Having three quality-based Pinot Noir labels gives us a lot of flexibility in any given year. 2018 was a season of extremes – one of the warmest on record, yet an El Nino weather pattern set the scene for an unprecedented number of Tropical Cyclones to attack in late summer. Though only 2 of these made their way to Martinborough, the accumulated rainfall delayed ripening and resulted in patches of botrytis rot which necessitated selective picking. While it was not a “Reserve” year, we could easily have blended the best of the barrels to fashion a batch of Home Block, but made the painful decision that a bigger volume of River’s Edge was preferable in the brave new world that is 2020. Our loss, your gain!
The wine smiles demurely from the glass sporting a beautiful red-liquorice hue. The nose is led by sweet peach chutney, grilled red capsicum and folded white chocolate. Chewy black current jam, caramelised prune and dried fig give luscious fruity notes while rich Bisto gravy and rubbed totara fire-sticks impart a smoky complexity. Warm pumpkin pie sprinkled liberally with nutmeg fleshes out the nose which finishes with an intriguing earthy aroma like a fragrance by Issey Miyake.
The palate is warm and wet and nuzzles up like a dog on the couch during a late night movie. It has a generous mouthfeel and the silky smooth texture of fluffy rabbit hair combined with a zig-zagging tenacity which see-saws across the tongue and needles away like a 2 fingered typist. Rich blackberry dripping from the vine, raspberry drop and blueberry too lend a succulence and compliance which is reined in only slightly by chunky chopped almonds, aubergine skin and notes of a beef shin reduction. Blue chip tannins dance on the spot, jabbing left and right with a long reach while far from the shallow, restrained acidity contributes subtly to a sweet/sour indulgence. Try a glass with a rested but rare fillet of beef on the BBQ.
Harvest date: 21Mar - 8 April 2018 Residual Sugar: Nil
Brix at Harvest: 22.9– 24.3 Bottling Date: 11 Mar 2020
Final Alcohol: 13.3% Release Date: 1 Sept 2020
pH: 3.47 Cellaring: 2 to 7 years
Total Acidity: 5.55g/l
Bob Campbell says: " Reasonably light pinot noir with red cherry, red rose, fresh herbs, pepper and anise supported by fresh acidity and fine, peppery tannins. A bright, high-energy wine with character." 90/100