De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Pinot Noir 2005

One of the many joys of wine is to revisit a label that, for whatever reason, sticks in the mind from a previous tasting. The experience is akin to renewing an acquaintance. Will there still be a dialogue, hopefully even more mature and satisfying? Or does elapsed time mean increased distance without corresponding fondness? It’s this unknown that creates a pleasant frisson of anticipation when I check a bottle out of the cellar for repeat tasting. This De Bortoli stood out from the pack when I worked my way through a range of new release Pinot Noirs a while back. I clicked with its assertiveness and sense of style, so promptly purchased a few for later consumption. Pale orange-red in the deceptively dilute Pinot manner. If a barnyard could slap one in the face, it would smell (and perhaps feel) like this wine’s nose. It’s willfully funky and expressive and all those good things that Pinot can be. Red fruit with a touch of musk is there but takes a back seat to all the sappy, savoury aromas that waft from the glass. It’s still very primary and high toned. As nice as the nose is, the light to medium bodied palate is a step up and shows unexpected structure and intensity. Sizzly yet fine acidity hits the tongue and spreads widely towards the middle palate. Although the acid is prominent and creates a bright flavour profile, it’s not a forbidding acidity, and the wine shows a contradictory relaxation in the mouth. Bright, sour red fruits, rhubarb, citrus peel, sappy vegetal characters, beguiling complexity, good flow and consistency of line. There’s a lot to like here. A delicious after palate whose fruit fades just as slightly grainy tannins and yet more acidity transform the finish into a primarily textural experience. This wine has hardly budged in the last year or so and, as mouthwatering as it is right now, should fill out with at least a couple of years in bottle. I’ll be eager to reacquaint myself with it again, and again.Update: three days of air, and the wine is only now starting to evolve. This one’s got years ahead of it. De BortoliPrice: $A25Closure: StelvinDate tasted: June 2008

3 thoughts on “De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Pinot Noir 2005

  1. Julian,

    Nice re design! I’m fond of the DeBortoli pinot as well, it’s always reliable and seems to be getting better with each passing year.

  2. Hey Edward,

    Thanks! It’s a little easier to read, I think.

    Yes, this wine is a good one, and stylistically it’s like a breath of fresh air compared to any number of more “correct” Pinots at the lower end of the price scale. It seems that “value” often equals “bland” in terms of winemaking, so to see De Bortoli taking a few risks in its mid-range Pinot is most gratifying.

    You’ve been tasting some rippers lately. The Giaconda Nantua looked especially interesting.


  3. It’s been a while since I last tasted this (years, in fact) and it’s shockingly unevolved, aside from the loss of the feral notes I mention above. It’s still bright, with clear fruit and clearer acid. I’ve tasted wines with greater intensity, but there’s a piercing quality to this wine’s character that compensates, in part, for its light touch. Not bad. Will leave the next taste for another couple of years.

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