We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
If you have ever seen the movie Sideways, then you remember the conversation where Miles speaks of how temperamental the Pinot Noir grape can be. There are many places on Earth where Pinot can grow, but there a few select regions where this grape is downright mind boggling. Burgundy, France tops the list as the official home of Pinot Noir, but there are many other notable regions where this finicky fruit just plain rocks. South Africa, Carneros and Russian River Valley, California, the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and New Zealand are a few of the big ones.
The wine slated for review is a wine from world famous Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, New Zealand. Founded in 1985, this winery is one of the original five wineries to establish themselves in the now coveted Marlborough wine growing region. Known for beautifully balanced wines, their Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay are known the world over. The wines of Cloudy Bay are grown at carefully selected sites in New Zealand; these include Marlborough and Central Otago.
After removing the simple, yet effective screw cap, the wine pours into the glass a light ruby red. The nose is ominously one dimensional at first only offering wafts of cherries and licorice. However, once the wine begins to breathe, the nose opens itself up showcasing an ocean of layers: red cherries, red licorice, raspberries, strawberry, and a nuance of barnyard. The palate confirms the nose, but is not quite as complex. I do find the wine to be subtly jammy. The mouthfeel is moderate, earthy, and elegant. The finish is sensual.
- Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir, 2014 vintage
- Winemaker: Tim Heath
- Appellation: New Zealand, Marlborough, Wairau Valley, Mustang and Barracks Vineyards
- Terroir: Gravelly clay soils, with clay/loam subsoils
- Grape varieties: Pinot Noir
- Barrels: 12 months in 35% new French oak
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium plus
- Alcohol: Medium
- pH: 3.63
- Finish: Moderate
- Alcohol by volume: 13.5%
- Retail price: $39.99 per bottle at the time of review
Rated at 92 points by Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, and called the best Pinot Noir harvest to date for Cloudy Bay as quoted by the winery itself, this wine arrived in the mail with high expectations. It is a very intriguing wine to me. Extremely tight at first opening, then coming to life once its lungs gasp in ample oxygen, this wine makes you wait for your pleasure. The balance is quite nice, but I detect more astringent components than one would expect from a NZ Pinot Noir. I partially blame the Texas summer heat during shipment of this bottle. I suspect a very mild amount of heat damage occurred, not enough to destroy the wine itself, but enough to create a slightly out of balance astringency. If I am wrong, then this wine could end up being extremely age worthy based upon its medium plus tannins, and more than adequate acidity. Pair this bottle of wine with lean beef dishes and a hearty starch of your choice.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.