Monday, September 26, 2011

2010 Central Otago Pinot Noir

2010 Thatched Hut Pinot Noir, Central Otago

2010 Thatched Hut Pinot Noir | Central Otago | New Zealand

I shouldn't be, but seeing 2010 vintages on shelves is still a bit jarring, until I remember that the southern hemisphere's harvest is a good half year or more ahead of ours. Central Otago is regarded as the source of the finest pinot noirs out of New Zealand, with the prices to match. It's difficult to find good wines from here under $30, not to mention under $20. Online Colleges have information on culinary and cooking degrees for people who love good food and wine.

I love the wines, as New Zealand reminds me in many ways of Niagara. Both are regions attracting lots of new investment, bringing together the best of traditional viticulture with the newest technologies. With a focus on the grand varietals of France, the best producers are able to produce singular wines which give hope that there is terroir to be found. The wines (obviously different) share some common elements that are so exciting - that freshness, that beautiful purity that is the hallmark of New World wines, but also the linear structure and mineral character found in the best French wines. So much character, and with a few more vintages, hopefully we'll see if there is such a thing as the New Zealand and the Niagara terroir.

So, a more reasonably priced estate level pinot noir of Central Otago. Bottled under stelvin, as expected, and given a hard chill. I like screwcaps, but not when there's reduction. And yes, it's as bad as TCA. Red berries, stemmy, nutty oak - I've found that slight greenness in a lot of NZ pinot noirs, and I quite like it. Dry, austere, lean - balanced, finishes with a bit of spice. Maybe the buildup suggested a bit more, but this wine did what its supposed to do - simple, varietal pinot noir. Yes.


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