple but pleasing. Beautiful quaffer. ($25)

5. Black Estate, Pinot Noir 2009
Deep ruby red. Again a lot of fresh red fruit profile here but with an added layer of cinnamon, spice and wood. Med acidity, med- length, med tannins. Overall ok but not inspiring. ($40)

6. Muddy Water, Hare’s Breath Pinot Noir 2009
Deep dark purplish red. Slight funk but dissipated after awhile. Muted nose of macerated red berries. Strong but smooth tannins here. Oak character seemed to dominate on the palate, nearly covering all the underlying primary fruit flavours. Spicy. Med+ acid, med length. Needs time. ($65)

Third  Flight – Nelson

7. Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2009
Deep dark ruby. Young. Funky on the nose and persistent. Lots of dark fruit aromas. Ripe and full on the palate, herbaceous aftertaste. Med+ acidy, strong tannins, med finish. Characteristically NZ. ($60)

8. Rimu Grove Pinot Noir 2009
Bright garnet. Floral notes and fresh mandarin peel on the nose. Cranberries and ripe red fruits on the palate with a bright and lively acidity, toned down by a touch of oak. Pleasing, simple but smooth. Can do this without food. ($45)

9. Greenhough Pinot Noir 2009
Light garnet. Lifted aromas of fresh red plums, spices, jasmine, and hints of wood. Tart plums, hawthorn and spices on the palate too. Med+ finish, med to med+ acidity. Good tannins here. Drinking well. ($28)