A friend from Wellington, NZ sent a link to an Ebay auction for a half-case of NZ Pinot Noir he has had and highly recommended. I won the bid for $103 shipped, and received it FedX today. Opened a bottle tonight expecting the worst (hey, could have been poorly stored since ’99.)
The first sniff revealed that it was not damaged in any way – in fact even without resting after its travel it was apparant that this is a high quality Pinot. Very much a classic Pinot nose (unlike many recent offerings from CA and OR, where they have gone ‘overboard’ in one way or another) of damp earth with just a hint of Eucalyptus and over-ripe rasberry.
In the mouth it is velvety-soft, still earthy, and finishes with a leathery fruit. Perfectly balanced, I think, with no one trait standing out too much – like the New England Patriots of Pinot Noir. Not a huge wine, this, as many from CA and OR have become, but beautifully balanced and enjoyable. I wouldn’t have expected it to work with our homemade pesto (homegrown basil) tonight, but it may be capable of providing a complimentary taste with many foods. Martinborough Vineyard is proud of their Pinots, and rightly so judging by this ’99. I think it is near its peak now, but additional cellaring should soften it even more.
Expect to pay $35 or so for a more recent vintage (unless you beat me out for more on Ebay.)