From the cellar: Saddleback Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 – $$$
This is the second wine from Peregrine, a producer of one of my favourite Pinots Noir. It was given to me as a xmas gift from a supplier a few years back.
From Wikipedia: The Saddleback or Tieke (Philesturnus carunculatus) is a previously rare and endangered New Zealand bird of the family Callaeidae. It is glossy black with a chestnut saddle. Its taxonomic family is also known as that of the (New Zealand) “wattlebirds” and includes the two subspecies (one for each main island) of the Kokako as well as the extinct Huia. All members of this family have coloured fleshy appendages on either side of the beak known as “wattles”. In the case of Saddleback, they are a vivid red in colour.
The Saddleback traditionally held a strong place in Maori superstitious belief; its cries were viewed as good omens when they came from the right, and bad omens when they came from the left. Its cheeky nature is reflected in the Maori legend that tells of how the bird acquired its distinctive chestnut saddle of colour. Fresh from his battle to ensnare the sun, a thirsty Maui (a virtual demi-god in Maori folklore) asked the Tieke to bring him some water. The bird rudely pretended not to hear his request, at which Maui, becoming angry, seized it with his still fiery hand, leaving a brown scorch mark across its back.
The wine is purple-hued ruby. The bottle age has lifted the savoury aromas, and reduced the violet notes that I would usually see in this Central pinot. The palate shows developed brambly blackberries and plums, with light spice and drying tannins. Some complexity now, with oak structure. It was superb with the roast lamb tonight,