Pinot Noir 1996

Jancis Robinson writes: ‘If Cabernet produces wines to appeal to the head, Pinots charms are decidedly more sensual and more transparent I would sum up fine red Burgundy or Pinot noir as wine which shows the hallmark succulent fruit, with tannic structure to give it form, depth and life while it matures. To be great it must also have the richness, the concentration and the potential to unfold as mature wine. I have no doubt that the Martinborough area will earn world renown for the quality of its fruit characters; but in my view, the challenge has been to transform the raw material into complete wines, i.e. wines which have structure (derived from fruit tannins), concentration and power (while not sacrificing the hedonistic qualities that the area so freely gives), and development potential. Thanks to a continued refinement of our viticultural and winemaking practices, the style of Dry River Pinot noirs since 1993 has demonstrated an evolving tannic structure accompanying increasing concentration of fruit.

This wine is stylistically within the ambit of the more intense Cote de Nuit wines such as Vosne-Romanee. It is not a wine for wimps, but neither has it sacrificed the elegance essential to fine Pinot noir. The fruit was thinned at veraison to levels of 1.4-2.2 T/acre, producing a wine with a very dense ruby colour; intense flavours of blackberries, and herbal and spicy notes; and constraining, firm but fine fruit tannins which nudge the wine towards elegance rather than too obvious weight. As a young wine this should not be drunk too cool to avoid the youthful tannins dominating the fruit (try at ca.17ºC). The track record of our previous Pinots shows that these fruit tannins soften noticeably within 1-2 years, and the fruit may be expected to begin to unfold from this time. It should continue to develop well for up to about 7 years, provided cellaring conditions are appropriate.

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Pinot Noir 1996