Out­stand­ing qual­ity, price

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Wine -

IT’S not that long ago when pinot noir’s avail­abil­ity was lim­ited and the real wine con­nois­seur’s wine; it was al­ways red Bur­gundy and it was French.

So it should have been as pinot noir was the only red grape grown in the vine­yards of the Bur­gundy re­gion in the last 1000-odd years.

They have had a bit of prac­tice.

The rest of the world’s wine­mak­ers looked on in envy, try­ing to un­der­stand this grape and pro­duce a wine as fas­ci­nat­ing and be­guil­ing as the real thing.

Most failed, some per­sisted in spe­cific lo­ca­tions within Aus­tralia and par­tic­u­larly in New Zealand.

It was a small mar­ket but vin­tage by vin­tage over the last 30 years, pinot noir qual­ity has im­proved con­tin­u­ously in both coun­tries, as has de­mand.

New Zealand grows more pinot noir than Aus­tralia, about 6000ha to our 5000 odd.

Its sig­na­ture char­ac­ter­is­tics are straw­berry, cherry and, in re­ally good ex­am­ples, more com­plex earthy and mush­room fra­grances that are quite un­for­get­table and com­pelling.

The palate is gen­er­ally light to medium and ele­gant, with soft tan­nins mak­ing it such a good food com­pan­ion.

So it’s no co­in­ci­dence the Bur­gundy re­gion is the gas­tro­nomic crown of French cui­sine.

Pinot noir is a re­mark­ably ver­sa­tile grape.

In one corner, it’s re­spon­si­ble for some of the great­est dry red wines in the world, as in Bur­gundy, and on the other it is com­bined with chardon­nay or on its own is re­spon­si­ble for the great­est Cham­pagnes in the world.

No other red grape can boast that ten­dency to great­ness of qual­ity and ver­sa­til­ity.

In Aus­tralia, pinot noir has found its place in the cooler tem­per­ate re­gions of the Yarra Val­ley, Morn­ing­ton, Ade­laide Hills, Pem­ber­ton and more re­cently Tas­ma­nia that may be­come the best pinot noir re­gion of them all.

In New Zealand, it’s Otago, Marl­bor­ough, Nel­son, Mart­in­bor­ough, Waipara and more re­cently the Waitaki Val­ley that again may top the rest and be the best of them all.

All of th­ese re­gions and oth­ers pro­duce a di­verse range of pinot noirs.

They are meet­ing the new trend of drink­ing medium bodied reds rather than the more full bodied.

They have a softer struc­tured mouth­feel, good medium fruit flavours and tan­nins.

The qual­ity and pric­ing of Aus­tralian and NZ pinots is out­stand­ingly good.

By all means, if you can af­ford to drink French, that’s good but any­thing much less than $50 for a French red Bur­gundy and it won’t be so good.

The French mapped out their good and ex­pen­sive plots long ago with prices to match.

Sal­mon, trout, cha­couterie, pate, ter­rine, mush­rooms and good sausages are su­perb food matches.

I have se­lected three pinot noirs, one NZ and two Aus­tralian.

Two are dry reds and one a sparkling, all un­der $30 a bot­tle.

Rob Pa­lan­dri was raised in Margaret River and has been in­volved in the wine in­dus­try as a producer, wine bar owner, agent and re­viewer of 1000s of wines.

2017 Mud House Pinot Noir (Cen­tral Otago, NZ)Slight pur­ple tinge hue, youth­ful fra­grant rasp­berry and spice un­der­tones. Su­perb soft palate and medium to light bodied. Youth­ful, fresh long mouth­feel.17+ points, 91/100.$25 at Wine Box Ned­lands and Shen­ton Park

Grant Burge Blanc de Noirs Non Vin­tage100 per cent multi- re­gional pinot noir sparkling. Mild nutty, ap­ple and white fruits bou­quet. Mouth­feel is quite full, well bal­anced with fruit sweet­ness and crisp­ness. Long fin­ish. Not French but bet­ter than most French at this price. 16.5 points, 90/100 $28

2017 Soumah Pinot Noir (Yarra Val­ley, VIC)En­gag­ing lifted fra­grant cherry bou­quet, ripe medium bodied mouth­feel .Re­ally en­joy­able, youth­ful, rounded and long, slightly tart flavoured fin­ish. Very, very good.17+ points, 92/100$25, avail­able at most Liquor Barons stores

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