2008 Hillinger Small Hill, Burgenland, Austria

Fifty percent Merlot, and twenty-five percent each of Pinot Noir and St. Laurent. I usually don’t list blend components, as I think varietals are over discussed – I usually like to give blends diplomatic immunity from such charges. But I want to point out that this blend gets my respect because they dare take conventional wisdom and toss it straight out the window. With all the plantations of the Merlot and Pinot across planet Earth, you have wonder why their juices are so rarely poured into into the same fermenter? Well perhaps we can canonize St. Laurent as the patron saint of forbidden fruit fraternization.


On the nose, you might guess Bordeaux. Red fruits are strong and power sniffing uncovers some green vine touches.


Gulp: Magic. The Merlot aspects, as expected, are fastest to manifest themselves. Ripe, generous berries opened up the show at full volume, the Pinot phase moved into more subtle territory. Subtle does not mean weak, the senses that the Merlot woke up basked in the Merlot after glow instead of being burnt out by the overexposure. In photography speak the St. Laurent acted as lens filter; cancelling glare and allowing the wide-open Merlot aperture to illuminate the fine details in the Pinot. St. Laurent will usually show a certain sour aspect, and with the almost nature of ripe Merlot, the grape type triple play develops in sharp focus.


And to come back to my discussion about the grape varietals, I think the 2008 Hillinger Small Hill is a wine that isn’t about the grape varieties, it is a product of a winemakers vision, and the varietals were just a means to an end. Good Stuff.


Musical Match: Canadian Band Imaginary Cities could confuse you if you wanted to fret over the contribution of each of their different sounds. If you are the analytic type; vocally, you can say the vocals are in the style of the British nouveau soul, Winehouse, Adele etc.  The musical sound is cross of contemporary FM rock and hipster, and the song writing could be attributed to influences like the Cure. Vocals = Merlot, Instrumental sound/ production = Pinot. Cure = St. Laurent. 2008 Hillinger Small Hill rocks!


Or you could just poor a glass for yourself and crank the tunes. I am in the second camp. How about you?


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