Posts Tagged ‘Pinot Noir’

Here I go again! A splurge on which I’d not normally indulge – a moderately-priced wine purely based on viticultural region.  I simply adore New Zealand wines but have only tasted those produced from the northern region.  This vino is from the southern latitudes just outside the city of Christchurch.

On a non-vino note that I feel is very important to mention, there is a philanthropic program behind the sale of Flying Kiwi’s wines.  The adorable and seriously endangered Kiwi is a flightless bird native to, and found nowhere else on the planet outside of, New Zealand. One percent of the sale of all the winery’s wines is donated to the Kiwi Recovery and Breeding program & New Zealand Conservation Trust. Please visit their site and donate if you can – your vinoboy has made a pledge.

A rich ruby colored vino with a vibrant fruity nose of cherry & plum.  The palate is youthfully complex bearing a light oaked elegance that will only become more structured and calm as it is cellared.  The finish is lingering and young displaying a surprising maturity.

A remarkable Pinot Noir. You can bet I’ll be hiding a bottle in the cellar to see what happens in 10 years.

Excellent wine for pan-seared tenderloin with grilled asparagus as that’s what I had for dinner with this wonderful vino.  (LCBO ~$16/btl)




**image credit #1 – the bottle portrait was taken by yours truly after I had polished off the bottle. Design and all that property of the winery, duh!  Published here under fair use provisions for review and critique.

**image credit #2 – the wee Kiwi bird

Wow!  Long name, amazing vino: “Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir South Eastern Australia Brut Cuvée”. This third offering in my four-part holiday series is another non-vintage sparkler in the moderately priced range of ~$14/btl.

This lonely bottle was hiding behind other unrelated bottles of Brut far away from the main display of Champagnes and sparkling vinos.  I adopted it immediately and checked the proper section for pricing and found none.  Whatever!  I took it to the till expecting over $25, and was pleasantly surprised at its ~$14 tag. Cha-ching!

Such a heavy bottle with a very deep punt, I made sure to be in complete control when this baby was uncorked. De-foiling, and releasing the cage was done with extra care so not to jarre the bottle to spontaneously popping; the pressure inside the bottle was palpable as I CAREFULLY coaxed the cork into motion.  POW!  This is the first bottle that frothed over upon opening…

Into a chilled glass, the mousse was more reserved than others and subsided just as carefully to present a deeply golden wine crackling with life. The bubbles were modestly-sized and pulsed from many points around the glass. Baked apple flavors dominate the entire experience from start to finish with an attractive complexity that hits mid-palate. Finish flattens out a little but still urges the next sip.

Mature, creamy and fresh, this is definitely a pleasing sipper with food or toasting solo.




**image credit – The winery, festively adorned with holly. Used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

Try not to judge a book by its cover or rather a vino by its ~$11 asymmetrical bottle…  The only reason I picked this wine up was to reaffirm my love of Pinot Noir with Seared MahiMahi.

I always Always ALWAYS buy MahiMahi with the SKIN ON!!! (Being from the East Coast, I prefer most fish whole or with the skin on, but I digress.) The now-thawed room-temperature pieces of mahimahi are liberally spritzed with pineapple juice before receiving a simple coating [salt,pepper,chili flakes,flour] on the flesh side. The good olive oil in a non-stick skillet is heated to almost smoking hot as the fish is placed breading-side down to sear for no more than 5 minutes. (I NEVER let the skin touch the pan. Just under this gorgeous skin is a layer of fat and dark meat rich in beneficial oils and fatty acids. To overheat this Eden of healthy goodness is to render out the reason to eat it. I also prefer MahiMahi, Salmon, Markerel and most other “steak fish” medium-rare to best appreciate their sweet succulence.) Marinated and steamed taro and an Arugula salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette eagerly await, on the plate, the fish.

The shifting colors of ruby red and purple swish in the glass strangely as sniffs of cherry blossoms emanate. The medium-bodied almost-elegance carries plums, vanilla and nutmeg upon the palate to finish subtly earthy.

The flesh of MahiMahi is very tuna-like in its texture and richness; and though considered a white fish, its bold flavor often pairs very well with lighter reds when it has been grilled, blackened or seared.

Definitely a with-food vino.  Not bad, really, but seems to be lacking something. Can’t quite put my finger on it. If I can score a 2007 and a 2009 to compare, I’m sure I’ll figure out that je-ne-sais-quoi.




**image credit – ME!!  I took this picture myself just before uncorking. Bottle shape, labeling and other marks belong to the producer, naturally.

California’s Napa Valley is probably one of the most well-known places in the entire United States for the growing of grapes and the production of wine. On one of my many trips to the mid-west, I came across a retailer who was tasting this vino and stopped for a sip. For the record, this trip was around late August of 2008 and I’m drawing on my memory of the trip and my detailed tasting notes….

“How long has this bottle been opened?” I asked as I glanced at the unstoppered bottle.  This is ALWAYS my first question when chancing upon a tasting station.  The attendant glanced at her watch…

“About 2 hours,” she replied. “Its been kinda slow around here today, donchyaknow.”

“That’s not too long,” I lied. “Lets have a swig.”

In the wee plastic cuppy, this wine tasted flabby and weak; like all the life had been sucked out of it.  My experience to date with California Pinot Noirs has leaned towards chunky, bold and full-bodied so I was certain this sample bottle was past its prime.

On a whim, and at only $6.95USD, I bought a bottle to taste properly in the privacy of my hotel room.

Even when done in the true Burgundy tradition, cellared and forgotten about for as long as 20 years, I’ve yet to hear (with the exception of VERY few Russian River California appellations) of a California Pinot Noir that hasn’t turned to mud.  Anyway…

I chilled this bottle for about 30 minutes in the hotel minibar fridge and rummaged for my travel corkscrew.  The synthetic stopper was cleverly scrawled with the winery’s signature “Whoo Whooo COUGH Whooo Whoo” pattern.  I kept the stopper. *grin

With an easily-detectable 13.5% alc/vol and a nose of sweaty gym socks and over-ripe cherries, I was beginning to sense that the $6.95 could have been spent better elsewhere.  A cautious sip brought tears to my eyes with harsh flavors of masticated pomegranate seeds, kerosene and ammonia.  I SURRENDER!!

I don’t think I’ve ever abandoned a bottle of vino faster that this stuff.  I’m sure there’s a dreamy-tasting Burgundy-styled California Pinot Noir out there somewhere, but alas, this Smoking Loon Pinot Noir 2006 ain’t that vino. Blech!!!

Value-for-money considered, be VERY glad this isn’t at your local LCBO.



*image credit – Google Images Search – selected image result used under fair-use provisions for review and critique.

oMondo Negroamaro Salento 2009. Great with pizza obviously; I’d say good too with grilled Mackerel in a  Tomato-Cilantro sauce or full-flavored orange cheeses like Colby and Cheddar. I’ll most certainly be picking up a few bottles for my wine rack – at this price its definitely a great budget-priced vino! Yes, that was not a typo: $7.95/btl!


~tvbdonchya know