Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2006 Central Otago

2006 Carrick

2006 Carrick Pinot Noir, Central Otago NZ

Central Otago has become one of the most hyped regions in the New World for pinot noir. New Zealand on the whole has attracted so much attention, and rightly so. They understand what works, and know how to make styles that bridge between Californian bombs and Burgundian jewels. The industry there is so new, and is centered around sauvignon blanc and pinot noir - and I'm a huge fan.

You can't, however, make a judgement on a region from a single bottle, and I certainly won't make that mistake here. I believe in New Zealand, and want to explore more - this bottle simply did not meet expectations.

Good light colour, very red - just what pinot noir should be. Subtle, more subdued nose of red fruits, berries, bramble and earth - classic pinot perfume. Very bright. Fruit forward, but a much more Burgundian nose than the Palliser. My drinking companion guessed it as French, from nosing it. Quite an astute observation - this is a very subtle wine. The alcohol is quite noticeable though.

On the palate, some sweetness, silky texture, and an explosion of red fruits on the finish. Fireworks in the mouth, but which unfortunately instantly die off. Very little length on this wine. Maybe its at an awkward stage, but this wine has no strength on the finish. Just a pop of fruit, and then nothing. Very bitter alcohol.

The alcohol disturbs me very much, much like the aforementioned Palliser. Maybe it's the vintage, but the alcohol is out of control. Masks a lot of nuance, unfortunately. I don't understand these high-alcohol wines - they just don't belong on the table, as they just don't pair with any food. A hunking piece of seared, smoked and charred meat perhaps, but anything more delicate is swallowed by the alcohol.

A bit unfortunate. This is a $40 bottle, and for that price, I expect better balance and a stronger finish. Too bad. Lots of fireworks, little substance.

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