I usually avoid cutting-edge-hip-flavour-of-the-moment winemakers. No real reason. It’s the same with cutting-edge-hip-flavour-of-the-moment bands. The more the band is hyped, the less interested I am. But occasionally, very occasionally, the latest hot band will either sneak up or be thrust upon me, and in an unguarded moment I’ll be reluctantly impressed and revel in the talent, originality and style of said hyped band. It can happen with wine too.
But first, let’s look at the detail. A very light brick red colour greets, even slightly browning – deceptive as it turns out. Initial hit of fairy floss and mallow, but quickly turns to savoury, meaty aromas. To be precise, rare lamb resting in its juices; a touch of rosemary, bay leaf, basil and black olive. Tomato stalky, yes, tomato saucy, yes. Smoky bacon and stuffed red pepper... yes. There’s still a lovely fragrant bouquet of perfume and sweet redcurrant fighting against all the savoury elements, and this aspect was highlighted as we tucked into our pork chops and apple sauce.
The palate is even from start to finish; texturally fine, creamy... flavours of redcurrant, strawberry, spicy orange rind, plum and maraschino cherry – perhaps a little stalkiness – but essentially displaying the purist of pure pinosity. With the food the sweetness was emphasised further, yet still retaining the attractive meaty, gamey savouriness of the pre-dinner tasting. There was tight acid, there was restraint, and there was power.
This is good. It is equal parts simple, stylish and sexy. Seductive and supple. How can I explain? It shows no outward sign of greatness; it doesn’t smack you immediately in the face; it’s not the hottest-looking girl in the room – it’s the wine that gets under your guard slowly until it holds your complete attention – it’s intelligent, charming and resourceful. It's got 'it'. And it won me.
Value: Fifty five big buckeroos will get you this wine. Wow, it’s up there. I guess I’ll just say it’s a worthy wine if you think $55 is not a lot of money.
Tasted: April 2011
Producer: Mac Forbes – www.macforbes.com – one of the newish cultish producers crossing this fair land.
Region: Woori Yallock, south-eastern Yarra Valley, Victoria.
Vintage: Early budburst, wet December, warm vintage culminating in a heatwave in March, but most of the pinot was already picked by then. A good year despite challenges.