Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a lipsmacking New Zealand pinot noir to put you in the mood for spring
Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2017
Regular readers will probably know about The Gloss Wine Dinner Series which we’ve been running at the Merrion Hotel for well over a decade. (Our pre-Christmas dinner was the thirtieth wine evening we have held there. The next will be on May 29: see details below.) Earlier this month, our first wine event outside Dublin was a sparkling success at Dromoland Castle in Co Clare – and this yummy Pinot Noir was one of the wines that guests particularly enjoyed.
It comes from Martinborough, a captivating little wine region at the south of New Zealand’s north island which is less well known than the south island’s vast, sprawling Marlborough or trendy Central Otago close to the Southern Alps. It shouldn’t be. Martinborough Pinots are outstanding. In one mouthful the best of them explain why so many people find red Burgundy austere compared to softer, silkier New Zealand Pinot Noir.
From the Escarpment estate set up by well-known winemaker Larry McKenna (nicknamed Larry McPinot), The Edge oozes fruity charm. Aromas of red cherries, plums and raspberries waft from the glass. The texture is super-smooth and there’s enough juicy acidity to make you want to keep sipping – an aspect for which we apparently have the gravel terraces on which the vines are grown to thank.
For an extra tenner, the Escarpment Estate Pinot Noir offers extra depth and structure but I think this younger, simpler wine combines perfumed allure with pretty cracking value. (NZ Pinots can cost a bomb.) It’s enjoyable by itself or with food. You won’t go far astray with chicken, duck, pork, cold meats or middleweight vegetarian dishes; even panfried salmon or tuna will taste all the better in its company.
Buy a few bottles now and enjoy them over the next six months as the weather thaws out. This is exactly the kind of red to serve slightly cool in summer – even if that may still seem like a far-off dream.
From and Searsons, Monkstown, €19.95.
New European Elegance with Edge is the theme of the next Gloss Wine Dinner at The Merrion Hotel, on Wednesday May 29. The evening will include a sparkling apéritif and five other delicious wines, each carefully matched with an exquisite dish. Full details will appear in the April issue of The Gloss. To book, call 01 275 5130.
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