Ara Composite Pinot Noir 2008 (Marlborough, NZ)
$25, Screwcap, 13.5%
The packaging on this is stunning: The embossed, Chateauneuf style bottle; The raised lettering on the label, the modern art/magic eye label; Right down to the sleeve of the screwcap. Obviously some clever designers have been let loose on this bottle, and I can’t help but approve. The concept behind the label is interesting too, revolving around a single ‘appellation’ called Ara that is intended to serve as its own mini subregion. It’s very ambitious, however I can’t help but worry about what will happen to this huge project (its a 1600 hectare vineyard) in the face of the current financial climate. If this wine is a typical example, then the quality at least is assured, but 1600 hectares is still, high quality or not, a shedload of grapes.
Raspberry cordial in colour, the nose is bright, open and red fruited. It smells invitingly fresh and quite pretty, with a sappy, peppered edge to the red fruit that is straight out of the annals of Marlborough Pinot Noir. The palate is similarly crowd pleasing, with just a touch of the fruit slut about it, the only interruption being some rather raspy, drying acidity that pokes out just a tad, though that should integrate back in with futher bottle time.
The slight quirks aside, its a very easy Pinot to like, with lots of pretty sweet red fruit and just enough pinosity to make for a good drop. Its the sort of wine to give to first time Pinot drinkers, with nary a smelly forest floor or waft of bacon fat to discourage the Pinot Virgin. If this was available at $20 a bottle, I’d say it was a good value drop too.
Good start for the label, this is a simple and pleasurable wine. Personally I think it ticks alot of boxes, even if I find it a tad too mono dimensioal for excitement. 16.5