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edited by Sue Courtney
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Wine of the Week for week ending 26 August 2001
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Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2000
Central Otago, New Zealand

New Zealand Pinot Noir is again making an impact on the International stage. Recent wine shows, which evidently hold some prestige, awarded accolades to our pinot wines.

First of all the International Wine and Spirit Competition awarded a trophy to the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, the 3rd time the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir has been awarded this prestigious trophy ahead of all comers including wines from Burgundy.

Then the Gibbston Valley Reserve Pinot Noir collected a gold medal and a trophy at the Japan International Wine Challenge in Tokyo.

And now we wait to see if a New Zealand wine will win the London International Wine Challenge trophy for the Best Pinot Noir. Three are in the running - the Matariki Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 1999, the Gibbston Valley Central Otago Reserve Pinot Noir 1999 and the Gibbston Valley Central Otago Reserve Pinot Noir 2000.

Grant Taylor from Gibbston Valley is going to England to attend the awards dinner on September 5th - now that's a long way to go if one is only going to pick up a gold medal. So perhaps this means trophy success for one of the Gibbston Valley wines?

Gibbston Valley label I've tasted the Gibbston Valley pinots and they are indeed superb, but I wonder if the baby brother to the reserve wines, the 'standard' Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir from the 2000 vintage, was in the competition.

The wine was deliciously impressive when I opened it and tasted it over the course of several days.

First of all the colour was a simply gorgeous, dense, but not opaque, bright carmine and ruby pink.

Then the aromas titillated the senses, with its sexy, musky, floral and herb, wood influenced cherry scents.

And the taste lived up to every expectation after the excitement of the foreplay. Sensuously smooth with the flavour of marinated spiced cherries, pinot-macerated strawberries, cinnamon, savoury, purple fruits, violet flowers, mulled citrus, thyme-like herbs and a woody influence.

Now, several days later I'm finishing the wine as I type this review. The fruit has become mellow and integrated with the savoury oak, while the musky character lingers on the finish with a citrus lift on the sweet, ripe, finish.

This wine has a good potential for cellaring but is so delicious to drink now, especially in a big, Burgundy-style glass.

Checking the back label of the bottle, I see the wine has come from a selection of Central Otago vineyards from which the fruit was fermented separately and aged individually for 11 months in French oak barrels. It says "complex, multi-layered Pinot Noir" and I agree.

Released on August 1st, the wine should be available in all good retail stores. Its recommended retail is NZ$37-$40.

Link to the Gibbston Valley website for more about the winery and their unique attraction, the underground caves.


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E-mail me: winetaster@clear.net.nz