On the day we had many unforgettable moments. One that will never be forgotten by me was when Lindsay McCall arrived with one of the guest's. For those of you who don't know who Lindsay is, just think Paringa Estate Pinot Noir. "School teacher-turned winemaker Lindsay McCall has an “absolutely exceptional gift for winemaking” according to James Halliday, who says his wines are of “the highest quality, with a distinguished pedigree” that is Lindsay McCall quite a bit of praise from indisputably Australia's more decorated Pinotfile.
This is when the real fun began. With pallet's perfectly primed, we headed down to the host's extensive wine cellar where some of the giants of Australian wine were settled asleep ready to be opened.
We decided to put Lindsay's 2003 Pinot Noir up against one of the original icon's of the Peninsula Nat White's Main Ridge Estate.
A little bit of trivia for you, when Lindsay decided he wanted to set up a vineyard on his Red Hill property he went to see Nat about vine. What he actually did was to fill his car with the cutting from Nat's already established property. Lindsay with his school teacher mentality decided to plant as many cuttings as close together as he could, thinking that surely less that half (if he was lucky) would take. Well he as very very lucky and greater that 80% of the vineyard took.
Main Ridge Estate The Acre Vs Paringa "Original Estate" (not to be confused with the cheaper estate wine he out out in 2005) so with one of the creator's in the room we decided to put the wines head to head. I have always thought that some of Lindsay's wines are over priced compared with some of the other premium Pinot's out there. The Depth that The Acre showed was promising for what 2003 could show in years to come. Loosing none of its fruit The Acre showed that perfect acid/tannin/fruit balance that makes Pinot so seductive. Show a Strong Deep colour, the palate was layered with lashing of dark plum fruit which had that never ending yellow brick road length. There was great oak integration and I nose that kept developing the more you paid attention to it. When weighing it up against the Paringa the Acre had much better colour with the Paringa looking a little aged around the rim with a touch of yellow creeping in. That however is where the fault's stopped and the genius began. I was quite keen to put Lindsay through the ringer a bit and try to pick a few faults out of this beloved Estate wine. However myself and several others in the room were incapable of finding any. The Paringa showed a beautifully fragrant nose with soft up front fruit, the aroma of violets, game, cherry and the ever present spine & anise. Showing only that intelligent that only Pinot can show from the nose. With the Silky red fruit on your palate giving the perfect balance of dark fruit and spice seducing the mouth with that soft yet big round mouth feel that only amazing Pinot's can deliver. The depth and length of palate was so enjoyable that we decide that one bottle wasn't quite enough.
It was quite clear which wine stood out, however knowing the origins of the vines it does prove that terror and the hand of god (or the wine maker or both) can change the end product.
Hopefully I'll get a few more review from that night up soon.