2007 Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune du Château 1er Cru (Burgundy, France)

Beaune du ChateauMedium, translucent red hue in the glass. Good depth and complexity of aromas including perfume and some good burgundian earthy or forest notes. Very nice palate with balance and elegance displaying dark cherry, red berry fruits, smokey oak, sage and forest floor. Finishing with an ample medium length. Very enjoyable with food and a fine match for red salmon or poultry. The wine is very good and ageing well to this point despite the difficult growing season with one of the earliest bud burst and flowering of the last 50 years followed by a summer which was cool and rainy. The better weather at the end of August through to vintage helped ripen the grapes and good management of Bouchard is clearly evident. Being able to select grapes from 21 Ha and 17 individual vineyards also assists in managing inferior seasons.

Stefani Estate The View 2007 pinot noir (Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia)

Stefani The ViewStefani Estate The View 2007 pinot noir (Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia)

This Yarra Valley vineyard at Long Gully Rd was established in 1997 and planted shortly after. The fruit for this wine was sourced from this vineyard on the high ridge above Long Gully Road and hence the name “The View”. This is definitely a cooler part of the valley and certainly more suitable for pinot noir than on the valley floor. However this wine is still typical of the Yarra Valley showing big bold flavours and ripeness.

On the nose, I found mint, spice, earth and gamey complexity. On the palate, savoury elements and game morph into dark red berry and plum flavours with a lick of mint chocolate. It has big, bold, expansive middle palate but still maintaining purity of fruit and is not stewed. The finish features charred oak with almost prickly spice and black pepper. The texture is good with acceptable smooth tannins. The fruit is short on the palate but spice and oak linger with a touch of boiled sweets. For my taste I found the spice and peppery elements detracted from the finish and were a little overpowering. I’m sure others would find it added interest and complexity to this powerful wine.

Pinot Noir grapes owe a debt to ancient viruses – The University of Queensland, Australia

University of Queensland

via Pinot Noir grapes owe a debt to ancient viruses – UQ News – The University of Queensland, Australia.

In a study published in Nature CommunicationsDr Andrew Geering and colleagues have mapped the presence of 30-million-year-old viruses in Pinot Noir DNA.

Viruses are usually a curse to farmers because of the damage they cause to crops, but this study also suggests they play a vital evolutionary role.


Paringa Estate PE Peninsula pinot noir 2012

Paringa PE 2012

Our party enjoyed the PE pinot noir but I may have had more realistic expectations of this wine had I not paid $A60 for the bottle at the small suburban restaurant but at that price the wine didn’t represent great value. Following are my brief tasting notes:

The nose opened up after about half an hour, revealing cherry and plum fruits intermingled with old cedary oak. A mid weight palate displayed bright cherry which gives way to herbal and woody notes. A relatively simple nose and a straight forward palate is enhanced by the subtle but interesting end notes of wood and herbs. It has a firm finish but with fine, unobtrusive tannins. This is a well made second label, early release wine which would fit the bill as a match for pizza, pasta or rice dishes or any dish not requiring too much structure or complexity.

This wine is produced by vinegnon and winemaker, Lindsay McCall at his Paringa Estate which is located at Red Hill in the Mornington Peninsula wine region (Australia). Paringa Estate is one of the most awarded wineries in Australia, winning gold medals and trophies at most national wine shows and is a star of the Mornington Peninsula.

Mount Dottrel 2007 (Mitre Rocks, Central Otago, NZ)

Mount Dottrel 2007

Clear and bright rich red reflections immediately foretell of good things to come.

Lifted aromas of red forest berries waft from the glass urging the drinker on. The palate displays surprising freshness of juicy fruit, summer berries and cherry mingled with savoury meat, light cedar, rhubarb and a touch of mocha. Beguilingly balanced and rich palate with satisfying good length. Supple, slightly drying, super fine tannins are polished and provide a fittingly sophisticated finish.

At it’s peak but has developed in the cellar very gracefully. It proves that good Central Otago Pinots are worthy of ageing for at least 5 years.


Conte D’Attimis Maniago Pinot Nero

The Conte D’Attimis Maniago Pinot Nero is a D.O.C. Friuli Colli Orientali made from 100% Pinot Nero grapes. Pinot Nero is, of course, the Italian synonym for our much loved Pinot Noir varietal. It is grown in the Eastern Hills of Friuli region of Italy where they have been cultivated since the second half of the nineteenth century. The Sottomonte Estate is located on the south facing slopes of the hills situated between the sea and the Mountains, the climate is cool and well suited to the sensitive pinot noir vines.  The vines are grown in well drained soil which sits on marl and sandstone with a predominantly clayey component. The clay is a contributing factor in producing the strength and intensity of the pinot nero wine made at this estate. Pinot Nero

This Pinot Nero from the 2012 vintage had immediate impact with generosity and exuberance. It is bright and beautiful in the glass. It bursts with aromas of smokey cured meat, liquorice, mace, savoury, cinnamon and sweet berry fruits. The palate is simply pure red fruit – intense morello cherry and blueberry. It displays incredible freshness supported by very fine smooth tannins. The freshness of the fruit flavours and the lifted fragrance of the wine is testament to the extraction during prolonged maceration of the must and skins in modern stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature (26 °C) to obtain a wine with a rich fragrance. Maturation in oak may have given this wine some additional complexity and structure but who cares! This is a highly enjoyable wine with a real wow factor. A perfect luncheon wine which could be served with antipasto, poached salmon, grilled quail. A wine that will impress and satisfy your guests.  It could be cellared for up to 3 years but is best enjoyed now.Pinot Nero (rear label)

Central Otago tasting (at Taxi Dining Room, Melbourne) 25th August 2013

Central OtagoOn Sunday afternoon, I attended a tasting of Central Otago pinot noir held at Taxi Dining room in Melbourne. It was organised by Central Otago Pinot Noir Limited (COPNL) which is a promotional organisation that develops regional promotions to benefit Central Otago producers. It was established in 2003 by Central Otago Winegrowers as an independent vehicle marketing Central Otago wine and promoting the Central Otago wine brand.

Eleven of Central Otago’s winemakers were present and offered a range of wines so we could taste our way through this special region.  The pinot noir mainly consisted of 2011 vintage wines so it was an excellent opportunity to see this vintage from a wine variety of good producers and to make an assessment of the potential of the wines from this vintage.  Although it was a bit tricky, however, as there were a couple of wines from 2010 thrown in and this was a better year and has produced some outstanding wines. The differences between the 2010 and 2011 wines were evident.

The 2011 growing season was more difficult than usual and exposed vineyards sites common throughout this rugged region were hit by quickly changing weather systems and frequent overcast and windy conditions. More rain than usual causing swollen berries and disease pressure.  The 2011 vintage started well enough, with hardly any frosts and good flowering conditions. However, overcast and wetter than usual conditions prevailed over the rest of the summer season creating real challenges for growers. Fortunately the season ended with the normal fine autumn days, which allowed the fruit to be harvested in generally good condition and meant that the inconsistent weather over the summer did not overly affect fruit quality. The season has proven to be one of the least spectacular in recent times.

In attendance and showing their wines were: Akaru, Carrick, Domain Road, Gibbston Valley Wines, Mt Difficulty, Quartz Reef, Rockburn, Rockferry, Surveyor Thomson, Valli Wines, Wild Earth Wines, Wooing Tree. It was one of those tastings which are crowded, allow little time to appreciate the wines but at the same time can also be fun: meeting interesting, passionate people and seeing a range of regional wines from similar vintages.

My more memorable wines were:

Wild earth 2010 – Very bright fruit,  palate weight is delicate yet still packed with red fruit. An outstanding example of Central Otago  pinot noir.  Perhaps this wine stood out because it was an exception coming from the 2010 vintage!

Domaine Road 2010 – Really balanced, rich and velvety with some earthy complexity. Again a 2010 wine shone out.

Gibson School House 2011 – Good richness, herbal spice, but a tad short.

Mt.Difficulty Bannockburn 2011 – Well made, fully ripe elegant fruit and nice silky tannins. My pick of the 2011’s on tasting.

Valli Bendigo 2011 – Great nose – promise, palate linear, ok depth of fruit but not as complex as suggested by the nose.

Rock Ferry 2010 –  Ripe fruit, richly flavoured with nicely textured tannins. A good wine from a relatively new producer to Central Otago (although with a longer history in Marlborough).

So my conclusions were that 2011 produced a consistent but average quality with few standouts and was overshadowed by some beautiful 2010 wines.

rock ferry Wild Earth Mt Difficulty

Williams Crossing 2011 Pinot Noir (Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia)

Williams Crossing 2011Gentle handing of grapes in wine production really works! The results are amply displayed in this bottle from Curly Flat (Macedon Ranges of Victoria, Australia). Williams Crossing is their second label but powerful aromatics and impeccable flavours speak to the results of careful and skilful handling.  Whilst terroir, viticulture and winemaking all have an impact on the wine produced, the benefits of sorting tables and gravity feed processing are in preserving the detail and subtleties.

The Williams Crossing 2011 pinot noir is a finely detailed wine – colour, aromas and palate are beautifully defined. The light crimson hue in the glass looks enticing but the nose is where you become fully engaged. It is floral with aromas of violets and fresh roses supporting raspberries and ripe strawberries. Beyond the flowers and fruit are notes of shaved oak, cloves and wet forest floor.

The palate is similarly nuanced with red berries, blue berries and cranberry flavours finishing with some spice and mineral. While it is light to medium bodied, it is nicely persistent. The texture is fine with some lively, bright acid providing support. The overall impression is of balance and definition.
This wine was purchased at the cellar door. Value of money and highly recommended.