It’s not been a great few months.
What I thought was a routine running overuse injury has turned out to be an arthritis flare up – my first in 15 years. By itself, that’s been dragging me down, with creeping fatigue and hands that are stiff to type (don’t remind me about how much it hurts to run). Then, last week, I had a bad drug reaction and the world began to taste like metal. It’s not been my week, my month (but otherwise a good year).
That, of course, has nothing to do with the Ashton Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2015, but simply an explanation about why the flow of posts has slowed down to a trickle. Hopefully, in a few months time, I’ll look back at this post wistfully and be happy to be out the other side.
Meanwhile, there’s a certain satisfaction in opening a wine that you’ve always liked. It’s an affirmation that a great site and sensitive hands matter. At Ashton Hills, the ownership has passed from Stephen George to Wirra Wirra, but with George hanging around and Paul Smith at Wirra more than capable, the glory has continued.
This 2015 wine is a beauty too. There’s the latent power of a warm vintage in the hint of warmth to the edges, that hint of bacon fat to remind of a hot South Australian sun. But otherwise, this is pure Pinot, the wafts of whole bunch tomato leaf a counterpoint to the plump raspberry richness, the finish savoury, a little burly, but not ungraceful. Sometimes Adelaide Hills Pinot feels like it is trying to be Shiraz (and the Shiraz tries to be Pinot). But this is Pinot, just cast in a powerful mode, even if the alcohol does assert itself a little on the finish.
Ultimately, this is what you’d always want from Pinot in the Hills – and the perfect wine to try and lift me out of a health induced funk. Best drinking: 2017-2023. 18.7/20, 95/100. 14.5%, $70. Would I buy it? Yes I would.