Friday, April 20, 2012

2009 Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir (Martinborough, NZ)

I love and have cellared the 2006 and 2008 vintages of this wine. Then came the 2009 vintage in Martinborough, which came with a lot of hype, and was described by many as near ideal. With a wine I typically love and an apparently great vintage, I bought 3 bottles of the 2009 Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir without a second thought.

Upon opening my first of these 09’s and tasting it over 3 days, however, I ended up disappointed. While there is an undoubted quality to the wine, there is also a distracting bitterness that sticks out and cannot presently be balanced out by food. Upon throwing some comments on twitter about the wine (as one does these days), Paul Mason, winemaker at Martinborough Vineyards, was kind enough to engage my critique. Interestingly 2009 was not a great vintage from his perspective, with many days seeing temperatures well into the 30s. He indeed prefers the 06 and 08 wines I have cellared. Personally, I always appreciate it when a winemaker hasn't bought into the hype that has been bestowed upon a vintage or wine, and is able to give you a more nuanced view. That being said Mason does expect the 09 to look a better wine in 5 years.

On day 1 this wine looked too acidic, tangy, and bitter, but it subsequently fleshed out nicely over the next few days. The beautiful dark cherry fruit, spice, and game that I typically love emerged, and began to balance out the wine. Proper tannins and good length underscore the quality that is always evident with Martinborough Vineyards Pinot. The one problem remained that overt bitterness. Personally I find it too distracting to enable a great deal of drinking enjoyment at present. Nevertheless, everything else is there, so maybe time is what this wine needs . . .


Price: $65
RRP: 14.0%
Closure: Screwcap


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