Archive for April, 2009

April 2009: Pinot Noir from around the world


Matt, Fernando & Ken (back) tasting

This tasting was an interesting one …
because the Pinots in the lineup – representing France (Burgundy & Alsace), Italy, USA (Oregon), South Africa, New Zealand & Chile – had wildly varying receptions from the Tasting Panel.  Pretty much across the board, the tasters either thoroughly enjoyed the wine or didn’t care for it much at all.  [The one exception was the Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure (the top scorer), which was showered in compliments.] For example, check out what the two quoted tasters say about Hamilton Russell Vineyards from South Africa.  Both are picking up on minty flavors, but Fernando raves while Matt was offended.  Because of this, the final scores often don’t reflect the love/hate impact the wines had on the tasters and so on wines that elicited this varying response, we’ve included the taster’s score with his/her wine note so you can get a feel for how the wine impressed the quoted taster.

We also want to note that we missed having a Pinot from California.  Because we receive the wines bagged so that the tasters truly are blind, we didn’t realize that California was not represented.  Our oversight and our apologies.

EXCELLENT (90-94 points)
Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure 2005 Volnay 1er Cru Santenots (93 points)
Region: Burgundy, France; Retail $57
Beautiful depth & clarity of garnet color. Nose: fresh dirt, faint rose petal. Ahh – this has essence of Old World qualities.  Fresh picked raspberries (I can still taste the dew), earth and slight minerality finishes with a little smoky spice. Bravo. (Gina)  Wonderful aromas of dark cherries, herbs and flowers.  Stunning!  Very smooth, elegant and complex. Great acidity and concentration. Flavors of black cherries, raspberries and olives with herbal and floral components.  Long, fine finish.  Tastes like well done Burgundy. (Jens) 

Domaine Serene 2005 Jerusalem Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (90 points)
Region: Willamette Valley, OR; Retail $83
Aromas of sweet cherries and strawberries.  Good mouthfeel. Elegant, smooth texture. Medium-bodied with good acidity. Flavors of ripe, dark cherries and olives.  Good finish with some earthy notes. (Jens) Cherry vanilla cola, cherry vanilla cola, cherry vanilla cola, cherry vanilla cola. Palate: nice cherry vanilla cola flavors, silky mouthfeel with bouquet garni. Nice and surprising elegant spicy finish. (Ken)

VERY GOOD (86-89 points)
Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2007 Estate Pinot Noir (89 points)
Region: South Africa ; Retail $45
My first aroma was the great land of South Africa! Muscular, game meat, red fruit and eucalyptus. Great amount of acidity. Long, long finish. I will have this wine with some grilled spring bock! Love it! (Fernando, 97 pts)  Strange menthol (Ben-Gay?) notes in aroma along with sulfur. Balanced acidity and tannins, but unusual vegetal wood flavors. (Matt, 80 pts)

Saint Clair 2006 Pinot Noir (89 points)
Region : Marlborough, New Zealand; Retail $23
Mud-brick red. Is it me, or does this one really smell like classic Pinot? Earth mixed with ripe dried cherries. Very earthy, with hints of herbs and nice round cherry flavors. (Gina)  Nose: woody aromas, cocoa dusted plum preserves flavors, smoky. Palate: slightly spritzy, chocolate covered cherries, grilled mushrooms, meaty, bacon. (Ken)

Schoenheitz 2005 Vin d’Alsace “Herrenreben” (89 points)

Region: Alsace, France; Retail: $26
Nose: very gentle on the nose with light aromas of plum blossoms, rainier cherries, peach skin, chocolate & Eastern spices (cloves maybe). Palate: well-balanced, silky light mouthfeel with an array of flavors of rose petals, leather, dark chocolate & mushrooms that somehow all fits together nicely. Makes you want to sit down to a comfortable and long awaited elegant meal with your best friends! (Ken, 97 pts) Out of balance, acids. Needs time. (Chris, 86 pts)

Christom 2006 Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir (88 points)
Region: Willamette Valley, OR; Retail $52
Good ruby red. Aromas of strawberries with vermouth.  Good intense flavors with astringent sensation of roasted nuts.  It finishes well.  This would pair well with pork loin. (Giuseppe) Nose: Strange herbs, dusty – like an old witch’s cupboard, faint peanutty aromas, Indian spices, fenugreek seeds & pomegranate – delightfully intense nose. Palate: pomegranate/peanut flavors begin & then violet candies, charred spiced sausage lead into a vanilla chocolaty finish. (Ken)

Domaine d’Antugnac 2007 Côte Pierre Lys (Collovray et Terrier) (87 points)
Region : Burgundy, France ; Retail $16
Aromas of mint and anise. Plalate: raspberries, fennel. Great finish, lovely wine for food. (Fernando, 94 pts) Bright ruby red. Good aromas of strawberry and hazelnut. Very perfumed on the mouth, almost a scent of rose water. (Giuseppe, 81 pts)

Woollaston 2006 Pinot Noir (87 points)
Region: New Zealand; Retail $34
Red berries on the nose, green grass, cocoa on the palate, great touch of oak! Beautiful clean and long finish! (Fernando, 98 pts) Nice Pinot aromas – must be Oregon? Orangey tint of light color. Mushroom notes in aroma along with cherries & cola. Finish ruined by harsh smokey oak – acrid & bitter. (Matt, 77 pts)

GOOD (80-85 points)
Apaltagua 2008 Pinot Noir Reserva (85 points)
Region: Curico, Chile; Retail $14
Pretty magenta hues. Nose has a pungent spiciness to it. A few extra swirls bring out more floral notes. A very gripping Pinot that follows with silky ripe raspberry flavors. Just enough earth gives this an elegant finish. (Gina) Beautiful aromas of dark cherries and rose petals. Smooth. Good mouthfeel. Good acidity and concentration. Dominant black cherry flavors with floral and spicy notes. Long finish. (Jens)

Domaine du Prieure 2005 Savigny les Beaune (85 points)
Region: Burgundy, France; Retail $19
Nose: nice, high-toned cherry blossoms, tootsie roll, anise, fennel pollen. Palate: sweet cherry pie, tart (sweet tart candy), fresh strawberry too. (Ken, 91 pts) Varietally correct Pinot Noir aroma of cherries, cola, with hints of root beer. Bright red. A bit pale. Soft in the mouth. Lack of structure. Very few aromas. Very open on the palate with a hint of acidity. (Giuseppe, 77 pts)

Paggio 2005 Pinot Nero (84 points)
Region: Veneto, Italy; Retail $18
Very feminine floral nose. Almost smells like meringue. Has that really nice candy flavor of chocolate covered cherries. Very smooth. (Gina) Smells Italian. Tastes Italian. Slight “corky flavors” but maybe because it might be Italian. Stewed prunes, dried cranberries & mocha flavors. (Ken)

The following wines are in-stock or can be ordered at the following local wine shops:
Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
phone: 206-783-2007

Tasting Panel:  Jens Strecker, Gina Gregory, Ken O’Hara, Giuseppe Carraturo, Matt Gubitosa, Fernando Martinez, Chris Nishiwaki 


April 23, 2009 at 5:13 am Leave a comment