I was looking for a gift for a volcanologist and thought I would like to buy him a bottle of Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007. Wild Earth sounds like a pretty appropriate name for a volcano guy and this particular wine was my favourite from the stunning 2007 Central Otago vintage
(see my Wines of the Year for 2009), but of course it has long sold on. In the end I decided on Crater Rim Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007. I hadn't actually tasted the wine (or maybe I did at WineNZ last year) but it was from the year that Central Otago excelled and I thought with a name like that I couldn't go wrong.
The volcanologist, of course, was chuffed and it didn't matter that the wine was from Otago when the name was for the ancient volcanic rim of Banks Peninsula, further north. I hope he enjoyed the wine.
If only I had waited a week I would have tasted the follow on to last year's Central Otago favourite - Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 .
The 2008 wine has features that push all my buttons. It's dark in colour for a vintage that produced many lighter coloured wines, it has a mysterious savoury aroma and an intriguing complexity of flavours. After tasting it at a Wednesday tasting a couple of weeks ago, I wondered how it would compare to some of its counterparts from the 2008 vintage and so some wines were duly lined up on the table for me to taste blind.
Interestingly, Neil and I didn't agree,. He plumped for the big softie that I could see being almost everyone's cup of tea. I liked it too - it turned out to be Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. But my wine of the flight was, surprise, surprise, Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. Not only was it my favourite in the tasting - it was also the best with the food I cooked to accompany the wines - that being lamb leg steaks served with a rich tamarillo jus.
Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 is deep ruby in hue. It is concentrated, spicy, savoury, earthy and fruity meaning there is plenty of interest in the wine and I really like the little grippy hug. All sorts of intrigue to the flavours with smoky oak, bacon, herb and fruit in the plum redcurrant spectrum. But most exciting is the lingering aftertaste - more than a memory of what went before.
Wild Earth has had a change of label - gone is the splash of colour, now it's an understated silver with black writing, the only colour the Burgundy red of the words 'Pinot Noir'.
Grant Taylor is the consultant winemaker. The fruit comes from Lowburn and from Felton Road in Bannockburn. The finished wine has 14.2% alcohol.
Available at all good stockists, it costs around $38 a bottle. My rating: 5 stars.
Find out more from www.wildearthwines.co.nz.
© Sue Courtney
19 May 2010