Nautilus Pinot Noir Marlborough 2007, New Zealand

The 2007 Pinot Noir from Nautilus wines is a fresh and juicy example of what New Zealand can produce. It smells like a Pinot should, with some muted herb thrown in. Not a tannic wine, the taste is a fresh and wet concoction of cherry and berry compote with herbes-de-provence accents. Tasted blind I might have guessed that it came from eastern Europe or North America’s Pacific North West.

New Zealand successfully branded Sauvignon Blanc as their own, and are now mulling over a pitched battle for Pinot Noir dominance. They had best use some of their legendary Rugby know-how to do so, because they are up against some established heavyweights who are not willing to give an inch in any scrum. The 2007 Nautilus Pinot Noir from Marlborough might play a role in getting them there. In Rugby each team has two units, the forwards who do all the dirty work, and the backs who get all the glory. Between them is the scrum half. His job is to bravely reach into the pack, quickly pull out the ball and distribute the ball to one of the backs, before he gets clobbered. Right now, New Zealand wine is in the pack with hordes of Pinot Noir producing countries and regions. They need one Pinot Noir to stand-out and transfer the ball to crafty and imaginative hands and let the world see what defines NZ Pinot Noirs, and Nautilus might just have that wine. Justifiably a mid price-point wine, it shows quality crafting, juiciness that we come to expect from New Zealand (the Sauvignon Blanc expectation) and respect for what a good Pinot Noir should be.

Music Match: Grover Washington Junior had a very successful jazz career that he cultivated through the 70′s, but around 1980 he crossed over into the world of pop music. Tunes like “Just the Two of Us” were incredible hits then, and still getting daily airplay. I have picked his truer-to-jazz single “Mister Magic.” Fresh and seductive, charming and smooth describe the song as aptly as the wine. Light some candles, get out the bear skin rug and enjoy.

Leave a comment and me know what wine you would match with this music.

Part 3/5 in the 2010 BottleDJ Fall Classic Focus on New Zealand.

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