Wither Hills 2008 Pinot Noir is – to the critically-minded sip ‘n’ spit – a fine example of New World Pinot Noir, more concentrated than its old world brethren, more fruit-forward yet maintaining a finesse and lightness of foot and that signature racy acidity.
What takes the 08 Wither Hills to another level is one of the pairings to follow. Something that shouldn’t have been there, but landed on my palate like a fairytale freight train of magic and make believe. Disneyfied, you say? How about “Pinofied”!
We paired the Pinot with three very different foods – not all of them expected to perform to perfeciton, but to test the pairings. And the reactions.
First came the guacamole and tortilla chips, that staple of Tex Mex appies. Avocado works well with the citrus acids of limes, but when you’ve got all that mixed up to make some creamy, green goodness, a racy Pinot Noir like Wither Hills screams in the mouth. The guacamole brings out the pucker like a motherf— oh, never mind.
Up next was the grilled steak. The elegant and silky juice was no match for the brute force of a slab of red meat, but played along nicely in a second fiddle sort of way, not clashing with the harmony but on the inside, yearning to be… well, first fiddle, or at least equal parts in a menage-a-fiddles.
Third at the plate (literally) was a forest mushroom medley sauteed in cream sauce. It should be said that traditionally Pinot Noirs pair well with forest floor fungi, but what hit me was unexpected, a rush of toasty, chocolaty mocha that caffeinated sweet dreams are made of. And it lingered with such a long and silky finish that I was left stunned. I have seriously never experienced such an interesting result as Mushrooms + cream + Pinot Noir = mocha. This must be the Pinosity they talk about at Wither Hills. The magical moment a kid must feel meeting Mickey. Truly a magic moment.
About Wither Hills
Established in 1994, Wither Hills is named after the imposing Wither Hills ranges, a dramatic backdrop to their vineyards. The operation is located in the Wairau valley. This is in Marlborough, at the northeast tip of the South Island of New Zealand, and is the largest winemaking region, with around 110 wineries and over 12,000 hectares planted in grapes. The region produces about 79% of New Zealand’s's wine output.
Wither Hills 2008 Pinot Noir is from fruit from the Taylor River (directly behind the Wither Hills winery) and Benmorven (a 100% clay site tucked into the foothills of the Wither Hills range) vineyards.