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Featured Reviews

Mount Brown North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2017 – A Re-Look

21 May,2018
One of the pitfalls of reviewing and assessing young wines is that they change in character, and often quite quickly. However, in my job, it is imperative that I treat all wines the same at the time of tasting. With white wines I serve them when they have been chilled, almost as cold as a normal bar-fridge, to replicate how most consumers will come across the wine in a commercial situation. Then, as with the red wines, I follow how they change given some time in the glass with aeration. The wines may stay in the glass while I have a look at them for maybe an hour or so. I must say the for the vast majority of wines I taste, my initial impressions remain the basis for the final assessment, maybe with a little more detail added from the additional aeration.

Some suppliers ask me to look at wines after they have been decanted, or given time to grow after they have been opened, often up to a couple of days, especially if the wines are very youthful reds designed for cellaring. Clearly, I can’t make conduct some reviews doing that, as this would give these wines a possible advantage over other wines. In any case, the methodology must be identical for all samples.

However, I have no issue with re-looking at a wine some time later. I realise that by doing so, I can see and report the wine with the benefits of extra time in the bottle – the tasting process still the same. Hence, readers may see reviews of wines with multiple entries, with the date of tasting. Of course, not all wines improve given the extra time; generally they stay in a similar state to how I saw them originally with minor details different; and sometimes the wines can look poorer, though this is rare in younger wines.

The Mount Brown Pinot Noir 2017
Last month, I reviewed the Mount Brown Pinot Noir 2017. Coming from a generally challenging vintage, it didn’t surprise me to find a smaller-scale wine that was based on its perfumes, with some herbal expression and crisp acidity. I rated the wine at 16.5/20, a 3-Star. Mount Brown’s proprietor Catherine Keith wasn’t overly perturbed, as I believe she trusts my reviews are as honest as I can be. However, in talking to her winemaker Frank Manifold, he thought the wine one of the better Pinot Noirs he had made, and suggest that I look at the wine again. Much can change in a month. Here, I offer a re-look review of this wine. I must say that the wine seems on an upward climb, so even more time in the bottle may see further improvement – in my assessment, at least.



Mount Brown North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Dark ruby-red colour with some depth, a little garnet on the edge. The nose is gently full with aromas of dark-red berry and black cherry fruit entwined with subtle notes of dark herbs, unfolding dark-red and violet floral detail. The aromatics build in depth and intensity, but retain freshness. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant with bright and vibrant, seamlessly interwoven flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with an amalgam of dark herbs, and red and violet florals. The flavours form an elegantly concentrated heart with fine-grained, integrated tannins and softly fresh, lacy acidity lending tension and energy. The mouthfeel is smooth and the wine flows seamlessly, carrying and elegantly concentrated core and line to a lingering finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with good intensity of dark-red cherry and berry fruit, along with herb notes on a seamless palate. Match with tuna and salmon, and poultry and pork over the next 5+ years. Pinot Noir fruit fermented partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak barriques. 17.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $19.99

Moderately dark ruby-red colour with some depth. Lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is elegant and fresh, somewhat smaller in scale, with aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with lifted red florals, and subtle notes of fresh herbs. This possesses delicate perfumes. Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant in expression with fresh bright, light and straightforward flavours of red cherry fruit intermixed with aromatic red florals and fresh herbal notes. A little spice and liquorice emerges. The mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh acidity and supple, light tannins underline the fruit. The flavours carry to a light, zesty, mouthwatering finish. This is a light and fragrant Pinot Noir with lively red cherry fruit along with red florals and cool herbs on a brisk palate with a supple mouthfeel. Serve with antipasto and tapas, salmon and tuna over the next 2-3 years. Pinot Noir fruit, fermented partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 20% new French oak barriques. 16.5/20 Apr 2018 RRP $19.99

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