Mon 16 Nov 2009
The Jackson Estate “Vintage Widow” Pinot Noir 2008, from New Zealand’s Marlborough Region, is more expensive than the typical Wine of the Week, but it’s the wine I was most excited about (under $30) over the past few days, so here it is. The Jackson Estate is owned by John Stichburg, the fifth generation of his family to farm the same land along the Wairau River. He planted vines in 1987 and produced the first wines in 1991. The property has no connection with Jess Jackson’s Jackson Family Wines in California.
Great pinot noir wines embody certain qualities: a combination of delicacy, elegance and power; a satiny texture balanced with acidity that plows the palate the way a keel parts the waves; red and black fruit flavors that ride atop a clean, rooty earthy factor. Whatever the inevitable regional variations inherent in the vineyards of the Cote de Nuits, the Santa Lucia Highlands or the Willamette Valley, or in Marlborough or Central Otago in New Zealand, these are the elements that prevail, and the Jackson Estate “Vintage Widow” Pinot Noir 2008 has them in spades.
The color is a dark but almost translucent purple with a blue shimmer at the rim; a bouquet of cranberry, mulberry and smoky black cherry unfolds strata of cloves and allspice and mossy earthiness. With a texture that drapes the mouth like satin — but lightly, sensitively! — the wine offers lovely heft and suppleness, enlivened by blade-like acidity. Black cherry and plum flavors are imbued with soft chalky minerality that leads to a long, subtly spicy finish. One of the most elegant and expressive pinot noirs I have tasted. Winemaker for Jackson Estate is Mike Paterson. Excellent. About $32.
Imported by Avanti Fine Wine Selections, Lafayette, Cal.