What will they think of next?

I mean really, Pinot Noir in Sicily? Yes I know they have mountains and all, but still, think of the sunshine.

But then, looking at their web page, they really are very high up, and it says it's a Vineyard of Cold Terrain, so that's all right then.

And the wine, Maurigi Terre di Ottavia Pinot Noir 02, is indeed excellent. Clean fresh raspberry juice, which still smells faintly of the flinty earth it comes from, and laced with aromas of the sweet oak which has held it for two years. At five years old it remains rather sharp, but in a way which nicely complements a dish of garlicky beans in olive oil. Excellent, 4+.


Petaluma Frostline

Two amazing rieslings, in hugely different styles: Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling 2006; and Jack & Knox Frostline Riesling 2004.

Petaluma is one of the leading producers of Eden Valley riesling, and this bottle was a great example. Intensely limey (both fruit and blossom) and quite weighty, verging on oily, it finishes with a big big hit of mineralic, kerosene, petrolly notes, despite being only eighteen months old. Superb.

The Frostline is an experimental bottling by South African innovators Bruce Jack and Graham Knox, using grapes from a vineyard at some 1200 metres above sea level. Here vitis vinifera struggles to ripen, but the resulting flavours are absolutely worth it. Light, delicate floral notes, fresh intense acidity, and great minerality in the finish, but without any of the petrol notes found in the Petaluma. Frostline seems to me to be much closer in style to Germany. I think we drank this one too young, so it wasn't quite up to the superb standard of the Petaluma, but still excellent.