Pinot Noir is a notoriously tricky grape. It's a bit like an unreliable friend. He or she will always be late, may not even turn up when they say they will, and if they do come there's a chance they'll be in a bad mood or will upset someone. But when they're on form, it's worth the risk and hassle. The good times seriously outweight the bad ones, even though there may be more of the latter.
I'm drinking another good one tonight. Two good Pinots in a row. You ought to let me pick your lottery numbers. It's the Cable Bay Pinot Noir 2004 Martinborough, New Zealand. Beautiful perfume of cherry and red fruits with a seamless savoury, spicy seriousness. The palate is well balanced and quite elegant with the tannin fitting in perfectly with the well balanced red fruits. Self assured and nicely judged, this Pinot doesn't have to come over all showy to make an impression.
Pinot Noir is a funny beast. Winemakers can focus lots of love and attention on it, both in the vineyard and the winery, and still end up with no more than a light, simple, fruity red wine. I spoke recently with a winemaker who took the bottom off grape bunches as they were ripening (so that the rest of the bunch would ripen more evenly) and then once picked he removed the central part of the bunch (the stem and the grapes nearest to it) - an unbelievably time-consuming effort. He took extra care in the winery with gentle extraction and hand plunging in open fermenters. The result? A simple fruity red. Nothing more.