Pinot noir is one of the world's greatest red wine varieties, and can bring great pleasure whether rendered as a lighter bodied, fragrant wine to drink young, or a more structured wine that can take some cellaring. The ageing styles will develop greater complexity of character as they soften and mellow, much as French burgundy does. Mornington and Yarra Valley are both proven sources of fine pinot, but Hawkes Bay has to date been famous for merlot and the cabernets, but less closely associated with pinot. Te Mata's newie could signal a turning point.
Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2018, Mornington Peninsula, $34
This is remarkable value for money. Dried herbs and spices to sniff, background black cherry. Some whole-bunch complexity. Medium bodied. It has body and gravitas. Fine, powdery tannins. Screw-cap; 13.6 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to nine years.
Stockists include Cloudwine, South Melbourne (Vic); Elizabeth Bay Cellars (NSW).
Te Mata Estate Vineyards Alma Pinot Noir 2018, Hawkes Bay, $80
Te Mata took a long time to enter the pinot market and this is a ripper: a serious pinot with depth of both colour and body, richness and structure. Concentrated dark cherry and plum flavours; full-bodied and firm with abundant tannins. I'd give it more time. Diam cork; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Best in two to 15 years.
Stockists include Kent St Cellars, Sydney and Kemeny's, Bondi (NSW); Wine House and Cellarbrations Flinders Street World Wine (Vic).
Yering Station Reserve Pinot Noir 2017, Yarra Valley, $130
This outstanding pinot has excellent depth of red-purple colour and masses of dark fruits, plum and cherry with vanilla and toasty oak nuances. Complex now and will become more so. Full-bodied and rich, with velvety, fleshy texture and great succulence. Screw-cap; 13.3 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 13 years.
Stockists include Langton's Fine Wine, yering.com and cellar door.