I've been thoroughly enjoying Tamar Ridge's Kayena Pinot Noir over the last few years, as its value and true varietal quality have seen it become the go-to cheap pinot at my place on many occasions. However, even I was a bit surprised when the 2009 won the Best Pinot Noir Trophy at the 2011 Sydney Wine Show, furthering the reputation of a wine which had already been awarded 96pts by James Halliday. Rest assured, my hopes have been riding high on this one.
Although not entirely complex, the 2009 Kayena Vineyard is a beautifully fragrant, genuinely affordable north Tasmanian pinot noir of some class. It reveals more spicy, clove-like, stalky aromas than its predecessors, which give the wine a more savoury edge, in addition to lifting and defining its nose with perfumed appeal. There's also a clean influence of oak, which might be a touch spicy too, as well as a fruit fragrance that sits right in the dark cherry/cute strawberry spectrum. Texturally, it's velvety and succulent yet proudly medium-bodied, as it's just so smooth, supple and seamless in an easy to understand manner. Its slightly sweet dark cherry and strawberry flavours are joined by secondary nuances of stalk and sap, leading into a rather chewy pinot structure laced with a brisk movement of ultra-fine tannin. If you read the presses you might want more, but if you sit down and enjoy it with friends your wallet won't be complaining.
ü+ Not the show stopper my ambitions hoped for, but I'm still loving this label for its consistent value. With hindsight, I can see another 12 months of empty Tamar Ridge bottles at my place. Now, where's that pâté? Drink to 2016.