Diagonal Debate #3: Pinot Noir

As 2019 draws to a close, the Walkabout Crew decided it was time to revisit Pinot Noir as a variety and decide which was our favourite. We went back through our notes (and our cellars) and brought three finalists to a final tasting: Lucky Duck 2018 from Puddleduck vineyards in Tasmania, Black Spur 2016 from Boat O’ Craigo in the Yarra Valley and Phaedrus Estate 2016 Reserve from the Mornington Peninsula.

The three wines were all tasted with food (a mixed antipasto platter if it matters) from Riedel varietal glasses and were scored by all present members before a discussion took place. It is interesting to note that the final verdict was actually unanimous, not only for the winner, but on the overall ranking.

If price is not a consideration, all members gave the first prize to Phaedrus Estate Reserve Pinot Noir (this is limited to 1500 bottles per year and with large export markets, getting to the cellar door at bottling time is highly recommended). The price is still quite reasonable for such a wine, but when price is a consideration, we all agreed that the Boat O’ Craigo 2016 Pinot Noir was the overall winner. At $30 per bottle, this is amazing value for money!

We should note at this point that the 2016 Boat O Craigo Pinot Noir is not available any more for purchase. It sold out very quickly. The 2017 and subsequent vintages have been excellent, but the 2016 remains something of a white whale to wine collectors (we thought it best to save a few bottles, but have otherwise been sharing our small collection of the 2016 we bought at the cellar door on release).

The Lucky Duck was an excellent wine, darker and heavier than the others, but it was not as long in the palate as the other two on taste and despite being given a very good score, we all thought it was not up to the standard of our other two finalists.

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