Partly out of perversity, I was on a Pinot kick while visiting Western Australia earlier this year. So, while driving around the Pemberton, Manjimup and Great Southern wine regions, I sought out as many examples as I could. Pemberton offered up plenty in this regard, with Pinot something of a regional speciality.
Pemberton’s a funny wine region; the vast, well-funded cellar doors of Margaret River are a long way away and the mix of local producers ranges from hobby to medium sized family. Larger wineries like Houghton have historically obtained grapes from Pemberton too, though the number of derelict and decommissioned vineyards I saw in the area suggests this may have recently changed.
Back to this wine, though, which is handsomely packaged in a bottle of sensible weight and represents Lost Lake’s entry level Pinot. The nose is utterly, screamingly varietal, with the lifted floral aromatics and bright red fruit of the variety at its most recognisable. There are edges of dark spice and undergrowth too, not loud enough to distract, but certainly adding some welcome complexity. Balanced, bright and attractive.
The palate is more challenging in that it feels quite extracted given the flavour profile of the fruit. Entry is light and bright, with good acid carrying fresh fruit onto the mid-palate. Here, tannin starts to emerge and the wine’s weight seems to grow. The after palate becomes quite savoury and textured, tannins again a primary feature. There’s decent extension through the back palate, though the fruit here seems less fresh and the flavour profile almost caramelised. It’s not at all unpleasant, but I miss the simplicity and vibrant freshness of the aroma and attack. I’d be interested to taste Lost Lake’s barrel selection, as some more fruit power and density could carry this sort of structure more easily.
Still, a very pleasant wine for not a lot of money.