Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 (Central Otago, NZ)
$36, Screwcap, 14%
I love the smell of Central Otago Pinot. In the right vintage, from the right producer, it smells like bottled Pinot essence, with all the beautiful, slightly feral, lilting fragrances that this variety is renowned for. It's the sort of smell that it is so distinctive &, well, beautiful, that it almost qualifies as the very pinnacle of vinosity.
But, to step back for a second, Pinot Noir also smells weird. Compared to a stereotypical sweet & modern Aussie Shiraz, cool climate Pinot is from another planet - Musk, stems, skins, a hint of the farmyard & nary a familar embrace of sweet vanilla oak or plummy fruit in sight.
I can't help but think that, as a result of this inherent distinctiveness, & when coupled with its tempestous variability, Pinot Noir will never truly make the leap into major mainstream drinking. It's almost like Pinot Noir is simply too 'vinous' too 'winey' and not enough 'grape juice like' to gain absolute popularity. It will always be the sullen arty type and never the mainstream Neighbours cast member.
And its wines like this that serve as the perfect reminder.
The nose has a truckload of musky, ripe, floral redcurrant & plum sauce fruit with a meaty edge. Its the aforementioned Pinot essence, if cast in a quite light and open frameset, with all the faint animale undertones that the variety carries with it. The palate is very ripe, probably a little too ripe, but with still distinctive and delicious Pinosity to it. Its quite high in acidity, with the alcohol distracting the focus of the back end, but its still a delicious mouthful of clear Pinot fruit that shows the excellence of this vintage.
After a glass of this, all I wanted was cheese. Good aged Cheddar would go perfectly with this, again reminding of that other glorious attribute of Pinot Noir - its all round food friendliness.
Very Good. 17.7