Let’s face it: Australia isn’t famous for elegant wines. After having tasted far too many “Parkerized” wines, I have developed, as a consequence, little appreciation either for shiraz (in the Australian sense of the grape) or for the esteemed and all influential Robert Parker, Jr. Sometimes I wonder if he eats nothing but BBQ. I can imagine Bob, fingers all sticky with barbecue sauce, washing down spicy pork ribs with copious quantities of inky shiraz as he pens his famed Wine Advocate to catapult another fruit-driven tooth-stainer to stardom. Yes, BBQ is good from time to time but too big a match for pinot noir of the style I prefer. I think Yarra Valley is on to something: Sticks Pinot Noir got me excited.
Sticks 2003 Pinot Noir was medium in extract, presenting a lean mouthfeel tart from excellent acidity. This pinot offered considerable depth of fruit character with generous soft tannin, remaining lean while finishing long. Tart cherry, cranberry, rhubarb and plum flavors contributed enormous complexity to the fruit character of this wine. I was especially taken with a lime/orange peel quality I don’t normally associate with pinot noir. The oak here used offered Indian spice and cinnamon to the nose and complimented the fruit extract with warmth and richness. With its generous and quenching acidity, Sticks Pinot Noir proved a worthy companion to the dinner table. This was a surprisingly good and interesting wine.
In the end, 2003 Sticks Pinot Noir was fruit driven but very pleasant. This pinot noir from “Down Under” will never be mistaken for Burgundy, as it offers no forest-floor, leather or earth, but rewards with great complexity of fruit and is very well made. Highly recommended and an excellent value!