Monday, February 13, 2012

Updated Review: **** $$ Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir, Victoria, Australia, 2008 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background: Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir is a Victoria, Australia, based varietal selected from grapes of eight separate, cool-climate vineyards. Intriguing label.  The 2008 vintage is finished at 14.1% alcohol.

Original Tasting and Review, February, 2010:

In the glass: Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir shows as even ruby red in the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with no decant and swirled vigorously, this Aussie pinot noir sports deep oak tones wrapping its charcoal-broiled currant fruit.  

On the palate: The first element on the palate is a pinpoint, center-of-your-mouth lightly sweet ruby fruit, think red and black raspberry. That light sweetness radiates with easy acids across your palate, getting tucked in your cheeks for a long, long time. A bit of the darker overtones buttress the experience.

And the wrap-up: The finish is built of those squadrons of fruit tucked in your cheeks.  The memory of the sip is a long one indeed.  

In summary: Overall, a high-toned, multi-layered experience. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for those layers. For pinot noir, not a bad value at all.

Josh Raynolds of International Wine Center awarded 90 points, writing, "Vivid red. Sexy, highly perfumed bouquet of strawberry, raspberry, potpourri and minerals. Impressively pure, with fresh red berry flavors and seductive sweetness. The finish strongly echoes the raspberry note and leaves a tangy trail of minerals and flowers behind. A super value for pinot."

Following a four-day decant under vacuum in a partially-filled bottle:  The aromas are significantly more buoyant and dramatic, more fruity in their tones, with less charcoal.  Sweet ruby fruit still predominates on the palate, but the charcoal has eased into dustiness, bringing this to a full four stars, and making it a full-fledged best value.  The "best-value" status almost never happens with a pinot noir.  Kudos to Innocent Bystander!

Updated review, two years later, February, 2012:  Medium red throughout.   Soft, layered and perfumed red fruit.  Highly intriguing.  A sweet and furry mid-palate experience spreads into your cheeks, bringing vibrant red currant flavors to match the intriguing aromas.  Holding up extraordinarily well, now four years from vintage date. Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Fiery red aromas. Sweet, soft, furry and gentle red experience.

Find Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir prices and retail availability.

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