|Pyramid Valley Earth Smoke Pinot Noir
Just an amazing wine experience
Pyramid Valley Earth Smoke Pinot Noir 2009 (North Canterbury, NZ)
13.8%, Screwcap, circa $140 retail
Source: Wine list
I have to thank fellow blogger and good friend Patrick ‘The Wining Pom‘ Haddock for this stunning Pinot, as I think he purchased this last night (I just drank it). It was, as all of us agreed at the time, an absolutely shit-hot wine. The sort of shit-hot wine that sticks in your memory, a benchmark that reminds you just how fine the finest of fine wine can be (very fine). It’s a wine to get emotional about, plain and simple, and I’m happy that it lived up to expectations.
Now before talking about the wine itself, I’m going to quote a whole block of text from Pyramid Valley describing exactly how this wine was made. Whilst I don’t think it’s a recipe for success, the fact they put so much detail on the website is just a reflection of the passion of the Pyramid Valley operation. Have a read:
’32 hl/ha from our east-facing home block; nine year old vines. Deep, well structured, clay-limestone soils: 30% clay, 12-15% active lime. Also biodynamic from inception.
Late April pick, hand destemmed, 10% whole cluster. Ambient soak of 5-7 days, warm vineyard yeast fermentation (33C), 27-28 day cuvaison. Natural, spring malolactic. Ten months on original lees, in French barriques, 25% new, then held a further 6 months in tank. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, in September 2010. Alcohol 13.8%. Production: 330 cases.
A bit cloudier still, and a shade more towards brick (the wine refused to settle naturally, and we in turn refused to fine or filter).’
The only thing they omitted from this detail is pH – a wild 4.2 (thanks to Dave ‘Vinofreakism‘ Brookes for that interesting tidbit) which just shows how much of a knife edge (natural) wine this is.
I do like knife edge vino though, and this wine certainly look the goods. Actually, it looks cloudy and murky, a hazy, deep red and almost tawny coloured wine that looks as wacky and natural winey as they come. Yet on the nose the story is one of brightness, of lovely strawberry fruit and just a hint of that natural wine acetic acid volatility. The palate is where the excitement steps in, with a melange of quite creamy rich fruit, edged with a hint of vanilla oak. It’s just the most life affirming, astoundingly soft and vibrant redcurrant/red fruit laden palate, edged out with orange juice acidity and a final fanning finish.
The story here is the texture, which is so unusually juicy (I think that’s a low pH thing too) with such big redcurrant flavours and fine chalky tannins that it just makes you go ‘wow’. So round, yet also so powerful and acidic. A wine of contradictions for sure.
Ultimately the joy here is just how winey it is. It’s a wild Pinot, no doubt about it, but it also has so much ‘fruit’ that you well know it comes from grape juice. Perhaps the only question really is what will happen as it ages, particularly given that pH. For mine though I’d be drinking every bottle of this I could find within the next 12 months, such is the enjoyment factor.
Bloody brilliant cloudy Pinot and the sort of wine that I want to drink more of. More! 18.8/95