Sunday, November 21, 2010
I've had enough of old wines... or so I thought. I have had a long history in the wine business and as a private collector and drinker of wines. Over the years I have tried many old, properly cellared wines of good pedigree. Some have been sublime. Others of academic interest. Some years ago I decided that I would rather drink the wines young and imagine what they would be like with some age on them. When it came to Pinot Noir, especially New Zealand Pinot Noir, I would drink them up really early and try not to keep them too long in the cellar. Around about the same time that I came to this decision (a few years ago) I decided that I really didn't like Marlborough Pinot Noir as much as (in order of preference) Waipara, Martinborough and Central Otago Pinot Noir. Tonight I made a mince pie. Actually, I had a nice mince mixture (lamb mince, chillies, carrots and peas with flavourings of soy sauce, Worcester sauce, rosemary, oregano, ginger and garlic - try it its nice) in the freezer and the Old Girl had frozen some left over pastry she makes when she made a leek and potato pie last week. Result - a nice looking single serve mince pie which I will have with mashed potatoes and broccoli from the garden. Anyway. I decided that a nice light red wine would go well with this, perhaps an Italian style red. In the cellar I fossicked about and found a couple of old Chiantis and a Negroamaro - not enticing enough to bother bring up to the kitchen. Moving a couple of boxes I came across a cache of older NZ wines and selected a 2001 and a 2004 Drylands Pinot Noir. I'm pretty familiar with the wine style and know the provenance of the grapes but to be honest I didn't expect much from them. I grabbed a 2007 Rioja just in case I had to do some blending. Surprise, surprise - the wines are drinking well. I opened the 2001 first thinking it would be way past its use-by date. It does have an aged character on the nose and in colour is showing some browning - but, holding it to the light - albeit fading a bit at 7PM, it still retains some cherry-pink hues. The flavour is a complete surprise. There is an explosion of cherry-fruit with something heavier (plums?). Now a 2001 light Pinot Noir from Marlborough shouldn't be doing this. It finishes a bit 'burnt' - my descriptor for aged wines - but generally is holding up bloody well. I should have left it there and enjoyed the wine with my dinner but was intrigued as to what the 2004 vintage is doing so I opened that as well. Well! The colour seems to be a bit deeper but not that much. Is the 2001 a better variation methinks. The 2004 presents better on the nose - fresher with a marzipan characteristic. Nice. The flavour is not as intense but soft and rounded like Brigitte Bardot (Where did that come from? Perhaps a concession to TSB? - ed)
Oh! By the way. Best musical choice while writing this has been Led Zeppelin Albums 1 and 2 (on random). Excellent.