The cool, elevated slopes of southern NSW's Tumbarumba region have already accounted for some particularly fine expressions of chardonnay and sparkling wine, but what about that other essential sparkling wine grape, pinot noir? For $15, Westend's Cool Climate Series Pinot Noir makes an affordable excuse to see what the style is all about.
Lean and thin like a supermodel's legs yet still attractive to sniff within its context (!), Westend's Tumbarumba sourced pinot noir reveals a simple, somewhat confected yet valid aroma of musky cherries, with soft, airy scents of fluffy herbs/mint and white pepper lifting its varietal definition well into recognition. The palate flows with a lean accent of what tastes like diluted fruit, bound by faint, stringy, slightly sappy edges and a rustic, cured/aged meat-like aftertaste, but really, this wine's all about feel, simplicity, form and function, all of which receive big ticks for a sub-$15 pinot. Its suppleness, texture and unforced movement succeed where many of its rivals fail, so if it's a cheap, genuine pinot noir you're after, then you could do a lot worse than this fine example from NSW (of all places!).
ü+ Whether or not Tumbarumba is cut out for world class pinot noir I can't say, but I can say Westend's 2010 Cool Climate Series is a wonderfully correct, textural driven pinot noir that's as tidy as anything Australia has to offer within its price bracket. Good stuff. Drink to 2013.