Three Miners Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 Tasting Notes
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Three Miners Central Otago Pinot Noir 2004 Tasting Notes

The Central Otago area on New Zealand's South Island is the world's southernmost wine region, making news with its Pinot Noir (which represents 75% of the region's vines). Pinot Noir is a temperamental grape, Central Otago's cool climate can pose its problems, but when it all coincides, you get great wine.

True to Central Otago's reputation, the $30 Earnscleugh Valley Three Miners (that's only $10 a miner) shows intense red fruit: plum, raspberry and sour cherry. Behind the ripe fruit, if you ask it to move aside a moment, you find notes of black pepper, vanilla, cocoa, walnut, and bergamot. The wine has an excellent finish with firm integrated tannins. I decanted it for an initial two hours, felt it needed to open up a bit more, and profited by the additional two hour wait for dinner, at which the Three Miners excelled.

The fruit-forward Three Miners is unquestionably a New World wine, from a relatively new wine region, and should delight Pinot Noir lovers who are looking for new expressions of the grape. You will have to dig deep to find strains of the Côte d'Or in this Pinot Noir, but no matter; there's plenty of ore to go around in this particular mine.


Verdict: A Winner
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Most of New Zealand is unsuitable for wine grapes, but the Kiwis make up for this limitation with several ambitious wine pockets and a lot of energy.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

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