Pinot Noir: Wine Reviews

Most Recent Tastings

Valli – 2015 Pinots

Barry Weinman: October 31, 2017

Grant Taylor established Valli in 1998 and has been making the wines ever since. The focus in primarily on Pinot Noir, from five vineyards across Central Otago.

Ostler Wines

21st August 2017

Ostler wines are situated in Waitaki Valley, North Otago. Whilst this is a brand new Geographic Indication (GI), Ostler produced their 1st vintage back  in 2004 from vines planted in 2002. There are another 8 – 10 wineries in the region, with 100 hectares under vine.

Pinot Noir – June 2017: New Release

18th June 2017

Pinot Noir is not the easiest wine to make well. It tends to do best in cooler, boutique wine producing areas and requires plenty of attention in the winery. Also, the attention required in the vineyard precludes large scale plantings. So compared to Shiraz, these are not the cheapest wines to produce.

Bass Phillip Pinot Noir – 2015 Vintage Review

31st May 2017

When it comes to Australian Pinot Noir, the reputation of Bass Phillip is unequalled. Their reputation is backed up by the prices that their top wines sell for. The range tops out with the Reserve at closer to $600. The entry level wines, however, are most reasonably priced, starting with the Old Cellar ($35), followed by the Crown Prince ($60).

New World Pinot Noir

20th February 2017

I had a call from a friend recently saying that he was dropping around some wines for me to try. These turned out to be sixteen highly regarded new world Pinots. This was a brilliant way to end a tiring day.

Mac Forbes 2015 Release

Felton Road – 2015 New Release

20th November 2016

The chance to taste the newly released 2015 Felton Road Pinots was an opportunity too good to miss. Needless to say, the quality of the wines was outstanding.

Pinot Noir – New Release

3rd July 2016

Ethereal at its best, yet notoriously difficult to get right. Given the challenges in producing the wine, finding good value Pinot is indeed difficult.

Winery in Focus: Ostler

28th April 2016

Central Otago Pinot Noir is often defined by purity of fruit combined with a degree of generosity This combination makes for great drinking wines that can also age well in the short to medium term.

Red Burgundy – Part Two

11th February 2016

The panel looked at a few of the Red Burgundies imported by Lamont’s in Cottesloe.

With a number of producers and villages represented, there are a variety of styles available. They vary in price and quality, but are worth trying. If John Jens is in the restaurant, you may be able to try one or two by the glass.

Crittenden Estate – Pinot Noir

18th November 2015

Wines made with Pinot Noir are some of the most challenging to make. That said, there are a few winemakers in Australia who have mastered the art, including the likes of Phillip Jones at Bass Philip and Mac Forbes.

Felton Road: 2014 Vintage

20th September 2015

Felton Road Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Central Otago. The first vines were planted in 1992, and the first wines produced in 1997. Amazingly, Blair Walters has been the winemaker for every one of those vintages, meaning that 2014 is his eighteenth vintage at the winery.

Affordable Pinot Noir

30th July 2015

Notoriously difficult to produce, Pinot Noir remains the Holy Grail for many winemakers and enthusiasts alike. At their best, Pinots possess an almost ethereal quality, fanning out and caressing all parts of the palate.

Finding good Pinot Noir is difficult enough. Finding affordable Pinot Noir that offers good drinking is a great challenge.

Pinot Noir – March 2015

13th March 2015

The surprise of this tasting was the Trapeze Pinot Noir. This is made by Brian Conway at Izway (a Barossa Shiraz & Grenache specialist) using Yarra Valley fruit. This is an affordable, great drinking Pinot.

Pinot Noir – New Release – January 2015

Reviewed: 11th January 2015

Pinot Noir is the Holy Grail for many winemakers and consumers alike. Site selection is critical, as is the use of the best varietal clones in the vineyard.

Pinot Noir – New Release

Reviewed: February 14, 2014

The wines reviewed here are all worth a look.  If you love pinot, then the Shaw & Smith is an excellent wine.  If your budget is a little tight, then the Windy Peak is an authentic rendition at a bargain price.

Direct Import (Red) Burgundy

Reviewed: 7th February 2014

In a line up of 25 red Burgundies, the wines of Emilie Geanet stood out for their sheer quality. Admittedly, they are not the cheapest wines available, but they are certainly worth looking for if you enjoy quality Burgundy.

Pinot Noir

Reviewed: 9th September 2013

Pinot Noir – New Release

Reviewed: 23rd June 2013

A couple of interesting pinots from Dalrymple came in during the week, so I put together a small bracket to see how they came up. Dalrymple is a Tasmanian winery and the fruit for all three wines came from the Coal River region. The quality across the range was very high, with the wines offering an attractive blend of fruit and spice.

Beaune and Beyond

Hosted by Phillip Rich at Lamont’s in Cottesloe

Reviewed: 3rd June 2013

I must admit that I had reservations about attending this tasting as I had spent the day working in Sydney and had flown in just in time to attend. The thought of a hot shower and warm bed was very appealing. I am so glad that I did attend though as it was a fantastic evening.

Phillip Rich was in town to showcase a range of wines that he imports in to Australia. Two things made the night so enjoyable. Firstly, the wines ranged from very good to spectacular. The red Burgundies from Hudelot Noellat in particular were nothing short of spectacular.

Ostler – Current Release

Reviewed: 25th April 2013

I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Jim Jerram from Ostler recently to try their current range of wines as well as several older Caroline’s pinot noirs.

Pinot Noir – New Release

Reviewed 23 January 2013

It was a fascinating exercise to look at the two pinots from Moss Wood. One is from Margaret River and the other from Mornington. Stylistically, the wines were quite different, with the feminine appeal of the Mornington being my pick.

Pinot Noir Benchmark Tasting

A Sommeliers Australia event

hosted by

Sam Badger and Lamont’s Cotesloe

Reviewed: 10 December 2012

This was an interesting tasting, with the 2010 wines from Australia showing well. In particular, the Provenence was a highlight. I was also very impressed by the Evesham Wood from Oregon. The highlight however, was the bracket of Burgundies. There were a couple of superb (if expensive) wines on show.

Giant Steps – 2011 Release

Reviewed: 17 September 2012

Giants Steps have been taking, well, giant steps in their pursuit of making wines that reflect the place in which the grapes are grown. With access to several excellent vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Steve Flamsteed has produced a superb range of wines that speak of the place where they were grown.

The current release of chardonnays and pinot noirs are from the 2011 vintage. This was a very cold and wet vintage that presented numerous challenges in the vineyard and winery. Properly managed, it is clear that the vintage has produced some excellent wines, albeit in a finer, more elegant style to the 2010s. I expect that in the longer term, the 2011′s from Giant Steps will be fantastic.