Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Terrific Australian Pinot

Australia isn't the first place I look for Pinot Noir — or for any other varietal, for that matter — but Dean assured me that the 2005 Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir from Victoria was practically Burgundian. I agree. This has a cherries-in-a-barnyard aroma, while its medium bodied mouth (cherries again) delivers impressive acidic lift and a nice zing of spice. Furthermore, its lovely, slightly bitter note of orange peel gives it that extra something special. Its tannic structure is delicate, verging on elegant. Interestingly, the finish sits either upfront or toward the back; I wouldn't go so far as to say there's a hole at the midpalate, but the finish is less present there than elsewhere.

Kooyong is based on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria; it's practically due south of Melbourne and it juts out into the ocean. The Massale, their entry level Pinot, is made from 100% estate fruit (handpicked, destemmed), ferments with ambient yeasts, and sees only 15% new oak for 12 months. Given that the Estate is similarly made, albeit with 30% new oak over 18 months, I'd love to try that someday, too.

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