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