The participants: The Settlers Liquor Store Tasting Collective (S.L.S.T.C), guided by Charlotte N.
The mission: Pinot Noir blind tasting
Time: Wednesday night 07 March
Place: Reputable Margaret River drinking establishment (upstairs)
Remember the film Sideways? It’s where depressed teacher slash struggling writer and obsessive oenophile Miles takes his soon-to-be married friend, Jack, on a trip to California’s wine country for a last single-guy bonding experience, and instead, with their heady blend of failed potential and fading years, soon find themselves pedal-to-the metal on the road to mid-life crisis. Miles in particular is a mess. He may even be an alcoholic. At one point, whilst wine-chatting with a waitress (of course he’s also an un-recovered long-time divorcée), she asks him:
“So why are you so into Pinots? They’re like a thing with you.”
“It’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention, you know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time… to understand Pinot’s potential… can then coax it into its fullest expression.”
Hmmmm, I think his answer was purely about the wine?!
Anyway, mid-life crises aside, we had some Pinot Noir of our own to explore…
2015 Mount Trio, Great Southern, WA. $16.99
An overachiever at this price point with a subtle nose that opens up to pretty silky sour cherry notes throughout. Light. Dry. Able-bodied.
2016 Robert Oatley, Yarra Valley, Vic. $22.99
Green rhubarb and iron rich with juicy and vibrant red fruits bleeding through. A nice lengthy example of the craft.
2017 Howard Park Flint Rock, Great Southern, WA. $24.99
Rose petals and spicy plum relish on the nose and a berry amalgam on the palate with a slight savoury soy underneath. A great package from the Great Southern.
2017 Glaetzer-Dixon Nouveau, Tasmania. $26.99
Good Glaetzer! A deep, dark, plush and herbaceous green bean youngster with a light and delightful dissipating spritziness. A cream-less soda as it were.
2014 Napa Cellars, California, USA. $39.99
A seductive, big perfumed pinot for grown-ups. Caramel oak with a smooth and fruitful long finish. As American as cherry pie.
2013 François Labet’s Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy, France. $39.99
A complex nose. Very complex. Old cooking smells; jig-saw boxes; wood shavings; horse bandages! Yet breathy and light and delicate with remnants of red fruits far, far away. Interesting and intriguing stuff.
2015 Eastern Peake, Ballarat, Vic. $49.99
Dark berries and baking spices – nutmeg, vanilla – abound, with a rhubarb tart fruitiness underneath.
2015 Super Nanny, Central Otago, NZ. $52.99
A rich young-blood with lively acid and plummy deep dark fruits. Rock n roll.
2015 Dexter, Mornington Penisula, Vic. $56.99
Earthy and gamey with a bit of smokiness on the nose and fruits of the forest – cranberry, raspberry – on the palate. Hot stuff.
2015 Dalrymple, Pipers River, Tasmania. $62.99
Ah-smell that tassie magic! Chewy and savoury with velvety tannins, and an excellent length. A great way to finish.
Again, to return to Sideways, I think I’ll leave the last word to its protagonist Miles:
“Only somebody who really takes the time… to understand Pinot’s potential… can then coax it into its fullest expression…
And when that happens, its flavours are the most brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet.”
Again, I think he’s only talking about Pinot?!
John ‘Miles’ G. – Settler’s Product Imbiber & Director of In-Store Tasting Observation Studies