Ahh, Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir can be an addiction. Every now and again you taste one that fulfils all the promise that this fickle grape offers but seldom delivers on. And then you taste half a dozen that are, at best, simple and fruity, but which probably cost you a lot of money. It's a bit like watching English sports teams: one great performance followed by six wretched ones.
Pinot Noir has the potential to make the most sublime, elegant red wines. We all enjoy gutsy power from time to time, and concentration and richness have their place, but surely the holy grail of red wine making [am I mixing my metaphors here? Shouldn't the wine be in the grail?] has to be elegance and understated complexity.
Tonight's tipple is from New Zealand's Central Otago, which has fairly recently emerged as one of the top three destinations for Pinot Noir outside Burgundy. Don't ask me what the other two are, though - I just thought this sounded less hypey than saying 'the best'.
Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2005 Central Otago, New Zealand
Lovely dark cherry, spice and herb nose with a bit of chocolatey richness. Deliciously pure fruit. The plate shows red berry and cherry fruit with warm spicy richness and a light texture, despite the fact that it is full flavoured. Supple, balanced and quite textured, with some grippy tannin on the finish suggesting that this has further to go in terms of its evolution. Very good/excellent 91/100 (available from Hellion Wines in the UK at £16.95)