Review- Paringa Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2002


Although my experience of of the world’s finest Burgundies goes no further than my trip there in 2003, I understand Myles’ neurotic passion for his beloved Pinot! The ever-so-forgetable examples of Pinot I’ve consumed in the past 15 years well exceed the ethereal bottles of heaven I’ve had the pleasure to consume. Thankfully, this wine falls into the latter bracket.

Australian Pinot is often maligned for being too-anything. Too dark, too oaky, too short, too light, too simple, too…. you get the picture. Australian producers of this variety have done themselves no favours by releasing wines that should never have made it to market. Some examples of Australian Pinot should just have been released as dry red wine, or sold off to a large producer for blending, to save the heartache that comes with a failure to produce the holy grail of winemakers. I suspect that ego and cash flow are the main reasons behind the release of sub-standard Pinot, but neither reason is an acceptable excuse when alternative options exist.

Back to the Paringa Estate. You’ll note I said- wow! This wine has won a heap of awards, not least of which was the gong it got at the Sydney wine show. Unfortunatley, there were only two barriques of the wine made (aprox 50 cases). This Pinot is one of the best I’ve tried. The wine had a breath of freshly ground cinnamon over a bowl of strawberries and clotted cream. There were hints of sour cherry, stemminess and whiffs of mushroomy undergrowth. Bacon and smoke could also be found for those with patience and a keen nose. The texture was pure class! The tannins were fine and supple and the length of the wine just kept going and going.

Perhaps it was the char-grilled lamb rump with artichoke mash and wilted spinach I had with the wine? It could have been the fellow Pinotphiles or even the lateness of the evening. Whatever it was, this wine was amazing for its depth of flavour, intensity of fruit and beautifully balanced structure!

If you can get hold of this wine- snap it up! The (almost $100-) price tag makes it out of reach for many, but your search-and-spend mission is far more rewarding than much of the wine from Burgundy.



2 thoughts on “Review- Paringa Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2002

  1. This sounded pretty exciting until I read of the price tag. For close to $100 there is an awful lot of stellar burgundy to choose from – wines with track record.

    I find it hard to justify paying high prices for wines that may be flukes. And often these wines turn out to disappoint with age.

    New Zealand pinots get a lot of praise but I wouldn’t want to pay near to $100 (even $NZ) for any of them.

  2. Byron,

    I hope to improve my own knowledge of that evasive mistress, well-priced Burgundy. I don’t doubt your palate or experience in tasting stellar Burgundy, but I would suggest sampling the Paringa Estate and investigating its track record before calling it a fluke.

    Paringa Estate is highly regarded as a producer of top-class Australian Pinot Noir, among such esteemed names as Bass Phillip, Lenswood and Bannockburn. The Reserve is very difficult to come by, and it is this lack of availability that no doubt contributes to such a price tag (an argument used by Condrieu producers for decades!).

    I would happily pay the price if Burgundy regularly afforded the sort of experience I had with this wine. However, in light of the dearth of affordable Burgundy, $92- is a small price to pay for such a heavenly epicurial experience.


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