Thursday, January 21, 2010

Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2006

Note: Apologies - Red to Brown has accidently bumped this post to the top of the pile. Now that it is here, I will note that you can find this wine at some of the bigger shops for closer to $30 than $50. Ready to drink right now and a step up on some of the $25-$35 New Zealand Pinots in the lower price point. Brown.

I could get used to this wine. Pinot Noir is ascendant in Sydney, and Australia generally. The differences in demographics of the people attending (particularly average age) at Pinot-only tastings when compared to general or Shiraz/Cabernet tastings are stark. In short, a large percentage of the Sydney pretty young things dig Pinot. Though Red and I do not fit into the pretty young thing category (at all), we are both gaining an increasing appreciation of Pinot as it becomes more common and more affordable/value for money (look out for the next ‘Face Off’ which will involve a double blind tasting of several examples of this variety from Australia and New Zealand).

The Palliser has a nice deep crimson colour, even after a few years in the bottle. The nose is sweet with a slight vanilla scent. In the mouth the wine is rich and full flavoured, the fruit is more red cherry and plum than strawberry (with some mushroom on the finish). There are moderate tannins, French oak that supports, but does not overly dominate the flavour profile and nice length to the wine. Palliser have managed to balance this wine very nicely to avoid the fruit overtaking the show, yet have avoided any grassy, sour or bitter flavours in the process. I could easily sit down with a glass of this on its own, or match it with a range of foods (for some reason this wine makes me want to tuck into a hot bowl of the wild game ragu I once had in Cortona, Italy– not that I need a glass of wine to desire such a dish!).

The winemaker recommended drinking the Palliser on release or in 1-3 years. This appears to be a common suggestion with their Pinot. Thankfully, the wine (approaching 4 years on from bottling) is still in fine form, and the fruit flavour and tannin levels suggest that it is still drinking well now or for a few more years at least.
I am looking forward to comparing Martinborough Pinot with some of the best Australia has to offer (Mornington, Yarra, Tassie). With my parochial tendencies numbed by a blind tasting, I fear I may succumb to the charm of a wine such as this.

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