Delta Pinot Noir 2010

by Alex Prichard on 24 June 2014



I think that this wine appeared on a Decanter list of wines. I’m no longer sure which one but I do love lists and so often with the Decanter lists they feature wines that are either unavailable here in Australia or so expensive that they might as well be unavailable.

This Delta Pinot Noir from New Zealand’s Marlborough region is widely available and comes in at about $25 a bottle. Delta is a relatively young winery – founded in 2000 – and it produces two Pinot Noirs (both available in Australia) as well as … a Sauvignon Blanc. The business is a joint venture between a Kiwi winemaker and an English wine distributor. In its short existence, the wines of Delta have been well reviewed.

As you may know, I don’t typically buy a lot of New Zealand wine, and I certainly can’t profess to be an expert on Marlborough Pinot Noir. I also find that the $20-$30 price point for Pinot is a really tough bracket. And not tough because there is so much competition but tough because I generally find it underwhelming. While I love discovering wines that over-deliver, I find this very rarely the case with cheaper Pinot and I suspect that because I expect disappointment, I find it.

So … how does the Delta Pinot Noir perform in the glass?

It is medium to pale in intensity and garnet in colour. The nose shows raspberry and strawberry, with a hint of smokiness and stalk and ever so slight spiciness.

The palate is very fruit forward (something very common with many ‘new world’ Pinot Noirs) and shows off red cherry much more than the berry fruit of the nose. There are some soft tannins providing structure and while there’s some good acidity, the flavour profile drops off quite quickly.

In this instance, disappointment is way too strong a word. This is a tidy wine which delivers very typical Pinot characteristics and does have some structure. Is $25 too much to pay for it? Well, if you are in the market for a Pinot then, no, it’s probably not – but can you find more exciting wines at the same (or even less) cost? Why, yes.

But would I be rushing out and buying it again? To be honest – no. In my overall wine world view, this doesn’t deliver at the price. I would be interested to try out Delta’s Hatters Hill Pinot – it’s almost exactly the same price but is the winery’s flagship wine.

Dan Murphy’s (online order).
13.2% abv.

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Kaesler The Bogan Shiraz 2007

by Alex Prichard on 17 June 2014



Reviews of expensive wines sometimes seem a dime a dozen. When you head to industry events, the big guns are always cracked out – which is fab, don’t get me wrong! – but at the same time not indicative of how most people really drink. And, sadly, it’s also not indicative of how I drink. In some ways, I wish money were no object when it came to wine, but actually I enjoy seeking out wines which over perform.

And this is some kind of justification for now writing about a wine which, if you head out to buy it, will be difficult to track down and will set you back around $50. Sorry for that.

Over the years, I’ve worked for quite a few different companies in my ‘proper’ job and the quality (or dearth) of Christmas gifts has always been an interesting insight into management pysche. One small company gave us all a whole case of wine one Christmas, one company gave us nothing, and one gave us this wine, a bottle of 2007 Kaesler ‘The Bogan’* Shiraz from the Barossa Valley.

Kaesler is a privately owned winery in the Barossa, and the first vines were planted in 1893. It releases wines in three ‘series’: Stonehorse, Estate and Limited Release. The Bogan falls under the Estate banner and its Shiraz grapes come, in part, from a vineyard over 100 years old. It’s a carefully crafted wine, built to age, and one that, at just seven years of age, you’d expect to be something of a baby.

And in the glass it looked like a baby: very intense and a deep, inky purple. The nose was pronounced, complex and showing slightly more development. Licorice and tar were first off the rank, backed up by blackberry, chocolate and tobacco and there was something ever so slightly green and stalky.

In the mouth we’re talking about a lot of black fruit – lots of blackberry, with anise, licorice and a hint of black pepper. Good acidity and tannins that are slightly grippy and chewy provide excellent structure and mean that you needn’t be in a hurry to drink any spare bottles you have lying around. While the alcohol is apparent it is not intrusive or particularly unbalanced and the wine has a lovely, complex length.

Yes, this is a delicious wine with a good future ahead of it. Would I rush out and pay $50 a bottle for it? I’m on the fence here, but I’m very grateful that there is another bottle in the cellar that I can revisit in a couple of years.

Corporate gift.
15.5% abv.

* For non-Australian readers, ‘bogan’ is Australian vernacular for an ‘uncouth or unsophisticated person’. ┬áIt is, naturally, derogatory.

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