2013 Spy Valley Pinot Noir


Sorry it’s been awhile since I reviewed a wine. I’ve been drinking plenty of wine, but life has gotten so hectic that I haven’t had a chance to review any of my bottles until now. This wine is a Pinot Noir from New Zealand. I got it from SommSelect. I’ve recently been looking for new places to buy wine, since I moved away from my local wine shop and I hadn’t been happy with my online monthly wine club. SommSelect has been a great experience so far. It’s an online wine shop run by Ian Cauble, one of the guys from the movie Somm. (Side note, if you haven’t watched Somm yet, it’s a great movie and I highly recommend). I had heard of SommSelect’s monthly subscription, you can get six bottles a month for $200, but I live alone and can’t justify getting six bottles a month. I didn’t realize until a few months ago that you could buy wine from them outside of the monthly subscriptions. How it works is that they have a daily offer of one wine, and once it’s sold out, they don’t get it back in stock. They post a new wine every day, with tasting notes about it, and if you choose to let them hold your wine until you’ve bought 12 bottles, they ship for free. All the wine I’ve had from them so far has been great, and I’ll keep the shop in my regular rotation of where I buy wine.


Enough about where I bought the wine though, let’s get to the more important stuff. This is a Pinot Noir from Marlborough. Generally when I think of New Zealand wine, especially Marlborough, I think of Sauvignon Blanc. I absolutely love a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Red wine is not what people typically think of when they have wine from New Zealand. However, about a year and a half ago Erik and I were at a seafood restaurant in New York, and it was kind of a dreary summer day and we weren’t in the mood for a bottle of white, so we asked the sommelier to recommend a good red that would pair well with seafood, and he recommended a New Zealand Pinot Noir and we absolutely loved it. New Zealand Pinot Noir tends to be a more delicate Pinot Noir, more similar to a French Pinot Noir than a California one. It’s almost always a great value, since the region isn’t known for being a great Pinot Noir region, you can get excellent bottles for much less than the same quality wine from France or Italy. It’s typically grown in the cooler and more southern parts of New Zealand, which leads to that elegance and delicateness. Spy Valley winery is a family-run winery located near a spy base in the Waihopai Valley of Marlborough. For their Pinot Noir, Spy Valley follows a practice of thinning out the grapes on the vines, so that the ones that remain get the most nutrients from the soil and are a stronger embodiment of the land.

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I thought this wine was absolutely delicious. SommSelect recommended decanting it for half an hour before drinking, but I don’t have a decanter, so I let it sit in the bottle for about 20 minutes before pouring, and then I used an aerator for pouring. The first glass was good, but I could tell that the wine opened up more with the second glass, after I continued to let it sit. When I poured it I got strong notes of red fruit; raspberry and dark cherry, with delicate floral notes underneath and a hint of cedar on the back end. The wine tasted similar to how it smelled. The first glass was a bit more acidic, with the berry notes dominating and a bit of orange zest too, and the florals and cedar taking a backseat. The second glass tasted more balanced, complex and was somehow bold and delicate at the same time. The floral notes shown through more, tastes of violet and peony, and more minerality on the back end. I paired the wine with spaghetti carbonara, and it was delicious. I think the wine would also go well with grilled salmon or butternut squash risotto. I will definitely buy this wine again.

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Malinda SteebWineComment