The Shout NZ July 2021

Page 22

BY Power and precision, finesse and elegance. This describes many of the best Pinots Noir from around the world. But why is this wine so popular? Pinot Noir is a challenging grape to grow, many winemakers and viticulturists would say fickle, and is completely dependent upon season, weather conditions at flowering, harvest windows and then how a winemaker manages the fruit once it arrives at the winery. Another critical component of the final taste of Pinot is the soil, aspect and location where it grows. I remember being in Burgundy around harvest a few years ago and the attention to detail in the vineyard and then winery was all about capturing the sense of place a wine can reveal. Understanding how to do that is why the skill of a winemaker alongside vineyard teams is so important. The wines I was able to taste back then reminded me of the vineyards I walked in, smell of the air and soil. The same can be said for the respect and love for Pinot from New Zealand so many of us have. The idea of power, the force and drive of the bouquet, and precision, the shape, form and

polish, even ripeness of the tannins - all comes from how much is extracted from the fruit including colour and tannin, then flavour and texture can be released from the skins before and during fermentation. Temperature control is critical and if oak is used in the winemaking sequence, it has to be judiciously selected so the flavours of wood do not overpower the fruit. Finesse and elegance come from an understanding of how and when a wine will find its sweet spot on the palate through gentle winemaking and bottle-age. A winemaker with a heavy hand can overproduce a wine, losing its sense of identity in favour of flavour and too much wood work. The nuances of flowers and fruit, messages of soil or mineral, sweetness, smoke and spice of oak can give a Pinot Noir elegance with finesse, charm and complexity. Too much of any single attribute and a wine can lose its sense of identity. I am simplifying matters a little, but if you consider all the impacts from weather, soil and farming to winemaking at volume, the story of Pinot Noir can be a wonderful sensory journey.

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AMISFIELD CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR 2019 Tense, ripe, varietal and loaded with primary fruit and mineral energy. Bright red and dark cherry, raspberry and redcurrant. Baking spices of oak with a vanilla and cedar suggestion, a whisper of bacon then a quiet wood smoke moment. Quite powerful and youthful on the palate with fruit flavours that reflect the nose, an abundance of tannins and acidity add texture and energy. Lengthy finish with a primary, fruit centric power and contrasting wood and acid structure. Plenty of minerality this wine needs more cellar to really showcase its personality and pinosity. Drinking best from 2023 through 2030. Points 95 RRP $55.00 Distributor: Red + White Cellar Phone: (03) 428 0406 www.amisfield.co.nz

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CLOUDY BAY TE WAHI CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR 2017 Smoky, toasty, elegant, fruity, spicy and complex. Aromas of dark purple cherry and dried raspberry, old strawberry and whispers of wild thyme. There’s some toasty French oak barrel scents with brown baking spices and smoke. Elegant and soft as the wines reaches the palate then a layer of fine tannins and medium+ acidity engage. Contrasting flavours and sweetness of red fruit flavours, gently warming alcohol and a lengthy eloquent finish. A lovely wine ready to enjoy or cellar for a while longer. Best drinking from mid to late 2022 through 2028+. Points 95 RRP $99.00 Distributor: Moët Hennessy NZ Phone: (09) 308 9640 www.cloudybay.co.nz

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Cameron Douglas is New Zealand’s first and only Master Sommelier. An experienced wine writer, commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant, he is academically in charge of the Wine and Beverage Programme at AUT University in Auckland and is Patron of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association. Douglas consults to a variety of establishments, taking care of their wine lists, wine and food pairings, and staff training matters and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. 22 THE SHOUT NZ – JULY 2021