Today we check out a 2008 pinot noir from New Zealand’s Marlborough area which costs around $26. I got this one as a free sample.
Astrolabe fills a nice niche: it has a cool name, a cool label, and it’s a pinot in the $25-30 price range. Thus, it is perfect to bring to a swanky party, or to deliver as a nice gift. That is, if it’s delicious.
Guess what? Astrolabe pinot is delicious. When I first tried it, I liked it instantly. The aroma is like roses, smoky spices and freshly dug soil — the deep, rich kind that never appears in your own garden without help from Home Depot. In your mouth, Astrolabe is medium-bodied, bright (actually it’s “bright!!”), spicy, minerally, rhubarby, and floral, with a hint of plumb but none of that cherry lozenge sweetness that is so common in California pinot noirs. And it’s not too minerally, as so many New Zealand pinot noirs seem to be.
And yet, while being complex, it also has a clean, almost healthy feel to it, which borders on flat-out awesome and makes me feel like I’m drinking wine from the future, where there is no pollution and everything sparkles with life-giving purity.
The next time you’re off to a classy party, or you want to give a nice gift, or you just want to enjoy a snappy, fresh pinot that will make you live to 100, this one needs serious consideration. Astrolabe pinot is highly: