Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pinot Poise

When we get taken out to dinner by good people to a fancy restaurant, and they’re choosing the wine, we tend not to argue too much, but nod and accept gracefully.  The Spaders did just that, seemingly out of some feeling of debt that we couldn’t quite figure out.  We protested initially, then went with the flow.

Of the wines that appeared on the table, there was the 2006 Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir that stood out for SWMBO and myself, as well as The Spaders.  It’s not a common and accepted occurrence that Pinot Noir wines should age with grace and poise.  But when it does, it’s something special, and delicious.  The well-known scenario that Bordeaux wines consistently please with age, but it’s Burgundy wines that can give the highest pleasures or the lowest lows, applies here.  2006 in Central Otago wines haven’t matured as satisfyingly as other vintages, and it’s a feeling from the start.  Many of them have gone mushroomy, broad or dull.  Well not Dominec Mondillo’s wine from Bendigo.  Still beautifully elegant with sweet fruit, admittedly with savoury dried herb and undergrowth-like and layers of subtle earthiness.  Definitely autumnal.  But gorgeous with its sweetness and acid vitality.  This danced on our palates, and flowed with poise.  There’s just the right amount of texture and line. We just sipped and enjoyed it.

Monday, August 25, 2014


My apologies for not feeding this blog for a while.  Sometimes wine work gets in the way of wine play, though in reality the two merge together.  A night out with the slip-slidey down the snow-covered hill crew gave SWMBO and I the chance to put in a long-held bottle donated by The Grunter.  The wine style he makes tends to be pretty amiable, and approachable, so we expected something mellow to slip down smoothly, like the drinkers do on the mountain. 

But we were a little surprised by the 2007 Redmetal ‘Erinview’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Franc.  The label we knew is an up-tier version, and from a vintage producing ageworthy wines.  But this had some real grunt to it.  The feature was structure, and all the textures, mouthfeel and grip that is associated with it.  Flavourwise, it was already into the savoury, leathery spectrum, but with plenty of lively, sweet fruit there in gobs, it still needed another decade before the tannins would be evolved.  A little tougher than expected, luckily the WRXers had put on some hearty meaty fare, and it all worked rather well.