This weekend, when I attended the Marlborough Wine Weekend, I get the feeling someone was trying to tell me something about Dog Point. Or was it just a coincidence that the same name kept appearing in front of me? There was Dog Point - the vineyard; Dog Point - the wines; Dog Point - the road and the address of Timara Estate, which was the venue for many of the weekend's events.
But it was the wine, in particular the Pinot Noir, that made one of the most emphatic memorable impressions. The first time was at the 'Grand Pinot Noir Tasting' - nine 2006 vintage Pinot Noirs with five from New Zealand representing Marlborough, Martinborough and Central Otago, one from Tasmania, one from Oregon and two from Burgundy. My favourite wine of the tasting was the Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006.
The follow day the sub-regional tastings were held and Dog Point was amongst the wineries showing their wines at the Waihopai River site. The 2007 vintage Pinot Noir was there for tasting and I almost missed out because time was called before I had finished. But I managed to manoeuvre my way to the stand to get a taste of the wine before the before the curtain was lowered.
"Lovely textural intensity. Excellent fruit regime. Tannins just a little grippy right now, " I wrote. Had I known it was going to be on our table for lunch, I need not have hurried that sniff, sip and spurt.
To muse over it at lunch, with food (the cold meats and pates were a good match) the tannins didn't seems as grippy at all. "Fab with lunch," I wrote.
So how come we get Dog Point Pinot Noir 2007 on our table again, for dinner? Twist of fate, I'd say.
It was one of many different Pinot Noirs placed on tables around the room to accompany Al Brown's Wild Boar Pie with roasted shallots and cherries. Our table scored it lucky, I reckon, with Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2007 and two from Ara as well. Tasted alongside the Cloudy Bay I found an extra level of complexity in the Dog Point with sweet fruit over a rich savoury backbone, gorgeous velvet-soft tannins and a hint of cherry. The funky earthiness of the wine suited the sweetness of the succulent Wild Boar Pie immensely.
So what would Neil think? I knew I had a bottle at home and by opening it, it was one way for him to share some of the delights of the weekend. And I could write a more in depth tasting note.....
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 has a lustrous pink glow to the deep rubellite hue and for people who drink with their eyes, this is a wine of visual appeal. The aromas that emanate out of the glass are sumptuously savoury with subtle but creamy oak that hints of bacon with tarragon and an intertwining of bittersweet and fruitcake cherry. Rich and succulent to the taste with velvet-lined tannins, there's an amalgam of sweetness, tartness, spiciness, earthiness and savouriness. I found cherry, poached tamarillo, red gauva, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, a hint of thyme-like woody herbs and cake spices. Underlying acidity ensures this will be a wine to last - if you want to wait that long. It's beautiful now with the right food accompaniment but seeing how good the 2006 is, a year on, I'd say wait if you can and let the characters develop even further.
Our home cooked meal was oven roasted chicken with a savoury herb stuffing - and it turned out to be perfect accompaniment to the wine.
Dog Point Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 is sealed with a natural cork and costs $39 a bottle.
Available not only in New Zealand but also in many parts of the world - check out www.dogpoint.co.nz to find out where.
© Sue Courtney
2 Nov 2009