Pinot Noir has a reputation for being difficult to make, but it’s also bloody difficult to judge in a formal context on account of its now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t character. Last night the Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006, which saw the grape at its capricious best.
At first, sullen and closed with plenty of earthy, savoury, even metallic aromas and flavours. (Can one like metallic? In this instance, yes.) The wine opened up with time in the glass, each sip revealing something different about it as a whole, one moment perfectly delineated red cherry fruit, next very fine tannins, and thereafter scintillating acidity. What makes good Pinot Noir so intellectually difficult to analyse makes it very emotionally rewarding to drink.