Russian Jack Pinot Noir

Yell it from the rooftops! Under $20 Pinot Noir.

Ok. We know the typical price point for decent Pinot. And I know I generally prefer something a little more substantial. I've read reviews where this wine gets a bit of abuse for being too light to serve as a the lone Pinot Noir offering on a restaurant wine list. Ok. Fair. But at this bargain.. let's focus on the beauty of diversity.

I do love Pinot Noir, in all it's forms and interpretations, throughout this great wine country. I've been from one end to the other, had my socks blown off by some of the Central Otago Pinot, have stashed away a few of the robust (and pricier) renditions up in Marlborough (I buy a bottle or two from Herzog's everytime I'm there), and should have saved some of the fine Nelson Pinots. I think Nelson was where it really started to grow on me but the affair was sealed in Martinborough.

Martinborough. A different style again. Although I love South Island Pinot Noir, especially fond of Central and Waipara and very impressed with the class of Nelson Pinot, many of my favourites are still from Martinborough mostly because it suits the food I like to cook.

When I am mentioning this overseas, I am still amazed at people who think, probably because New Zealand is a relatively small country, that there is no discernable difference in the wines from region to region. And all this in the days of the newest wine trend "terroir". I even read a quote (by someone I thought was a rather learned fellow) that said "Canterbury, that's close enough to Central Otago isn't it?"

Maybe he was joking. I hope so.

So back to the matter at hand. And that was a light bodied 2004 Pinot Noir from Martinborough. From Burnt Spur to be exact. Their second tier Pinot is a nice fresh drop of ripe dark cherries and plum. Balanced, the acidity is still in hand of the light tannins. Colour-wise, it is light ruby and with some wild berry, mossy components and faint tobacco/milk chocolate on the nose, it's savoury enough. Combined with the fruit characters coming through, it will certainly compliment appetizers of mushroom pastries. dishes of game meat (preferably a lighter treatment), and a nice aged cheddar.

It was a nice choice for a dinner of mushroom risotto.


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