Saturday, 2 March 2013

Moss Wood Pinot Noir 2009, Mornington Peninsula

A pal of mine has been telling me to try Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir (he's Australian) for many months now and I have finally given in. After reading a series of excellent reviews for Moss Wood's wines, I felt the need to try a range of their wines (Chardonnay, Cab Sauv and Pinot Noir - obviously from different vineyards).

One thing that I like about Moss Wood (Jancis Robinson calls their Cab Sauv 'The Latour of the Margaret River) is their elegant label design. Another positive is that they haven't overpriced their other wines as a result of the Cabernet Sauvignon's success. The Pinot Noir is available from £17.50-25, depending on where you look and also on shipping, so whilst it is expensive, it is not prohibitively so.

This fellow was drunk at 2 sittings - one at 8 PM and the other at 00:30. Because of the huge differences between the original tasting and the re-taste I feel the need to separate the two:

Nose: At 8 PM the nose was, to me, perfect. It had a magnificent sense of balance and assuredness about it. There was certainly fruit present, but it was perfectly balanced with savoury notes and a lovely hint of pepper to clear the nose at the back. Strawberry, muted raspberry (i.e. no sourness) came in alongside cherry. There's a certain jamminess to it, but not the overpowering sickliness that will have deterred many from trying Australian and other New World Pinot Noirs. It is extremely restrained and refined - the mushroomy savouriness in the middle of the nose really adds to complexity and ensures this wine has 3 distinct areas.

Re-taste Nose: On the re-taste the nose has grown much more opulent, but rather more one-dimensional. There are positives and negatives to this. On the positive, it means that people who are looking for a fruitier wine will be satisfied, as there is a significantly juicier nose while the wine maintains a hint of sourness at the end to ensure the flavours remain at least partially balanced; on the negative, the loss of the savoury edge has removed a certain level of complexity and (dare I say it?) excitement for the taster.

Palate: Flavours as above. This is a smooth, supple, soft and ultra-balanced wine. The sweetness and savouriness offset one another perfectly and this is an exceptionally drinkable wine. It's light on the alcohol and the body is neither too heavy nor too jammy.

Re-taste Palate: On the re-taste the fruit and sourness are much much stronger than the savoury flavours. The wine is now better described as tasting of dried cranberry and strawberry: there's a touch of tartness to affairs and while the wine is still remarkably smooth, the savoury flavours have all but disappeared. There is, however, a decent 'oomph' of spice in there. Oakiness coming through.

Body: The body is extremely light, smooth and pleasant. Tannins are (as expected of a PN) very light.

Finish: The finish is short but nice. Little change between tastings - surprisingly the hint of pepper in the finish has survived to the later tasting. On the re-taste there is quite a hit of oak-spice that has lingered for some time now. Pretty punchy stuff.

Conclusion: I really really enjoyed the first tasting - this was a wine that showed that the New World can imitate Burgundy's finesse at an acceptable price point. Although the second tasting was completely different from the first, in the time I have been writing this review and re-tasting for a third time, it has begun to grow on me as something different, but by no means worse. It is a far more modern expression of pinot noir and it is nice to see that drinkers are offered an option. Drink the wine straight out of the bottle for a more restrained wine, or decant for 2 hours and enjoy a fruitier fellow. I'm not sure if this was deliberate but if it was, it is a stroke of genius! One cannot help but be impressed.

Points: 89/90. Really pleasant - the factor that pushed it to a /90 was that the wine changed so much after time out, offering diversity and complexity. Super wine and a fun one to drink. One of my readers - BB - will be able to confirm this phenomenon, should he wish to comment...

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