Last summer I had a couple of very enjoyble Pinots from Africa, Aotearoa and California

Bouchard-Finlayson Galpine Peak Pinot Noir 2004, Walker Bay

Is this really Pinot Noir? Really? Well, at least it is a product from a coop between Bouchard Pere et Fils and Peter Finlayson - the former winemaker for Hamilton-Russel in Walker Bay. This Pinot wasn't even close to the attributes I interlink with Ham Rus Pinots. At first it gave me a lot of distress. It was wild, a bit aggressive, showed plenty of alcohol and was very much dominated by aromas of dried fruits. The first two hours I'd guess it could be an Amarone or something like that. After that period, a typical Sangiovese cherry flavour tendency developed. Very strange! On the second day it wasn't that aggressive anymore. Even some gentleness developed. Unfortunately there was still not a lot of acid present. This one might have provided the wine a better balance. The high amount of extract and concentration was definitely a plus, but if you are expecting a "normal - (and due to the price a high class)" Pinot you might get disappointed. The QPR is astoundingly miserable (approx. 30 Euros, today more something like 40 Euros).

Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir 2005, Martinborough

For those who don't know. Martinborough is situated east of lake Wairarapa on the North Island of Aotearoa. The Runholder is Te Kairanga's basic Pinot. At first I got plenty of raspberries. Some hours later quite a lot of cherries and plums, too. A bit rustic maybe. Even some barn and cow flavours. Very nice acid (almost a bit too much) and plenty of semi-bodied strength. Clear aromas and some freshness resp. life were present as well. It might have reminded me of a stronger and more concentrated Pinot from Maconnais region. Or maybe a Rully? I guess, right now is a very good time for consumption. I am sure it'll last another year or so. The price is okay but not too great (approx. 20 Euros).


Belle Glos Winery Clarke & Telephone Vineyard 2005, Santa Maria Valley

Damn! This is something! A rather subtle example of an Central Coast Pinot. Apparently the Clark & Telephone Vineyard is one of the oldest Pinot cultivation areas in the AVA Santa Maria Valley (est. 1972). At first I got beautiful as well as powerful clear Pinot aromas. Plenty of juciy cherries, some oak, a hint of raspberries and almonds. It was charming, beguiling and almost aristocratic (in its particular own way of course). Its marmelade punch tendencies weren't too distinct. At the same time it appeared to have quiet a lot of spicy and rather fleshy flavours supplemented by some serious flavours of cinnamon. Very nice surprise for little money. At least for a Californian Pinot. (apporx. 30 Euros).

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