2008 Omaka Springs Estates Marlborough Falveys Pinot Noir $5.99

Produced & Bottled by: Omaka Springs Estates, New Zealand
12.5% ABV  Purchased: Salem, OR 10-20-2014

Omaka SpringsI was really looking forward to trying this Pinot Noir, even though I was concerned about the age. Mostly because New Zealand is a completely new area to me (wine wise) and I have no idea how well their Pinot Noir ages. Pinot Noir is a fragile wine. In Oregon they recommend a 5-ish year life span for their “regular” wines and 7 years (average) for the best. So to me, age was a bit of a gamble. I was heartened by Lim13’s comments that he’d tasted other wines from this producer and been very happy with them. Also my lack of knowledge regarding New Zealand’s vintages (i.e. good from bad) gave me pause; but for $5.99, I figured it was worth the risk.

I was not disappointed. It reminds me a lot of a Burgundy that we had last year (@ 5x the price). Body is so perfect for a Pinot Noir, light but with abundant flavors. There is a slight bricking to the color but no age noticeable in the taste. As to the taste itself, there is evidence of cherry, strawberry & a hint of something like plum without the weight that a plum taste usually gives. The fruit is tart; a bit brighter and more forward than I expected, yet not sweet. Residual sugars are listed at <1 g/l. There is also evidence of a spice that I’m unfamiliar with. It is reminiscent of white pepper but not quite. There is a slight hint of that earthy/herbal quality that adds layers and interest to a Pinot Noir. I find it a bright, refreshing Pinot Noir…not brooding or overpowering in any direction.

The wine is aged 10 months in 33% new oak, so that explains why there isn’t a heavy oak taste. There is a good balance of spice, fruit, earth & alcohol. In fact, the 12.5% is a refreshing change, so reminiscent of “old world” wines in comparison to the 14.5-15% wines I’ve been tasting lately (although the fruit prominence is more of the “new world” style). As it opened up, I found it fresh, light and unobtrusive. It would have been a perfect summer wine. IMO, $5.99 is a very good deal. Comparable Oregon Pinot Noir would be about $25.


4 thoughts on “2008 Omaka Springs Estates Marlborough Falveys Pinot Noir $5.99

    1. permiesworld Post author

      You know, this wine also reminds me of those Harrington wines (stylistically but without the flaws that I found in the GO wines). I think, if you are fond of their wines, you might like this one.

      1. jwc

        Yeah PW, at the reduced price quite the bargain, not sure it’s worth a drive all the way south to Salem. How much of this was there? SB, I don’t believe you’ll see this anytime soon in CA. This wine was here in Portland close to 6 months ago, I’m guessing it didn’t sell in the Salem area at the high GO price of $8.99 originally. You never know with GO, perhaps they’ll get another shipment, or find lost cases in the warehouse but I wouldn’t bet on it. My take on NZ pinot noirs is that they are well made, varietally correct and represent excellent value. If the rain eases off here in Portland, may be worth a drive to Salem, without hydroplaning all over I-5! Thanks PW.

        1. permiesworld Post author

          Hey JWC.
          I’m not sure how much they have. TBH I probably wouldn’t make the drive. By the time you factor in the price of gas, suddenly it’s moved the wine to a much higher price point that you could buy local. That’s just me though. I did make a special trip to Salem for the Van Ruiten Steamboat PN but that was because it was so unusual. In a year, this wine will fall into “the mass of PN that I’ve tasted”, memory-wise, but I will remember that one.

          So I suppose it’s just whether or not it’s worth it. I found it, like you said to Seedboy, to be a pretty varietal correct example (a bit brighter/crisper than the ones I’m used to tasting in Oregon) but still true to form. Nice layers etc. So it’s just a personal choice whether it’s worth the higher price point once you factor in your time etc.


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