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Pinot pays tribute to much-loved pooch

The faithful hound of J&B’s chairman Hew Blair lives on in a Kiwi Pinot Noir.

New Zealand’s Palliser Estate has just released the Great Hector 2013 Pinot Noir, named after Justerini & Brooks chairman Hew Blair’s late lamented black Labrador.

“When a vintage deserves extra attention and recognition, the ‘Pinot Dogs’ appear,” declared Palliser’s owner, Richard Riddiford. “Wines of such quality deserve a namesake that is also full of character. This special 2013 Pinot Noir, a selection from only the top Palliser vineyards, is a wine we are very proud of, and delighted it will once again commemorate a wonderful dog in our lives.”

Blair met Riddiford on a buying trip to New Zealand in the early 1990s and soon J&B were importing the wines. The first ‘Pinot dog’ was the Great Bear in 2002 and there have been six since. In its bottled form ‘Hector’ “has been barrel-aged using 50% new oak casks for 16 months, and has excellent colour, layers of ripe, classic Pinot Noir flavours, structure and texture,” claimed Allan Johnson, viticulturist and winemaker at the Martinborough winery. “The best Pinot Noir will charm you in its youth and gently seduce you in its age, which pretty much, we think, describes the Great Hector.”

Hector was part of a menagerie of other dogs explained Blair including “a somewhat overzealous Rhodesian Ridgeback,” Apparently both “had to be bailed out of various local police stations on more than one occasion after great hunting expeditions.” The Great Hector Palliser Estate 2013 Martinborough Pinot Noir is priced £140 per case of 6 in bond,

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