|James Estate Pinot Noir|
Bargain of sorts
13%, Screwcap, $16
Like a number of Hunter wine producers, James Estate has a block of Pinot on the Bylong property that has a bit of age on it - 1985 in this case. Those vines are cropped very low too (1.5 tonnes/acre) and the wine is made in a rather serious fashion, all of which makes the asking price ($13 a bottle through the website at the moment) really rather impressive.
Of course , like so many Hunter Pinots, this smells more of the Hunter and less of Pinot Noir, which means red dirt, highish acid and absolute savoury characters. Stir in a little tomato leaf on the nose, more earth, cedary old oak and a little fruitcake and you've got this wines measure.
That acidity and absolute savoury fruit actually makes this something of a challenging wine to drink now. There is a freshness of structure that marks it as a wine of calibre but it hardly sweet and giving. Compacted and atypical and so firm. It's almost Chianti like actually which means that it has a place in the scheme of things. Not bad really. 16.7/89+