April Wine Focus - Pinot Noir from Anywhere!

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Re: April Wine Focus - Pinot Noir from Anywhere!

Postby Tim York » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:50 am

Last week I mentioned that I hoped to be tasting some PNs from further afield and this happened yesterday. Though this importer’s portfolio embraces many PN producing countries, only those from Germany, Australia and New Zealand were on show with only one example from each of the first two. By contrast six from New Zealand were shown.

I couldn’t help feeling that there was a certain sameness in the style of the NZ offerings, even though the standard was overall high and I would have been happy to have most of these at my table. There was nice fruit with a lot of Pinot cherry type touches, good acidity and freshness of flavours. On the other hand I was troubled to a greater or lesser extent by confected scents of English boiled sweets (bonbon anglais) and the impression that “improvement” had been sought by adding a few drops from the perfume pot; in no case, however, was this “improvement” so great as to incite me to reject a wine. I often have the same feeling with NZ Sauvignon blanc and wonder whether alchemy with commercial yeasts is not being encouraged in their wine schools. Prices between €17 and €32 put the wines here in competition with Burgundies from the Côte Chalonnaise (1er crus from best growers c.€25), generic Bourgogne and lesser Côte d’Or villages. Greater approachability when young gives them a selling argument even in Europe but it would be interesting to see how they would match up at greater maturity. Other NZ estates like Felton Road (not on show though on the importer’s list) are much more pricey and throw down the gauntlet to Côte d’Or 1ers crus.

Spätburgunder 2011 – Oliver Zeter, Pfalz, Germany – (€13 discounted from €16) was a very charming wine with fragrant bitter cherry aromas on the nose and a medium/light palate with some pretty fruit, continuation of the fragrance from the nose, gentle mouth-watering acidity and nice grip on the finish. I wouldn’t expect this to go a long way but very good now; 16/20 QPR.

(Oliver Zeter has an interesting winery. I’m not sure whether he is négociant or grower but his range is unusual for Germany in being mostly varietal and he even offers a CabSauv/CabFranc/Syrah cuvée. This is a link to his website http://www.oliver-zeter.de/start.php in German in which I am not proficient; it’s odd that there is no English because I know from his presence at these tastings in previous years that his English is very fluent.)

PN 2010 – Trentham Estate, Victoria, Australia – (€9 discounted from €11) was slightly fuller and sweeter fruited (cherry and strawberry) than the previous with a sweaty touch which appeals to me. Oak is mentioned on the website but did not stand out in the glass, thankfully. Good 15.5/20 QPR.

New Zealand

PN 2010 – Momo, Marlborough – (€17) showed marked boiled sweet aromas and not disagreeable hints that reminded me of botrytis !? A bit too scented for me; fairly good 14.5/20.

PN 2010 – Main Divide, Canterbury – (€19) was more subdued in aroma, though the boiled sweet lurked, and darker in fruit with attractive sweet cherry touches; good 15/20.

“Crimson” PN 2010 – Ati Rangi, Martinborough – (€22) was fuller (medium + bodied), more complex and fragrant; good 15.5/20+.

“Tom’s Block” PN 2008 – Neudorf, Nelson – (€25) was the least scented of the series and the nose was still subdued. The palate was medium bodied and mouth-filling with soft texture and sweet Pinot fruit with nice structure. The most serious in profile so far; good 15.5/20++.

“The Donaldson Family” PN 2006 – Pegasus Bay, Waipara – (€27). This cuvée, made for an anniversary of the importer, was the most mature PN on display with fragrant aromas (slightly redolent of the perfume pot) and an expressive medium/full palate and rich complex fruit. But was I imagining a slight cabbage touch at the finish suggestive of imminent decline? Very good right now with ? future 16/20+.

Pinot Noir 2008 – Pegasus Bay, Waipara – (€32) showed rich aromas and fruit coupled with lively acidity with hints of toffee on the finish, which I could have done without and will hopefully integrate with a bit more time. Right now good 15/20 with ?++ potential.


With only one full day to go before the end of this WF, I read from a popular Belgian wine critic that PNs from Trivento, Mendoza, Argentina, and from Pays d’Oc, France, are on offer for less than €7 each at our nearest supermarket. I somehow don’t think that I will get round to trying them as his TN’s, e.g. "exhalations of candied cherries" on the latter, are not especially encouraging.
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Re: April Wine Focus - Pinot Noir from Anywhere!

Postby JC (NC) » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:16 pm

2006 Chateau Genot-Boulanger Mercurey Cuvee de Chateau. Imported by Frederick Wildman. Purchased from Burgundy Wine Company, NYC. 13% abv. Light mahagony color with semi-transparency. I found the nose more redolent of plumskins than cherries or berries with a muted barrel note also. Refreshing as a chilled aperitif. I also had it at room temperature with stuffed peppers. Drinks easily and pleasantly if a bit one note. I can't afford to buy many of the Burgundies I would like to drink so this is a reasonable alternative scoring perhaps in the upper 80's.
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Re: April Wine Focus - Pinot Noir from Anywhere!

Postby Andrew Bair » Wed May 01, 2013 10:50 pm

I've just gotten around to reading some of the interesting notes that others posted for the April Wine Focus on PN - thank you to all. Obviously this is a rather late post to this thread - May is upon us now, although I swear that I drank these wines in April. :D

2010 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Edna Valley Blue Label
Nose of cherries and some clean earth. Medium-bodied, ripe, well balanced, with moderate acidity/light tannins. Full of black and red cherry fruit, with hints of earth, and cherry cola. This bottle did have a slight fault, with a bit of sprtiz and a seltzer-like note on the finish; I’m sure that this was not intended to be frizzantino. Had it been a typical bottle, I expect that it would have been a solid Central Coast Pinot Noir.

2011 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Père et Fils Bourgogne La Chapelle Notre-Dame
From one of those odd lieu-dits that are not associated with a specific village, but manage to get their own AOCs with their names appended to ‘Bourgogne’. Rather light nose of baking spices, red fruit, and roses. Medium-bodied, round, well balanced, with soft cherry and blackberry fruit, and just a bit of meatiness; not much tannin here, but not thin by any means. As one would expect, it’s not particularly structured or complex, but it has a nice texture, and makes a pleasant everyday red Burgundy.

2011 Stiftskellerei Neustift Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Nero Marklhof Alto Adige DOC
From an estate in Cornaiano, south of Bolzano. Lighter-bodied, floral. Lightly mineral, with notes of red berries, plums, and mountain air. Nicely balanced, with moderate acidity and very light tannins. Very good. This producer is always reliable in my experience.
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Re: April Wine Focus - Pinot Noir from Anywhere!

Postby Andrew Bair » Wed May 01, 2013 11:01 pm

These are some notes from a tasting that I attended last week. All but one of the wines were Pinot Noirs - I am going to post a note for the Chardonnay separately in the regular section of the Wine Forum.

April 25, 2013 – St. Innocent Winery tasting with Mark Vlossak, Lower Falls Wine, Newton Lower Falls, MA
All of these wines were at least very good in my estimation, but they all have a way to go before I would recommend drinking them, as they all could use a few years to fill out a bit. It is certainly quite possible that some of these may exceed my current expectations with time.
Additionally, I would have liked to have had more of a chance to speak with Mark (I wanted to ask where the name St. Innocent came from - is he a closet papal historian?). Alas, he was enjoying a good conversation with a couple of other people, and I was more pressed for time than usual. That said, I do admire Mark's focus on terroir , rather than on big fruit, or a lot of oak.

2010 Pinot Noir Villages Cuvée
Earthy/spicy nose. Medium-bodied, moderately tannic, with good acidity; shows spicy red fruit, with a slight note of blood. Very good; although this is the entry-level Pinot Noir, I did not think that it was any step down from the single-vineyard offering, as one would expect it to be.

2010 Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard
Earthy/peppery/minty nose. Medium-bodied, with good acidity and lighter tannins. Lightly mineral, with red fruit and pink pepper notes.

2010 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard
Moderately full-bodied, rounder, elegant, with prickly tannins; shows notes of cherries, red berries, spices, and minerals.

2010 Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard
Moderately full-bodied, round, moderately tannic, lightly earthy/meaty, with plum, red berry, and light licorice notes.

2010 Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard
Slightly funky dark berry nose. Moderately full, moderately tannic, with notes of red berries, plums, minerals, and spices.
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