Wednesday, January 04, 2006

WBW #17: A tale of two Pinots

I have been busy traveling during the holidays without much time for wine shopping. So for the 17th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday — thanks a lot John at Corkdork for being the host and choosing the theme: Red Kiwis — I simply selected the only NZ red wine that was in my cellar at this time: a 2001 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir. I also decided to open a 2001 Merryvale Pinot Noir Los Carneros as a point of comparison.

Actually, I didn't mean to buy the Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir. I had ordered a 2001 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir but the store shipped the Martinborough Vineyard instead. I guess they were out of the Ata Rangi and chose to replace it by a similar wine. I hate when they do this but it was not worth returning the wine.

Martinborough is considered to be the most exciting place for Pinot Noir in New Zealand's North Island, and Ata Rangi as well as Martinborough Vineyard are the two leading wineries of the area. Located on the southern tip of the island, this is the coolest wine region but autumns are sunny and dry. The 2001 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir exhibited a dark red-brown color and a big nose of sweet fruits and pepper. On the palate, it was muscular and concentrated with a long, earthy finish.

The Los Carneros AVA is one of Napa Valley's coolest area and is renowned for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. The 2001 Merryvale Pinot Noir Los Carneros showed a bright red color and a mild yet attractive nose of berry, vanilla and clove spice. On the palate, it was well-balanced with some lively acidity. I found it slightly more elegant than the New Zealand Pinot Noir and I liked it better with our Pot-au-Feu.

Two Pinots, two wine regions, two new world styles. Now I am wondering how the Ata Rangi would have tasted?

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