Over recent years I've held my reservations with Bannockburn Pinot Noir, however, the quality of Michael Glover's 2008 Chardonnay (94pts), in cohesion with an anonymous tip on this website, tells me 2008 might not be a bad time to revisit one of Australia's most decorated makers of pinot noir. After all, my opinions are only ever there to be changed.
After some of my more recent encounters with Bannockburn Pinot Noir, I was delighted to remove an exceptionally clean cork from the 2008 Stuart. Following that delight (and a spell in a decanter) came feelings of confusion and intrigue, as I edged my nose into an intense fragrance marked strongly by scents I could only describe as smoky and tinned corn-like. The corn note does integrate with time, allowing more orthodox pinot aromas of succulent red cherries and cranberry to come forward, with further suggestions of smoky bacon-like oak and a dumping of leaf litter. It's certainly more complex on the nose than it is rich or deep. Light, silky and airy, with a gentile movement, the palate presents herbal, sour-edged small red fruits up front, before revealing a smoky aspect that truly transforms its delivery of bright fruit to the back palate. Structurally, it's refreshingly acidic and quite welcoming, if somewhat lacking in aggressive intensity or chiselled definition, but once again, like the nose, I hold a question over the palate's depth. To think positively though, I must say it's undeniably complex and it just might improve with a touch more time.
O Much like the 2010 pinots of a certain Adelaide Hills producer, I can see the 2008 Stuart dividing opinion. It's undoubtedly complex, fragrant, textured and varietal, but it clearly lacks wow factor at its RRP for me. Drink 2013 to 2014.