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Wine of the Week for week ending 13 Jun 2010
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Mt Hector Pinot Noir 2009
Wairarapa, New Zealand

This week's Wine of the Week, is the Wine of the Week because it is super value, super tasty and simply super with food.

Mt Hector Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2009 is ruby garnet in colour with aromas of bittersweet red fruit steeped in mulled wine - I get hints of strawberry, tamarillo and bittersweet cherries. Soft, savoury and spicy to the taste with gentle oak, cherry fruit, woody herbs and bright flush of mulled wine spices - cinnamon, clove and star anise - with a freshness to finish, it really hits the spot.

A delicious accompaniment to Kato Caramelised Onion and Cranberry pate, the texture of the pate is creamy and the combo with Mt Hector Pinot Noir is quite sublime.

We also matched the wine to a beer and steak casserole. I love cross cut blade steak for slow cooking in the winter. The steaks are kept whole and after coating in seasoned flour they are browned in a pan before placing in a single layer on the bottom of a casserole dish. Onion and garlic is browned in the drippings with a little more oil. A tablespoon each of brown sugar and dark rich balsamic vinegar and a 330ml bottle of dark stout style beer is added and after the froth subsides, it's stirred around to get all the goodies off the bottom of the pan, then poured over the steaks. The last of the purple and green sage and basil from the pots on the deck - they are hanging in there despite the cold - plus the more winter hardy thyme, is added. The dish is covered and placed into a slow oven to cook until the meat is pull-apart tender with water added as necessary during the cooking.

Mt Hector is from the Matahiwi Stable - a somewhat underrated winery in my opinion - I've liked the Matahiwi Pinots in this past and this value-driven wine pronounces the quality of the 2009 vintage. I can't wait to taste some of the superstars from the greater Wairarapa region.

According to the blurb, this is a wine that's available through independent retailers and Foodstuff supermarkets (New World, Pak n Save) and while full retail is around $16.99, it can be as low as $12.99 on special. Makes me wonder just how big a margin the producers are making these days.

The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the northern Wairarapa and there are several different clones of Pinot Noir in the mix. it has 13.5% alcohol and of course, a screwcap closure. My rating: 4 stars.

The image on the label depicts the topography of nearby Mt Hector in the southern Tararua ranges.

Sorry, there ain't no website to find out more but you could look up and find out more about the parent company and winemaker Jane Cooper.

© Sue Courtney
9 Jun 2010

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