Friday, September 21, 2012

Wither Hills 2008 Pinot Noir, Wairau Valley

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Has the world turned upside down? I used to view New Zealand mainly as the go-to location for Sauvignon Blanc. When the palate craved Pinot Noir, the first thought is the Willamette Valley in Oregon, maybe Carneros in California or a nice French Burgundy.

We recently cracked open this 2008 Wither Hills Pinot and learned firsthand that there certainly is something to the buzz about high quality Pinots coming out of New Zealand.

The Wairau Valley is an area within the famous Marlborough wine growing region. It has shallow, stony and fast-draining soil and a warmer, wetter climate than the other valley in Marlborough.

I purchased this wine online for a mere $17. It scored highly during our first NZ Pinot test drive.

The wine opens a bit hot at first. Some swirling and conversation allowed the Pinot to unwind and soon it showcased bright fruit berries and an earthy tone.

A medium-bodied wine, it is cranberry in color. I found it to be more interesting than Pinots that strictly had a fruit profile. The herbal quality gave it an interesting twist.

The texture is relaxed all the way, with tannins playing an integrated support role. We suggest decanting this wine to enjoy the full extent of its charm.

The wine reminded me of a recent trip to visit my brother out in the country. At one point we were rumbling along a gravel road then we reached pavement and the ride suddenly became quiet and silky smooth. How refreshing!

Rating: 4.5 of 5   Value: 5 of 5
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