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) 

with a long finish. The wine has substance, structure and will hold up for a couple of years. Will I change my mind about the longevity of NZ wines? Yes. Re Marlborough vs other regions? Yes. A good experiment. Now I have two bottles of 13.5% alc. wines open. I'll do my best but will probably try out the cryogenic experiment again with the remainder.
Oh! By the way. Best musical choice while writing this has been Led Zeppelin Albums 1 and 2 (on random). Excellent.



"Oh! By the way. Best musical choice while writing this has been Led Zeppelin Albums 1 and 2 (on random)."

Mmmm. The tracks 'Dazed and Confused', 'How Many More Times' and 'Ramble On' are quite apt then.

TwistedScottishBastard said...

I envy you your cellar. I don't think I've got a wine older than 3 years in mine, except one bottle of a 30 year old Port (Cockburns)

I also agree with you about Marlborough Pinot Noir, I just don't think they've (yet) got the body and depth of flavour I would have expewcted from this grape. Even the Cenral Otago Pinot Noir isn't quite as good (yet) as a good French Burgundy, but they're definitely improving.

I'm glad you enjoyed your pie, sounds scrummy. I notice that you've inferred that your better half is away?

No wnder the cellar is getting such a hammering.

Guilty Conscience?

Richard (of RBB) said...

Hey The Wine Guy, you should have invited Comeinyourpants around for a drink - he's been a bit off colour and would have enjoyed some of your pie.