Wine vs Wine – July 2024



    2021 Hardys ‘HRB’ Pinot Noir 13.5%
    Bin D697. Tasmania/Yarra Valley RRP $35

    Pinot Noir can be a wholly seductive, sensual wine. Perfumed, yet with tactile excitement – and majestic magic with the right foods. Yet too often, Pinot Noir frustrates – delivering a weedy thin, or nondescript over-oaked dry red with no sense of place or variety – that also underdelivers for budget. Burgundy is the minefield for thrills surrounded by expensive disappointments.

    Transferring the right grapes from the right place safely into bottle is a winemaking puzzle with many tweaks and sulks in the process. Clones? Stalks? Oak regime? Where is the sweet spot to match quality with value for the consumer?

    I was delighted with the value equation here, and surprised it emerged from a ‘big’ company. It’s well worth seeking out (for much less than RRP)!

    While the colour is varietally pale, it rewards with fragrant dark cherry, wild strawberry, rhubarb, spices, varietal sappiness, and all-around ‘Pinosity.’ Approachable, with texture that is rich and silky but still amazingly fresh and crisp, demanding a further sip. Celebrate its exuberance, but I’m sure it will hold its form for five years.

    Match? Duck is marvellous in its many styles (or quail).
    Chicken is a handy backup, ditto ham, pork spare-ribs, turkey, mushroom risotto – even tuna steak. Go!


    Warramunda Estate Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2023
    RRP $60, ABV 13%

    Warramunda Estate is situated in the ever popular and touristy Coldstream; a must see quaint little town on your next jaunt throughout the Yarra Valley. Their Cabernets and Syrah are unsung heroes of their range but for now, the focus is on their 2023 Estate Pinot Noir. A delicate balance is struck here between edgy briary, snapped twig, earth and leafy herbs but also plenty of macerated strawberry, fresh picked mulberry and an unmistakable rhubarb note. As I sipped my way through a good couple of glasses of this, I experienced each of the aforementioned notes each time I dipped my nose in the just swirled glass. It’s so complex and offers a tension between the sweet, savoury and acidic with centimetre precision. In colour, it appears light bodied which may give the false presumption that there might not be much behind this wine. But looks can deceive the eye. Persevere and you’ll be rewarded. Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to grow, make and produce and I feel its price tag is genuinely good value. You’ll find even better value throughout their range but I’d recommend setting the bar high and starting with this. Gorgeous Yarra Valley Pinot Noir.

    Pair with: Duck ragu ravioli in a burnt butter, orange zest and sage sauce topped with grana padano.

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