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Sunday, January 23, 2011

R Wines Permutations Pinot Noir

So many times I’ve wanted to try an Australian Pinot Noir – I’ve tasted so many Australian wines and have my favorites of course (but that’s an entry for another day), but I’ve heard time and time again that the Pinots from the wine regions of Victoria are to die for, particularly those from Yarra Valley.

I’ve had a difficult time finding Australian Pinot in restaurants but I was surprised at the scarcity of Australian Pinots even in wine shops, but this weekend during a shopping spree at Hamlet Wines nearby, I picked up a California Chardonnay, a Barolo, and finally an Australian Pinot.  I considered myself lucky since there were only two to choose from and one I’ve never heard of.

The wine I chose was the 2008 R Wines Permutations Pinot Noir from Victoria to pair with my dinner – a shell steak topped with gorgonzola sauce and chives and accompanied by sautéed Portobello mushrooms (I did add a bit of the Pinot to the pan).  The Pinot was different from the others I’ve tasted before, probably due to the fact that it’s from Australia, and the Pinots I’ve tasted are from Long Island, California, Oregon, Chile, and of course Burgundy.  I poured the wine and immediately the color was very indicative of the grape type – a rusty red with a lighter rim – but after catching the aroma and taking the first sip, I decided to let it breathe a while.  And it changed quite a bit after about 40 minutes; it opened up nicely, displaying aromas of red fruits, berries, and cherries, some herbs, pepper, and spice, and flavors of fruit with a hint of spice.  The finish was nice, especially after the wine was let to breathe for some time.  What was interesting and unique about this Pinot is that it had the characteristics of warm sunlight – usually the Pinots I’ve tasted have had a coolness about them, but Permutations was warmer.  I do realize that Victoria has the coolest temperatures of all the wine growing regions in Australia making it suitable for growing Pinot, but even still, the wine feels warmer than the typical Pinot Noir.
R Wines 2008 Permutations Pinot Noir

Overall, I was pleased with the wine and with the pairing, and considering the wine is inexpensive, it’s very good.  I’d like to be able to compare it with other Australian Pinots if I am able to find others.  As a side note, Permutations has many different labels – 24 I believe – all with interesting (and silly) illustrations, diagrams, and sayings about life.  The highlight of the evening was taking a bite of gorgonzola and a bite of dark chocolate and then while the two very different flavors lingered on the palate, taking a sip of the wine.  I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything quite like that before and it’s hard to describe but the tanginess and bitter-sweetness followed by the fruity yet well-structured wine was absolutely divine.

For the steak and gorgonzola sauce recipe, see my recipe page.
Shell steak with gorgonzola sauce and chives, accompanied by sauteed portobello mushrooms, and paired with R Wines 2008 Permutations Pinot Noir


  1. Man, you know WAY more about wine than I do! LOL I look forward to learning from you! If you ever feel inspired to blog about dessert wines or some dessert pairings, I'd love to reblog that on Piece of Cake (my blog). Keep on rockin' the wine world, Jac. xox

  2. I love dessert wines! (And I love pairing some reds with desserts, too.) I will definitely be doing some posts on dessert wines and dessert pairings. xo