MNB: Non-Burgundy Pinot

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Tasted January 14, 2019 by RajivAyyangar with 71 views

Flight 1 (4 notes)

2015 Grosjean Pinot Noir Valle d'Aosta Italy, Valle d'Aosta
86 points
non-blind (my wine)
Medium minus ruby.
Medium plus intensity nose - fascinating. Tart red cherry, dried flowers, dried and fresh cherry, slight dried herbs, slight pomegranate, slight pepper. Smells a bit like an Etna Rosso. Faint reduction but overall the impression is tart and dried.
On the palate, dry, medium bodied, 13% alcohol (correct), elevated acid, low tannins (papery and a bit bitter).

There's a sense of herbal / amaro notes, elevated alcohol, and a touch of VA on the nose that might hint at Italy, but otherwise I think Burgundy is a better fit.

Neutral oak, 20% whole cluster.

From the producer:
"While this wine is 100% Pinot Noir, 70% are from French lineage and 30% are of the rare Wadenzwil strain. The vineyards are at a high altitude (600-750m) and steep incline, allowing for the distinct alpine characteristics to show through. Vinification in wood casks with daily punching down for three days, followed by 10-12 days of settling before aging partly in steel, part in oak. Biodynamic Certified."
2015 Mount Edward Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
88 points
Pale ruby color. Cloudy (unfined / unfiltered). Elevated intensity aromatics with prominent candied red fruit (whole cluster?). Strawberry and cherry jam. Slight watermelon candy.
14% alcohol (actually 13.5%), medium acid, medium plus bitterness, low tannins.
It's a bit hot and bitter, with candied ripe fruit. There's a sweet lacing of confected vanilla that suggests 15%-30% new French oak.

Laterals: Slightly oaked, ripe, New-World wine.
- Australia - Could fit Yarra / Mornington.
- Oregon - lacks the ripeness and dark fruit.
- Sonoma - lacks the ripeness and dark fruit - also would have more oak.
- New Zealand - lacks the depth of Otago, maybe Marlborough? But would have lower alcohol.

Final conclusion: 2016 Yarra Pinot, $20
Actual: 2015 Mt. Edward Central Otago Pinot (hand-selected by KL Wines).
2013 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury, Waipara
89 points

Medium minus ruby - lustrous.
Reductive nose - coinpolish and rubber. Some ripe red and black cherry, and maybe a hint of vanilla (oak?) but a bit hard to tell under the reduction.
Dry, medium plus body, 14% alcohol (actually 13.5%), medium plus acid, medium tannins - satiny. 30% new French oak.

Ripe new world style with heat and black fruit, but also good acid.

- Central Otago - fits structurally.
- Sonoma Coast - usually a bit riper in fruit character, less aggressive in acid, and higher in oak.
- Oregon - ??? I don't know much about Oregon.

Based on the higher acid, low usage of oak, and prominent tannins, I think this is:
Final call: 2015 Central Otago Pinot, $30
Actual: 2013 Pegasus Bay Pinot - Waipara Valley, 13.5%, NZ
25% whole cluster
40% new french oak

Analysis - this is pretty close, though maybe there should be more acid in Central Otago. Looks like I blinded the 2014 as Central Otago as well.
2011 Josef Walter Hundsrück Spätburgunder "J" Germany, Franken
89 points
Medium minus ruby with slight garnet at the rim.
Elevated intensity nose, hints of reduction, wet leaves, mid-ripeness red and black cherry (a bit dry), dried flowers, hints of dried cinnamon/nutmeg (40% new French oak). This is a really well-integrated, satiny-textured nose!
On the palate, super well-integrated and refined. Wet leaves, slight mushroom, slight vanilla oak (well-melded at this point). 14% alcohol (actually 13%), elevated acid, medium plus tannins (melted and silky). Long finish - dried leaves and cherry. Given the wet leaves, maybe 30% whole cluster / stem inclusion.

Well-contained alcohol, moderate use of new oak, New World style, with some graceful aging (10 years):
- Sonoma Pinot - not as earthy
- OR Pinot - not as earthy as this
- Central Otago - fits

Final call: 2011 Central Otago Pinot - $40-60.
Actually: 2011 Spatburgunder J Hundsruck trocken, Franken - Josef Walter - Germany - a Fass bottle ($47)
Analysis: This is a pretty good example of a greener/herbaceous style of Pinot. I wasn't too far off, though the alcohol is significantly lower than I thought.
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