Probably the last thing the world needs at the moment is a daft wine blog adding to our collective angst. Not much left to say except to express gratitude for good health, a kind companion, friends and a heart warming drink cloistered in a comfortable home. This terrific version from a remote Pinot outpost, where grape growing must be more than tricky due to some fickle weather, really shows some depth and cut. In local Australian terms there’s a proven Pinot place in rural Gippsland to the South East of Melbourne that can express the grape with dark cherry and earthy wild strawberry with a almost fragrant rose geranium edge. A long way west along the wild coast, the same flavours seem to thrive. This is beautifully clean, quite ripe for such a cool windswept landscape and deep at its core with paradoxically soft but firm tannin and acidity. A few years rest and it’s all mellow and sweetly just starting to autumnally decay. Sort of appropriate for the time of year and the drinker. Nice story again, Rory.
13.5% alcohol. Screwcap. About $30 a year or several ago.
Preconceived ideas about how you like a grape variety to taste are always liable for a surprise. Over the years, a perfumed, crisply red fruited version of the mystery that’s Pinot Noir has become more appealing. Well, red fruited and lightly built this isn’t. Dark spiced berries, almost plum and licorice chocolate with a touch of fruit cake all melded by time. No flab though as there’s a perfect counterpoint of graphite like tannin and beautifully integrated naturally ripe wet stone acidity, all benefiting from time together in the bottle. A tickle of dried and sweet green herbs twists and turns the rich fruit too. Dark, complex and such an even keel that shows this most fickle of grapes can express itself in the most valid and surprising ways. Côte d’Or it ain’t but Martinborough it must surely be. Choice eh?
14% alcohol. Cork. About $60 a few years ago.
Carefully carried all the way back from Paris to Melbourne surviving inept packing, baggage handling and a few years in cool storage. Research at the time suggested Perrot Minot had backed away from the mid nineties fashion of too much extraction and new oak in favour of more perfume and transparency. The helpful staff in the basement of delights at Lavinia in Paris encouraged the opinion in much better English than my French. Compared to current premier cru prices this looked a reasonable buy too. Fast forward fifteen years to Xmas eve 2019, all looks good, good fill level still, cork barely stained and removed in one piece. First sniff and a joyfully rich wild strawberry and spice fragrance, then….a musty, old hessian sack waft of, oh no, TCA. Foul language but a resigned shrug too. Life has a way of dealing with great expectations but, really, why are we still wedded to mid nineteenth century technology for our most precious drinks? Down the sink and head in the sand along with much larger issues like a warming planet perhaps?
No points just a grumpy old man who’s a bit worried at the moment.
Pinot Noir from limestone and clay soils and a generous gift from the Paris apartment host’s cellar. Still a good cherry red colour and plenty of gentle red fruit hanging on. Probably preserved by the flinty acidity and graphite fine tannin. The perfume lingers, carried by that filigreed structure which is only light of body and veers towards the austere. The flavours are as much about chalky soil as they are cherry and raspberry fruit. Clean and enough weight to keep you interested though. It’s something outside the usual range of self imposed options when scouring the local wine shops. Vive la difference and thanks so much for temporarily renting us your home, cher F. Not one of those Airbnb’s depriving locals of their homes, I hope. Oh, the politics of modern travel.
13% alcohol. Cork. Wish every apartment host was this kind and as interested in sharing a drink.
92 points but much more than a number.
Having never stared a partridge in the eye, we’ll have to believe les gens de Champagne about the colour. Perhaps they still go out and shoot their dinner? Developed blanc de noirs or pale rosé? Research suggests it’s an old rosé de presse method to give a little colour. Anyway, there’s some aristocratic grapes in this, 75% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and 25% Chardonnay from Avise. Grand crus amongst grand crus perhaps? Fine definition of red fruit spiced with a touch of barrel that recedes as the bubbles burst. Sugar dusted raspberries, candied citrus and almost cinnamon, poised and precise, all cut into shape by pinpoint chalky acidity. Beautifully tailored, subtle, no flashy bling.
About 12% alcohol probably? Cork. Extremely thoughtful apero, thanks!
Another raid on the stuff I’ve somehow managed to keep stashed. Make use of time, let not advantage slip. Thanks, Will, for the advice. Sweet autumnal maturity creeps up indeed. Wild strawberries, sweet earth and that savoury fresh charcuterie waft. Beautifully ripe and good intensity. Good extract of fine tannin and a snap of settled acidity. Lovely shape and purity. The well mannered perfume and richness of very good Côte de Nuits. Sigh, one less bottle left.
13% alcohol. Cork. About $50 pre arrival.
93 points plus for sheer poise.
Another Hoddles Creek from the cellar. Such irresistible value means there’s a lot stashed away. Better get drinking then. Just like its upmarket sibling the 1er version, it opens shyly and needs a lot of air and time to peek out from the reductive wine making. When it does decide to come out and play, there’s the usual cherries and undergrowth on a light to medium bodied swell of nicely judged tannin and fresh cleansing acidity. As always it possesses a coolness that’s perhaps rare in Oz Pinot. Subtle and valuing poise over brute size. Enough fruit to balance the touch of sulky sulphide winemaking which nonetheless avoids a too bitter ending. Twenty four hours after a brutal double decant and no hint of oxidation, goodness.
13.20%. Screwcap. $20 in 2013.