Friday, September 5, 2008

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2005

Central Otago, New Zealand
14% alcohol
$33.98 in Indianapolis

Can I tell you a secret? The Wooden Guys and I, we don't drink a lot of pinot noir. It's not that we don't like it, we just can't afford the stuff we like, and don't much like the stuff we can afford. Most of the latter tastes like Strawberry Snapple and black tea. When we come across one we like in the $30 range, well, I promise you will hear about it.

The Big Wooden Guy liked it. He was surprised. He told me that, but he liked it. In fact, he asked me to buy some more. I might, but only if he saves me some.

From the bottlenotes:

Wild Earth expresses the essence of an untamed land far from the pressures of a crowded world. Each wine presents orginal art created by New Zealand's finest emerging artists. Our pinot noir vineyards are sited on the respected Felton Road and Lowburn distrct, located in the stunning alpine desert landscape of Central Otgago. This pinot noir was made from clones 5, 6 and a range of Dijon clone vines, tended by hand and crafted with devoted care in the traditional manner.

The color is just barely translucent, dark for a pinot. It is ruby red in the center trending to pink before it disappears at the edges.

The nose is very promising. It is not just fruit and tea. There is fruit, no question, dark cherries and strawberries, but there is also old leather, mesquite smoke, and an old velvet dress from the back of the closet.

On the palate this one falls back a little, a little more like the typical $30 pinot than the nose seemed to promise. It doesn't fall all the way back, mind you, but a little. Cherries are there, but dark ones, barely ripe and tart. Strawberries are there, too, but little ones, fresh farm berries mixed half and half with tiny sour wild ones. There is smoked meat, too. Not juicy meat, the smoky edges and ends, more meat flavored smoke than smoke flavored meat. There is also a hint of sea salt, most noticeable if you let a drop dry at the rim for a few minutes then put your lips back to the glass. That old velvet is there, too, a dusty musky earthy flavor coming mostly from dusty sweet tannins. This is getting better. It has the classic pinot arc, growing from the time you first sip through a long glowing finish.

I hope this holds up on Night Two. Perhaps a more immediate fear- I hope it lasts until Night Two.

Night Two

The nose has not changed much. Cherries and strawberries, leather and smoke. It is still lovely.

Nope, this really has not changed much from Night One to Night Two. It still bridges generic pinot to good pinot, bringing cherries/strawberreis and black tea, your generic stand-bys, with earth and smoked meat. I think this is the first time I have seen so little change from Night One to Night Two. What does that mean for aging? I don't know, but if you have a few botles of this why would you wait? It is quite nice right now.

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