I really enjoyed Brancott’s 2003 Pinot Noir from New Zealand (the '02 Reserve was very, very good). It was one of the few ‘entry level Pinots that I’ve found palatable. It offered fresh, appealing flavors of cherry, along with just a hint of vanilla-oak-toastyness. Recently I noticed Brancott’s 2004 vintage had replaced the ’03 stalwart, so I took it for a test-sip. I was a bit disappointed by the change in style. There is noticeably more toasted oak flavor. This, by itself, isn’t too bad. However, the wine is also a notch lower in the acid department (less zing in the mouth). The lack of balancing acidity coupled to heavier, sweeter vanilla-oak flavors, results in a wine that finishes heavy and perhaps a bit sweet. The ’04 Pinot isn’t bad (2.5 stars out of 5), but it sure aint no ’03 (3.5 stars out of 5).