Thursday, 26 January 2012

Global Pinot Noirs with Lavinia

Paris des Chefs : Wine tastings

My afternoon at Paris des chefs was spent rather contentedly tasting wines through the varied afternoon degustation sessions;

I’m going to write these us as and when, however the first I’m going to look at in the Lavinia Pinots Noir from round the world session.

They opened with the 08 Momo Pinot Noir from Marlborough NZ. Momo is the second label from the Seresin estate. The fruit all comes from Seresins own vineyards, which means that it is probably younger vines, or parcels that don’t quite make the grade for Seresin’s own wines.
Seresin have a mixture of Pinot clones, UC Davis (5,6), Burgundy (113, 114, 115, 667, 777) and the better-established 10/5 Waedenswil (Swiss) clone.

Marlborough (geology) as a region is characterized by a succession of north/south(ish) river valleys running towards the Wairau river valley. The Wairau river also traces the lines of the Wairau fault, north of which one finds much Greywacke (a hard sandstone found across much of NZ), in the river valley itself the land is flatter but covered in well draining alluvial deposits. The southern valleys such as Awatere are also home to Greywacke deposits.

The Momo Pinot was a nice example of youthful Pinot Noir from NZ, showing good varietal characteristics, an ever so slight chalky note initially on the nose, but this gave way to bright raspberry and jammy cherry notes and a lovely delicately spiced bramblyness on the palette. Structurally the wine sat more on the soft and juicy side of Pinot.

With a neat synchronicity we then moved to Switzerland, home to the oldest of the Kiwi Pinot clones, the Waedenswill 10/5. Though it would be a leap to far to say that there was any clonal overlap between the two wines, as Switzerland has some very old plantings and almost certainly boasts a unique heritage of Pinot Noir genotypes. Commonly referred to as Blauburgunder or Spatburgunder (as per the German).

Domaine La Colombe are from the La Cote AOC in the Vaud, which is on the northern shore of Lake Geneva, steep alpine slopes are planted with 35 year plus vines. The wine then sees a 14-20 month period in tank, before another year or so in wooden cask.

As befitting much older vines, and I’m certain a much lower yield, the 07 La Colmbe Noir was much more powerful with noticeable oak notes, licorice, dark earthy berry fruit, coffee, chocolate. This was clearly a wine designed to show well. I wasn’t quite certain that there was enough fruit weight to fully work with the elevage, but none the less this was a dark and brooding sort of Pinot, indeed I would have probably struggled to place it blind.

Moving to Chile we had the 09 Montsecano Pinot Noir. Made by Andre Ostertag, an exceptional Alsatian producer. Pinot was planted in 04 (115, 777 and some massal, all ungrafted) in Las Dichas in the southwestern corner of the Casablanca valley.
Casablanca is one of the newer Chilean winegrowing regions, and it was planted as a cool climate area. There is a lot of cooling air that comes in off the Pacific, including quite a lot of fog.
Like his Alsatian estate, Montsecano is fully biodynamic, and is making wines on a properly handcrafted scale (something Chile can often lack). I was impressed with this, a powerful nose showing a lot of fruit, however there were some nice slightly vegetal notes, which I think is the result of a decent percent of whole bunch vinification. This certainly helped with the wines structure (along with a little bit of oak). My only slight gripe was that it felt a little lacking in acidity. However I was most impressed by both the Montsecano wines I tried.

The final wine was 09 Hubert Lignier Norey-St-Denis, frustratingly as always seems to happen when these sorts of comparisons are made, the Burgundian examples are much too young. Still Hubert Lignier is an excellent domaine making quite traditional red Burgundy, not too much new oak (20-30%) and no truck with over extraction or excessive cold soaks and such like.
The nose was a bit closed, with the tight greenish tannins that I associate with very young cote de nuits. On the palette there was a lovely craquant acitidy and the expected bracing spritz of tannins that accompanied a good amount of aromatic dark fruits. I’m sure it’ll be lovely in a few years.

So a nice selection of global Pinot Noirs, I’m not sure what the flyby comparison showed as the wines were all of vastly differing vine age/terroir/styles. However they were all very different, from the juicy approachable fruit of the Marlborough, to the brooding dark berries of the Vaud, intense deep reddish fruit from Casablanca, and stubbornly closed aromatic dark berries from Burgundy.


Kim G. said...

We had 7 PN's from 7 different countries for our new years eve 2010-11. Same thing happened: the burgundy (2008) was faaaar too young, and the Yarra Yering 2005 stole the show:

Donald Edwards said...

Ahh Yarra Yering Pinot - stonking stuff, I spend 6 weeks in Aus last year and was lucky to meet and taste with a lot of the guys really making the running regarding Pinot in Australia.
Guys like Yarra Yering, Giant Steps, MacForbes, Timo Meyer, shit the list of top producers in the Yarra alone is impressive...