My ever optimistic view on the state of things in Australia tells me there's been a noted improvement among Australia's $20-$30 pinot class in the last 5 years, but my fear of disappointment generally keeps me away from the $10-$20 class. A $16 (on discount) pinot like this one from Red Hill Estate is just the type of wine I would've been extremely wary of 5 years ago.
Loosely varietal and lean, the 2008 Red Hill Estate's thinly veiled fragrance of roast meats, cherry, sweet cedar oak and airy spice precedes a light-medium bodied, fluffy yet hollow palate marked by metallic edges. A certain degree of suppleness and red berry/cherry flavour benefits the palate, but it's also quite angular and its finish leaves the mouth with a lingering astringency and rawness.
X Although not a complete train wreck (thanks to the presence of some happily valid varietal elements), the 2008 Red Hill Estate does remind me why I usually want at least a twenty in my wallet when buying Australian pinot noir. Drink to 2011.