12,000 Miles Pinot Noir, Gladstone Vineyards, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2014

12000 Miles Pinot Noir.jpg
12000 Miles Pinot Noir.jpg
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12,000 Miles Pinot Noir, Gladstone Vineyards, Wairarapa, New Zealand 2014

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This is without doubt, one of the most over-performing red wines in our troupe. Ready to drink, supple, pretty, everything that a Kiwi Pinot Noir should be, and at a ridiculously good price. 

There’s a look that comes over someone’s face when they taste a good Pinot Noir and it’s a cross between a smile and a frown. The smile is triggered deep within the limbic system and is an autonomic reaction to the pleasure stimulated by Pinot Noir’s unique aromas and flavours. The frown is triggered by the conscious brain’s inability to describe those very same aromas and flavours! It’s infuriating, because it’s so familiar, it’s literally and figuratively on the tip of your tongue, yet it escapes definition. You’ll often see wine writers pompously describing Pinot Noir’s magical “je ne sais quoi”, as if that somehow mitigates their linguistic shortcomings. I concede it’s not easy, but that is Pinot Noir’s charm, it’s beguiling and mysterious and it isn’t called the ‘heartbreaker grape’ for nothing. It’s a wine for shadow-chasers, for fog-knitters and for cat-herders. Enter ye not box-tickers and bean-counters, for this is the kingdom of the starry-eyed dreamer. All of this, as you may have deduced, is a long-winded attempt to justify my own inability to do this wine justice.

Pinot Noir’s aromatic DNA is vividly present here, a soft perfume that I associate with a punnet of strawberries that has felt the warmth of the sun, a little earthiness too, not so much prize-winning strawberries, as ones that are a bit misshapen and have a little mud in their folds and creases. Wet hedgerow too and rain on terracotta, that earthiness again, but with sweet, finger-staining red and purple berries all the while. Cherries too, of course, it wouldn’t be Pinot Noir without that old chestnut. Chestnuts? Maybe a hint. It feels comfortable on the palate, a wine at ease with itself, but it doesn’t wander in and make itself at home like a full-bodied, couch-potato of a wine, it’s lively and alert, busy almost, throwing scatter-cushions to ‘brighten up the place’ before moving on (the colour scheme is rosehip and rhubarb). And a little swing of the thurible on the way out? As I said, it’s hard to be precise, there’s an elusive “I don’t know what” to the flavours, but I am certain you will be so captivated by it that it will put a frown on your face. 14% alc. Drink now-2020.

12,000 Miles
It’s called 12,000 Miles Pinot Noir because that’s the distance between the winemaker’s birthplace in Scotland and the vineyard site in New Zealand. It comes from Wairarapa on New Zealand’s North Island, close to Martinborough, and the label is designed to look like a luggage tag, representing the winemaker’s 12,000 mile journey.

Press reviews:

Jancis Robinson: "Mushrooms, truffle and compost and lots of brilliant red tarty-sharp fruit. A rub of tannins. Not overly complex but it’s certainly very drinkable! Drink now-2019. (TC)." 16 points and 'Good Value'

Bob Campbell MW: "Ripe Pinot Noir with black-fleshed plum, black cherry, spice, anise and nutty oak flavours. A flavoursome and appealing wine, with good varietal character and a structure of fine ripe tannins that promote a drying finish." 92 points

The WIne Orbit: "Immediately appealing on the nose showing dark cherry, plum, cedar and mixed spice characters, which lead to a succulent palate that is beautifully fruited and rounded. The wine is silky, flavoursome and highly enjoyable, offering lovely fruit richness combined with subtle savoury complexity. At its best: now to 2019." 91 points

Raymond Chan: "A fresh, firm and tightly bound nose with moderately concentrated aromas of dark raspberries along with subtle notes of dark herbs, a suggestion of minerally reduction that adds to the interest. Liquorice element emerge with aeration.  Medium-bodied, the fruit is plush and juicy, though slightly reserved in aromatic expression, showing flavours of dark red berry fruit harmoniously melded with nuances of dark herbs.  The mouthfeel is well-proportion with weight, a rounded core and balanced extraction, the fruit sweetness prevalent, unfolding herb and liquorice elements.  The wine carries to a dry, lingering finish of raspberries and liquorice.  This is a moderately rich and juicy Pinot Noir with a plush core, plenty of presence and structural balance." 17 out of 20 points

Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2015: "Distinctive bouquet of wild red berry fruit, the dried herb scents of the forest ; silty soil layer and moderate+ oak, youthful, fresh with moderate concentration. On the palate – fresh, fleshy, juicy and fruity with flavours of red cherry and red plum, mild to moderate tannins – quite fine; medium+ acidity and oak, balanced and well made overall. Drink now and through 2019." Silver Medal

Customer comments:

"Just tried the Pinot Noir – exceptional!" - Mr A.S.

It is gorgeous. We opened a more expensive bottle of red, tasted it, froze it to use for cooking and set off on the 12,000 Miles again." - Mrs. J.T. 

"Just wanted to let you know that the 12,000 miles was a great success, so thanks for the recommendation! " - Mr N.H.

"I gave a bottle to a co-religionist who provides the Parish lunches, and he consumed it on Sunday evening with such pleasure that St Thomas Aquinas's proofs of God's existence were rendered entirely redundant" - Mr S.H.

Just want to say how good this Pinot is. Opened a bottle on Monday and finished it tonight. Really good tonight.  Served very cool in proper burgundy glasses. Amazing value." - Mr. R.H.


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