10 top Kiwi Pinots with Fromm’s Adam Balasoglou
This is the sort of tasting to remind you just how much better value Kiwi Pinot is compared to Burgundy. Or anything is compared to Burgundy. I followed this lineup with a few equivalent priced Burgundy and why would you bother with ornery 2013 village wines when you can get the Valli Gibbston for $60?
My only gripe was that Adam Balasoglou from Fromm only included one of the new 2013 Fromm Pinots in the lineup. More please.
Given that this event was put on by Negociants Australia (wine distributors) the range was limited to their imports, though still a healthy lineup methinks. Notes are as written on the day. I’ve included Adam’s thoughts and some background info in italics…
Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2013
‘One of the godfathers of Martinborough Pinot’ according to Adam. A blend of five vineyards. Mainly wild yeast ferment, 2-2.5 weeks on skins. 11 months in 2/3 new oak.
Dark ruby with a purple tinge. Sappy cherry fruit and fresh red currant. Open and lovely. Light tannins, it’s all about fruit, though with stems to fill out the tannin finish. For what is an entry level wine this is genuinely substantial. A little simple but lovely plush fruit and not excessive. 17.5/20, 91/100+
Fromm La Strada Pinot Noir 2011
Blend of 4 vineyards. Fromm has been certified organic since 08 though they don’t mention it on the label. ‘We believe that organics gives us healthy vines’ says Adam. This comes off 2/3 Southern Clays ‘which gives us blue fruits’
Ruby with some bricking. Settled. Aromatically just a little shy, all cherry fruit and lightness. Simple flavours. I thought this looked just a little oxidative today, even just a little forward. Some lovely Pinosity though. 17/20, 90/100
Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir 2012
9 months in barriques.
Red ruby with just a little hint of brick at the rim. Some of the autumnal notes of ’12. Slightly soapy palate but has lovely tannins and structure. Drying tannins aplenty. This is the most substantial wine in the first flight. Like the finish and extract here. Nice concentration. Serious stuff. 18/20, 93/100
Palliser Estate Pinot Noir 2013
Lovely open red fruit. Plush! Some chocolate oak that tames the prettiness, though it’s still very much a wine of red fruit and softish, truffled flavours. Fine but ripe. Nice, gentle but long. Slightly warm alcohol. Easy to like this. Highly recommended 18/20, 93/100
Nautilus Estate Pinot Noir 2012
Dark Ruby. Lots of open red fruit too, but just a little prettier than the Palliser and with a little mulch. I think the meatier, mulchy dry edge and whole bunch gives this even more of an interesting edge. I really like this, the tannins really quite substantial. ’12 was tricky but this looks the goods 18.1/20, 93/100
Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2013
This is more Alexandra fruit than normal.
Dark Ruby, though just a little more brick than the Nautilus. A slightly warm, cherry fruited wine that looks a bit caramelised in this context. Nice but perhaps a little more cherry lolly and less savoury drive would make it even better. 17.7/20, 92/100
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2013
Ruby red purple. A little potpourri fragrance here. Very closed otherwise. Red cherry fruit. This is the best Ata Rangi wine in years. There’s a classic mushroom Pinosity to this wine, the mouth coating tannins building and building, before a refreshing finish. Absolute top tier in acid/fruit ripeness balance. High high quality wine. 18.7/20, 95/100
Fromm Clayvin Pinot Noir 2013
First hillside vineyard planted in Marlborough. Heavy clay soils. ‘Gives a mocha character to the nose’. Harvested in antique baby prams and pickers paid by the hour. Some slight maceration involved, post and pre ferment. 18 months in wood. 3 barrels made. Sold out in NZ in just a week.
Dark ruby and quite purple. Maceration gives this a cut cherry fruit. It’s a particularly closed and backward wines, the oak closing things down, drying tannins. Gee this is a beast of a wine. Bloody backward, with just the barest hint of cranberry. Needs years. Such high quality, structured Pinot! 18.5/20, 94/100
Valli Gibbston Pinot Noir 2013
Soapy and lovely – a huge mouthful of schisty fruit. So generous and loving. Maybe a little candied? But seductive and generous cherry and mushrooms. Fine tannins and a huge mouthful of wine. A resounding celebration of Otago Pinot if unsubtle. Yes 18.6/20, 95/100
Dry River Pinot Noir 2012
Mulchy and utterly autumnal, the meaty herb and spice here is an absolute polariser. I find it just too secondary and hard to be great, though there is much to be said of the structure. Didn’t love this, though clearly classy and long. 17/20, 90/100+