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Wine of the Week for week ending 29 Aug 2010
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Montana Living Land Series Pinot Noir 2009
Marlborough, New Zealand

I had a wine the other night that could be considered a 'limited edition' wine in more ways than one. Remarkable, considering that the country's largest wine producer made it and the number of cases made probably reaches the thousands. But it's a wine that's only going to exist one vintage.

I'm talking about a wine from the new Montana Living Land Series launched earlier this year. It's a brand that's been introduced to the Montana portfolio and sits in quality level between the Reserve Series and Showcase Series and has been introduced to signal the company's efforts to protect the natural environment. This includes sustainable wine growing, native plant regeneration, wetlands and the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust.

Montana is kiwiana for reliable, afforable wines. It's a brand that's been around since the first Montana wines were produced at the company's winery in the Waitakere Hills in West Auckland in 1944. But Pernod Ricard, owner of the Montana brand, has decided to phase out this household name. Montana, the mountain, is being eroded as the label is rebranded Brancott Estate to reflect its Marlborough heritage. Only the Classic Series will bear the name Montana after the name change starts to take effect in the New Zealand market starting September. These wines will be all that is left to educate the next generation of drinkers about more than sixty years of Montana's brand dominance.

Let's hope good, reliable and affordable wines continue with the Classic Series and the name stays around forever to remind people of the evolution of quality New Zealand wine, the most famous being Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine of the Week

Montana Living Land Series Pinot Noir 2009
This is a ruby / maroon colour with some density to its appearance. Rich and savoury on the nose, perhaps a little brooding to start but opens up with time to reveal black cherry and cake spice welling up from within. It's reasonably powerful and concentrated with firm velvety tannins, underlying smoky oak, violets, black cherry, hints of cinnamon and maybe even a inkling of orange zest. The finish is long and savoury and there's even some of my favourite stewed spiced tamarillo flavours as the wine lingers in the mouth and that, in Pinot Noir, is always a winner for me. This is succulent yet serious Pinot Noir and it's an afforable price - recommended retail $19.99, cheaper when specialled.

Grapes for this wine came from the Fairhall and Omaka Valleys in Marlborough from a mix of clones. The wine spent six months in oak, of which 19% was new oak and the balance older oak of varying ages. French and Hungarian oak was used. The wine has 14% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a screwcap.

On a quality to value ratio and its total compatibility with my meal of lamb racks with a garlic and herb crust, I award this wine 5 stars.

Montana / Brancott Estate Tiers
Classic Series - Montana
Reserve Series - Brancott Estate
Living Land Series - Brancott Estate
Showcase Series - Brancott Estate
Terroir Series - Brancott Estate
Letter Series - Brancott Estate

© Sue Courtney
24 Aug 2010

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