Sunday, November 20, 2016

Big on Finesse

It came time for the big one.  SWMBO had left her place of employment to strike out on her own.  It was a tough decision, as she loved working with most of the labels she represented, and no doubt they loved her working on their behalf.  One of the gifts she received on departure was a 2006 Pegasus Bay ‘Prima Donna’ Waipara Valley Pinot Noir – lovely enough in itself, but here in a 3.0 Litre bottle format.  Under Champagne nomenclature, this is a Jeroboam, equivalent to 4 bottles.

Our annual party at the A-Prentices has always been a fun and casual affair with lots of bottles of wine, plenty of food, and great company and conversation.  But understandably, some people don’t know tasting technique, and they pour themselves big glasses of the most expensive or notable wine, which doesn’t leave much of that bottle for the other 30+ people.  For the last few years, SWMBO and I have brought 1.5 Litre magnums, but even they don’t seem to last, especially when the big pourers get into action.  So the 3.0 Litre was an ideal size to open, not only for this reason, but, the wine was now getting onto a decade in age.

Extracting a normal sized cork, it poured easily.  SWMBO relished the pouring honours, to ensure everybody got a sample.  Dark red in colour with depth and now with garnet and bricking.  The nose very elegant and refined, quite ethereal.  The ‘Prima Donna’ has never been about bigger, fruitier, richer and oakier than the regular Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir, but about the most finesse that could be expressed.  On palate, still very bright, fresh and with vitality, the flavours of red berry fruits showing some savoury secondary complexities.  Yet this was restrained, and you couldn’t say it was funky.  Certainly no excesses here.  Very fine, dry tannins, a tad of dryness appearing, but very smooth in flow.  Almost satin-like.  If you were expecting big things from this big bottle, you wouldn’t get it.  But this was a wine big on finesse.  Beautiful.  Thank you SWMBO.    

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