What’s in the glass tonight Feb 25th – Pinot Noir


Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – $$

This was a wine I served at my 50th a few years ago. The outlaws brought a bottle over when clearing out their house and offered it to us cos they don’t drinks reds. I was chuffed at the chance to see how this wine had developed in the interim.

Dark carmine colour, tending brick around the rim. 13.5% alc. This wine was recommended in it’s day.

A savoury, dense and luscious nose, with sandalwood, leather, dark fruits and spice. Promising.

This is holding up well in the glass. Good acidity and body. Flavours of dark red plums. Balanced, fresh, with a spicy finish, long. Very attractive.

Very good drinking now. Has enough acid and fruit weight to last longer, and will look even better 1n 2-3 years time.

Highly Recommended 93 points

Straight to the Pool Room – November 2014

Pool Room Nov 2014

A small selection of leftovers from the big party, and a couple of gifts:

Moët & Chandon NV – drink 2015-2017. Gift. Not sure of the disgorgement date. Going to hold on to it until Christmas Day I expect and share it with L and our parents. I don’t drink enough good bubbles!

Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru 2010 – drink 2015-2020. A gift from a good friend. High 80s points I think.

Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir Waipara 2013 – drink 2016-2017. Not built for that long a hibernation I think but worth a punt.

Framingham Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – drink 2015-2017.

I have a short list of value NZ 2013s I still want to collect before the year is out, so may add to the Pool Room shortly.


What’s in the glass tonight October 4th

Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir 2013

Thistle Ridge Waipara Pinot Noir 2013 – $$

A Pinot Noir from Waipara. Planted on the Teviotdale Hills towards the north end of the Valley. Named for a ridge cleared of thistles and planted in vines. Of course.

This is a region most noted (to date) for its Riesling wines, so I’m interested to see how it stacks up. The wine was voted Champion Red at the recent New World Wine Awards. Given the low-ish price point for wines considered for these awards, it should be acknowledged that we are fishing in a somewhat shallow pool.

Pinot Noir is considered a tricky grape to grow and ripen here, and the resulting wine is pricier than, say, Sav Blanc to make. I suspect this encourages producers to lift their cropping levels, ripen more fruit and thus increase wine production, so to get the price down and the supply volumes up to the point where supermarket chains would be interested. As pinot quality is directly influenced by dry extract and careful ripening, it is a careful balance a volume producer must strike.

However, the judges taste blind, and this wine must have shown the goods to win. And further investigation uncovers that this wine is the ‘younger brother’ of leading Waipara producer Greystone wines, whose own Pinot Noir I rated pretty well when I tasted it a while back, and intend to buy for my own cellar. The pedigree is there.

In the glass the wine is very deep pink carmine. 12.5%. Spice and dark stonefruit on nose, with some savoury character. It took 24hrs to open up and lose a metallic aroma, which also influenced the palate, so I would recommend splashy decanting if you want to drink it in one sitting. Not a good look, to be frank. Most supermarket wines are consumed immediately following the shopping excursion, so it should have been primed and ready to go.

After a day’s rest the aroma softened markedly. Savoury and floral characters came forward. Good fruit weight showed to taste, quite sweet and rich, with ripeness galore. Smooth, not dense. A simple wine, and a good return on the $$. Could improve with a year off. 3+

I followed this up the same night with a wine that tasted like it was truly from somewhere else. A startling expression of a foreign terroir:

Plaisir De Merle Western Cape Chardonnay 2011 – $$

Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay SA 2011

I am so used to NZ Chardonnays. It was a surprise to taste my first mouthful of this South African wine from the Paarl Winelands in the Groot Drakenstein Valley. A Meursault-like nose. Rich and buttery and spicy, with toasted nuts. Yum! Not sure really how good it is cos I couldn’t get my head around it. Really cheap at $10 a bottle, so will have another go quite soon 🙂