Does a New World Pinot Noir taste different from a Burgundian Pinot Noir? According to Jay Youmans, Master of Wine, “Yes” there are differences. New World winemakers tend to use cultured yeasts and inoculate their fermentations achieving clean, straightforward flavors. Burgundians use wild or natural yeast strains for complexity of flavor. New World winemakers oak their pinot noirs more than the French and some even finish bottling with a little residual sugar (a practice not followed in Burgundy). The general results are that New World Pinots are usually more darkly pigmented with more oak on the palate, more fruit-forward, more intense in flavor and they can also be more alcoholic. However, there are many New World winemakers who are employing traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques and we present several in our line-up in January.
On January 19th, 2016, we tasted 4 wines from the N. Hemisphere, 3 from the Willamette Valley of Oregon and 1 from Ontario. From the S. Hemisphere, we had 4 wines, one each from Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa and Chile. Our guest speaker was Ann Poppoff, Wine Trade Marketing Specialist and International Wine Judge.
This was a wonderful opportunity to sample and compare Pinots throughout the New World and also to compare the wines from the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern. Our evenings started with a reception wine - 2013 Forbidden Sauvignon Blanc Mousque, 'Dutton Ranch, Shop Block', Green Valley - provided by Great North Imports along with a special BONUS wine - an exclusive tasting of the Femme Fatale Pinot Noir from Cloud’s Rest from Sonoma.
Cloud's Rest is a boutique winery producing single vineyard wines. We were very grateful to Caleb Gibbons of Great North Imports for his generosity!
HOW THE WINES WERE RANKED
2010 Coyote's Run - Rare Vintage (Ontario) $50
“Produced from 5 barrels of the estate’s finest Pinot Noir, this lovely wine offers rich spiced fruit aromas with hints of vanilla, dried herbs and smoke. Dry, satiny in texture, medium bodied, the palate delivers depth of red cherry/berry fruit, a nuance of smoky spice and a lovely touch of warmth on the tangy finish. There’s good depth of flavour fine balance, and structure. Purchase for mid-term cellaring or enjoy with your favorite duck recipe.” Susan Desjardins http://www.nataliemaclean.com/blog/coyotes-run-winery-two-soils-two-styles-many-fans/
2009 Bergström, Cumberland Reserve (Oregon) $49
“A blend of vineyards with Shea and De Lancellotti playing the leading roles. Dark in color for the vintage, it displays an earthy minerality, violets, cedar, black cherry, and black raspberry. Dense and rich on the palate with lots of flavor, this concentrated effort can be approached now but will evolve for 1-2 years and drink well through 2019. Erobertparker.com, Wine Advocate #197, Oct 2011. Jay S Miller 92/100 Drink: 2011 - 2019
2008 Argyle Reserve (Oregon) $55
“The 2008 Pinot Noir Reserve is darker in color with aromas of violets, incense, cinnamon, black cherry, and black raspberry. Richer and more structured than the Willamette Valley cuvee, it will evolve for 2-3 years and offer prime drinking from 2012 to 2020. Erobertparker.com, Wine Advocate #191, Oct 2010. Jay S Miller, Drink: 2012 – 2020 Erobertparker.com, 91/100
2008 Domaine Serene, Yamhill Cuvée (Oregon) $49
Domaine Serene’s 2008 Pinot Noirs are outstanding across the portfolio. The 2008 Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvee is medium ruby in color with an expressive nose of spicy red fruits and considerable terroir character. On the palate the fruit leans to the dark side of the spectrum with intense black cherry and black raspberry flavors as well as excellent grip, balance, and length. This tasty effort can be enjoyed now but has the stuffing to evolve for 2-3 years. Erobertparker.com, Wine Advocate #191, Oct 2010. Jay S Miller, drink: 2010 – 2013. 91/100
2010 Schubert, Block B (New Zealand) $50
Produced from a blend of 100% Dijon clones. The 2008 Block B cleaned up in the London England wine shows being awarded the International Trophy for best Pinot Noir at Decanter World Wine Awards and also the International Wine Challenge Trophy for Sustainability (2010). “An astonishing nose of ripe blackberry, plum and blueberry, with evolving floral, coffee and sweet oaky notes. The complex palate is laced with morello cherries, plums and pure dark fruit flavors with hints of wild basil, truffles and tea leaves. Quiet dense but retaining Schubert's customary elegance, the Block B 2010 is perfectly balanced with great length and intensity on the palate and a sweet, mineral finish.” Review by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW in October 2012 for eRobertParker.com. The 2010 Pinot Noir “Block B” – 93+ Parker Points – highest rated NZ Pinot Noir in 2010.
2011 Bodega Chacra, Cincuenta y Cinco (Argentina) $71
“This ’11 Patagonian wine exudes pure old-vine Pinot Noir fruit, a dusting of spice, a waft of earth, but its sinuous sophistication and elegance mark it as a member of the Sassicaia family--it is to Argentina and Burgundy what Sassicaia is to Bolgheri and Bordeaux.” http://www.italianwinemerchants.com/ “The 2011 Cincuenta y Cinco is quite balanced aromatically and expressive with nice ripeness and notes of bright cherries. The palate is light to medium-bodied (these wines all range between 12.5% and 13.5% alcohol) and is polished with very fine-grained tannins, very good balance, focused flavors and good persistence. This is ready now, but should also develop more complexity with time in bottle. 15,844 bottles were filled in January-February 2012.” eRobertParker.com #220. Aug 2015. Luis Gutierrez, Drink: 2015 - 2021 92/100
2009 Hamilton Russell Vineyards (S. Africa) $45
“Cropped at 3.2tons/ha and raised entirely in French oak (45% new) the delectable 2009 Pinot Noir has a lifted bouquet of bright red cherries, red currant and a hint of dried blood. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and a lovely caressing texture in the mouth, fine tension and poise with crisp red-berried fruits on the shimmering finish. eRobertParker.com, Wine Advocate #196, Aug. 2011. Neal Martin, Drink 2012-2017+ 93/100
2009, Kooyong Winery, Haven Vineyard (Australia) $60
The best section of each vineyard is reserved for the Single Vineyard wines. Of its 3 single vineyard pinot noirs, the Haven generally drinks best at a young age. “This has a deep, rich but compact raspberry-plum jam nose with fresh fine herbs, moderate oak sweetness, licorice and earth. It's medium-full bodied, very smooth but quite sour edged on the finish, with some stoniness. Tannin is refined. Quite powerful, with excellent to outstanding length. Great focus here.” www.winealign.com, best 2014 to 2019. Tasted May 2012. David Lawrasson. 92/100