2009 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Cowley" Pinot Noir Marlborough (Elsewhere $40)

SKU #1106767 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Slightly hazy medium red. Musky aromas of raspberry, coffee and smoke. Lush, silky and sweet, with velvety plum and earth flavors spreading out to saturate the palate. Seamless pinot with excellent depth and sweet tannins.  (10/2011)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Pale ruby colored, the 2009 Cowley Family Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir has ripe red cherry and raspberry aromas with some cloves, cinnamon stick, pepper and touch of mace. Medium bodied with just enough taut fruit, it offers medium level grainy tannins, crisp acid and a long finish. Drink it now to 2015.  (10/2011)

K&L Notes

This gorgeous vineyard is tucked into the hills at the very top of the Wairau Valley, so sensitively and meticulously managed by the team at Auntsfield. The fruit is hand-picked, 80% destemmed, transferred by gravity to tank. Ambient soak of 5-7 days, warm vineyard yeast fermentation, 27-28 day cuvaison. Natural, spring malolactic. Seventeen months on original lees in French barriques (5% new); bottled unfined and unfiltered. I love this block for the elegant, delicate, red fruit and spice character it delivers. Cranberry, plum skin, crushed herbs.

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/21/2014 | Send Email
In the past, I’ve had difficulty embracing Pinot Noir, but New Zealand Pinots have been blowing my mind; great structure, earth, and fruit while still being true to the varietal. The “Cowley” is no exception. Distinct rhubarb and ferrous characteristics, fresh red fruits, mid-palate acidity followed by good structure and tannins, this is a Pinot I can get on board with! New Zealand might just turn me into a Pinot lover.

Staff Image By: Jim Chanteloup | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/8/2013 | Send Email
The Cowley Pinot from PVV "sings" with black cherry, raspberry, clove, cedar, sandlewood, dried orange peel, earth, forest floor and a light meaty note.On the palate the wine is deftly balanced with ripe fine tannins and a fine length. If you haven't had the Pinot Noirs from Pyramid Valley Vineyards, this is a great introduction to their style.

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/9/2013 | Send Email
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This Pyramid Valley Growers Collection bottling comes from one of my favorite sites within the region of Marlborough. The Cowley vineyard is nestled into the hills rising away to the south of the Wairau plains that make up most of Marlborough’s wine country. Here on the north facing slopes the soils turn from alluvial gravel to mixes of clay and decomposed bed rock, glacial deposits and volcanic uplift. The site produces complex pinot of real depth and character. The 2009 bottling has quite a rich dark fruit edge that illustrates the ripeness of the vintage. A seductive silky wine showing crushed plums, and red berries mingling with some freshly ground spices. Very drinkable and crowd pleasing in style, whilst retaining that authentic vibrancy that Pyramid Valley wines have in abundance.

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.