Pinot Noir – a faithful companion for life?

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Pegasus horses are described in Greek mythology as shy flying horses living alone at unfrequented mountaintops where they feed from the untouched grasslands of the highland. He who finds a Pegasus horse – and succeeds in taming it – has a faithful companion for life. And oh yes; the Pegasus will live as long as its master as long as the flying horse doesn’t get lethally wounded. 

‘Succeeds in taming it’ – for a moment my mind thought of the Pinot Noir I had in the glass and parallels started popping up. Proud over the fact I’d found a nice entry for a posting on the wine, I thought of the Pegasus again.

‘Has a faithful companion for life’ – well, hello there dear university boy; haven’t you remembered a bit from the years studying law? Find the prerequisites, check if they’re applicable before the rule sets in. Cultivating Pinot Noir is everything but a friend for life; he who tames it? Faithful companion? Yeah, right. There goes my entry… 

Is there any grape which generates such disappointments as Pinot Noir – or joy when it hits the spot? Probably not and that is why so many of us continue searching after Pinot kicks. We’ve tasted its true potential on some memorable occasions. I admire Pinot producers stubbornness. They know the odds when dealing with the grape but their love for the potential result drives them. Suddenly, one vintage, Pinot Noir might accept being tamed and everything is forgiven!

I’ve previously written about Waipara - the place to be and keep an eye on if you’re into Pinot Noir. It’s time to continue now, with my recently found and perhaps faithful companion of Pegasus Bay.

The 2007 Pinot Noir from Pegasus Bay has impressed twice recently with consistent notes. The style differs from the Mountford as mentioned in my Waipara story and I like them both! The family owned and run estate of Pegasus Bay is in the Waipara Valley in the South Island of New Zealand – just a short ride from Christchurch. Pegasus Bay is an accredited member of the NZWG sustainable viticulture program and believers of using natural methods to prevent or fight pests and diseases instead of the application of unnecessary pesticides and herbicides. 

So, Mountford Estate is all about elegance. Pegasus Bay is just the same but combined with more stuffing to it. Both estates has one thing in common though; they’ve delivered excellent ’07′s!

2007 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir:

Decanted and allowed to breathe for some hours. Quite dark for a Pinot. Seductive! The 18 months the wine spent on French barrique’s of which 40% were new, has added that extra dimension (dark chocolate, ground coffee) to the spicy, wild strawberries, cherries and floral scents. There’s a touch of smoked meat as well and humus which just makes this one of those wines you want to sniff the whole evening long! When closing in at six hours of aeration it becomes more floral with rose petals and the wild strawberries are of the mashed kind.

Packed with fruit and impeccably balanced acidity. This is just a gorgeous drink! Cherries, strawberries, toasted oak, humus and rose petals all wrapped up beautifully. Just as the color indicated the taste confirms a more concentrated style of Pinot although this will most likely not disappoint the Pinot cognoscente. Some tannins to give the necessary complement to the acidity and fruit and a further ageing. Long finish with a pure berry and humus feel to it.

I’m a sucker for kiwi Pinot. The producers are offering an impressive range of styles and many of them has clearly showed not only that they are close in ‘taming the grape’, but also that they deserve to be mentioned with the same respect as the reference frame that started it all – Burgundy.

Consumers frustration regarding horribly priced Burgundies not delivering nearby their pricetags can easily be solved if more would just turn to New Zealand Pinot instead. Just stick to Waipara if your palate is too French.

(2007 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir, Waipara, 92-93 p. Ageing capability: a further 5 years from now. Your preference should determine when to pop.)

Where do you live? My Swedish readers are able to purchase the 2007. Wein & Co in Germany stocks Pegasus Bay. Check with them if they can offer the Pinot Noir as well. The New Zealand House of Wine in UK offers the 2007 at a great price. At Slurp as well. US readers find it at Bedford Wine Merchants

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  • Henrik

    >The Pegasus sounds great, let's see now if I can remember to get my hands on a couple of them true-flying kiwis.
    Otherwise, I have to say, Niklas, you nail it on Burgundy with this post. With Burgundy you pay through the nose, so bad it's tough not to remember that when you're sniffing what you payed for.

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    >Hi Henrik!

    Don't misunderstand me; I love a great Burgundy but just as you said – it hurts financially to pour one! And to be honest this is probably why I don't own that many of them…

    However; last weekend I poured a 2005 Volnay en Cailerets from Pousse d'Or and next to it a 2006 Omihi from Daniel Schuster in Waipara. Several hours on decanter both of them and both followed for two days. Both costs EUR 50 but only one is worth it….guess which one ;-)

    BR

    Niklas

  • Henrik

    >I realise that what someone considers expensive is cheap to the next man.
    But still, basically, if you don't think you get your money's worth in Burgundy, pay +30 euro in Kiwiland instead.
    I believe that says something.
    And, I hope the Pousse D'or was the one worth 50 euros, but I somehow doubt it.
    My own expreience with Burgundy is to shallow, really, but still, I get the feeling that you don't get where I think Burgundy belongs without paying quite heavily.
    Sure, once in a while you can strike gold in the minefield, but that's on very rare occasions.

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    >The Pousse d'Or en Cailerets '05 was a lovely wine. But it couldn't follow the Omihi from Schuster – not nearby.

    Still if one is too traditional and has a hard time accepting a NZ Pinot can be superior, although different, a Burgundy, then it's better sticking to one's safe bets. Sadly, this is what has happened because Schuster went into recievership last year…

    BR

    Niklas

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