When we come across wines that surprise us, the natural urge is to share – when people do that with me it gets written about (only if I like it too!).
When a friend says to you that they loved a wine you sit up and listen more than you would to any advert. My good friend Nick went on a last hurrah with his lovely wife recently before the birth of their first child and they treated themselves to some upmarket (five star no less!) accommodation – at a winery! (I am assured that Nick did all the drinking!)
They stayed at Milcrest Estate in Nelson, a small family-owned winery and vineyard owned by Terry Milton and Christine Cook.
From their room, which of course looked out over the vineyard, they trotted down to the tasting room and sampled the whole range of wines accompanied by the cheese board. They bought several bottles, with a particular penchant for the pinot. Very kindly, Nick gave me a bottle to see what I thought – I only write abut wines I like so it passed!
Milcrest Estate Pinot Noir 2010
Pinot noir never ceases to amaze. You may fancy a glass of something a bit special, so from your eclectic wine collection, you grab that bottle of estate grown pinot from the winery you visited, safe in the knowledge that you loved the wine so much that you brought some home – and now here it is, complete with memories of your holiday.
Expectations are always that bit higher for pinot, yet it still manages that element of surprise every time, eliciting a contented groan and at the same time the raised eyebrow and little spark of excitement in your tummy when you come across a good’un.
I like to share wines that are not mainstream – dare to be different! This is a wine bursting with character and uniqueness from a place called Hope!
Located at the base of the Richmond Ranges, Hope is a little town in Nelson. The maritime climate and loads of sunshine are great for pinot noir. Soils are mainly clays. At Milcrest Estate they grow several varieties, including syrah, montepulciano, chardonnay and my own weakness – gewürztraminer.
Nelson produces some stunning wines and at very reasonable prices. The first time I ever bought a whole case of wine from one winery was from Seifried winery back in 2002. I remember I couldn’t pick one or two bottles because the whole range was good, so selected a dozen and had it shipped back to Wellington. Life is too short to procrastinate over good wine – if it’s good get it!
This pinot was clearly the result of a long growing season and good sunshine hours – the fruit was full and intense and the colour a dark brooding cherry red. The nose was a generous combination of savoury earthiness with a touch of sweetness and spice, and brambles – reading that the winery was on the site of an old boysenberry farm seemed appropriate!
I expected a savoury palate but was also pleasantly surprised by the burst of dark berry fruits, and damson plums, full mouth feel and mouth-watering juiciness that reminded me of old fashioned wine gums. The tannins from 11 months in French oak are soft and come through to slowly dry the palate with a mixture of undertones of damson and leather and cleansing acidity settling into a long finish. The following night it had softened further and the leather was luxurious on the palate, the fruit soft and generous.
It was a very easy drinking wine, with the lovely fruit balancing with the earthiness and long dry finish, a perfect accompaniment to my lamb chops with rosemary. Easy yet classy and different. Divine drinking now and in perfect balance.
Thanks to my friend Nick for his generous donation! Not just the wine but the sharing. I shall return the favour – and I know just the pinot – watch this space!
Milcrest Estate pinot noir 2010
Gold Medal, NZ International Wine Show, October 2011.