Archive for the ‘Pinot Noir’ category

Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rose 1998

November 15, 2008

Last week I got an unexpected invitation for a Laurent-Perrier tasting hosted by Ludovic de Lageard that I couldn’t resist. A house with a long history and a remarkable chairman in Bernard de Nonancourt, ups, downs but above all some truly magnificent wines. Freshness and fruitiness are near New World characteristics with  oxidation avoided at all cost. At an annual production of around 8 million bottles – the third largest in Champagne – this approach has clearly paid off in impeccable pureness of every wine in the range with the majestic Grand Siècle at the pinnacle. This Cuvée Prestige surely can be regarded as the essence of Champagne with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from three different vintages blended in a wine with brilliant elegance, finesse and harmony. However, for me the real star of the tasting was the Alexandra Rosé 1998, a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay so delicate and sophisticated de Lageard decided to start the tasting with it. Pink salmon in the glass with a fine appearance and mousse it shows complexity and depth with scents of orange peel, flowers, cherry, currants, strawberries, dried apricots and hint of controlled oxidation. The palate is all about the indulgently soft, velvety and creamy mouthfeel, with lively fruit and crisp acidity further adding shape. It’s pureness, balance and elegance make this one of the better rosés I’ve had so far. 95 points

Source: MGM Wine Distributions  Price: $400  Drink: Now-2015+



Dom Perignon Oenotheque 1985

November 11, 2008

So Barack Obama has finally claimed victory in what certainly was a historical election. On the 20th of January 2009 he’ll be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America, exactly 24 years after Ronald Reagan started his second term in 1985. What amazes me is how things have changed over this period of time, politically, physically and technologically, testimonies of an ever evolving matter called World. How could an event as this be welcomed better than with a little note on one of the more lustre Champagnes, changed in its own way since it was born in what is described as one of the region’s more elegant and subtle vintages? After 14 years on lees – this 1985 has been disgorged in 1999 – and a further 9 years in bottle, its colour has slowly evolved from the usual pale straw to a deep golden yellow with a fine and persistent bead disclosing its ongoing youthfulness and longevity. The palate is full and voluptuous showing citrus, hazelnuts, yeast, toasted bread, vanilla, mushrooms and earth with an ever present framework of lemony acid creating liveliness, freshness and elegance carrying through to the long finish. Given its extended lees ageing and relatively long time on cork after disgorgement, this wine clearly shows its age and with its current level of freshness I’m glad this hasn’t been kept in the cellar for another 10 years. 94 points 

Source: Cellar   Price: $500  Drink: now-2012

Faiveley Mercurey Clos du Roy 2005

July 1, 2008

The combination between Faiveley and the appellation of Mercurey is one that delivers pretty good wines at reasonable prices. My expectations of the Clos du Roy were high after the outstanding 2005 Mercurey Clos de Myglands of the same producer. But where the latter had some elegance and subtlety, this premier cru shows the robustness wines from this appellation usually offer. Deep ruby in colour the nose displays dark berry fruit, plums and wet earth following through on a  straightforward palate with rather firm, mouth drying tannins. Although this wine needs more time to come together a bit, it certainly won’t shed off its frankness. 88 points

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $65  Drink: Now-2012+


De Bortoli Gevrey-Chambertin Combe du Bas 2004

February 10, 2008

img_4156.jpgHow can the New and Old world be better united than in this wine? Made by De Bortoli’s Bill Downie and Steve Webber the fruit is sourced from old vines grown on the Combe du Bas, a climat east of the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. Like any serious Pinot Noir triage of the hand-picked grapes ensured only healthy, undamaged berries went into the wine that has been made according to the philosophy of minimal intervention. The outcome is a ruby red wine with aromas of raspberry, cherry, spice and undergrowth that lead to a straightforward, focused and well balanced palate where fresh primary fruit, firm tannins and ample acidity combine power with finesse. This young wine will develop further complexity over the next 5 to 10 years. 90+ points

Source: De Bortoli  Price: $85  Drink: 2009-2017


Lillian Lefroy Brook Pinot Noir 2006

February 1, 2008


A vineyard is something I can appreciate aesthetically with neat, orderly rows of vines as an agricultural mosaic against an often spectacular background. In Europe you can think about medieval villages full of history whereas in Australia vineyards are often merged into the pristine natural environment. It is this contrast between man and nature that fascinates me, a contrast of beauty and sometimes of struggle. One of the most dramatic backgrounds I know is the Gloucester Tree National Park in Pemberton where the tiny Lefroy Brook vineyard lies humble between the towering and mighty Karri trees, a tranquil oasis where only the changing gears of the moterbike frogs and the songs of innumerable birds can be heard. And this is where the stuggle starts, especially with the little Silvereyes who can decimate the entire crop the weeks before vintage. That’s the reason why pioneer vignerons Pat and Barbara Holt have netted the vineyard permanently, although occasionally the persistant ones can’t resist the ripening fruit, mobilising an entire army of worried winelovers to gently guide it out again.

The in 1982 planted vineyard is the oldest in Pemberton and a front-runner for Pinot Noir in this region. With the great wines of Volnay as ultimate model, it doesn’t come as a suprise that the set-up is entirely Burgundian with the single-guyot pruned vines spaced one by one metre. In those early days the in Australia existing clones droopy and upright were obtained from Bill Panell at Moss Wood, the domaine where the wines were made until 2005. The 2006 vintage marks a new era with neighbouring industry legend John Brocksopp making the wines and this unique combination of viticultural dedication and masterful winemaking pays of straight away with the first release of the Pinot Noir under the Lillian label. Deep ruby in the glass the nose captures your senses straight away with a seductive array of aromas reminiscent of violets, cherry, raspberry and beetroot subtly coiled by spicy oak. The palate shows ample fruit, complexity and restrained power marked by a linear, mineral spine of acid that is so typical for Brocksopp’s wines. Graceful, balanced and persistant this brilliant wine equals the efforts of Dhillon, Moraghan and Jones. 94 points 

Source: winery sample  Drink: 2009-2015

Bouchard Pere et Fils Monthélie Clos les Champs Fulliot 2005

January 29, 2008

img_3997.jpgThe appellation of Monthélie is one of the last strongholds of Pinot Noir before the land gives way to the great Chardonnay vines of Meursault, Chassagne and Puligny in the south. The slopes north of the village are adjacent to the renowned vineyards of Volnay, and it is in this area of Monthélie, the Coteau de Volnay, where the best Premier Crus are found. Clos les Champs Fulliot is one of them, situated on the same Bathonian limestone as Volnay’s Clos des Chênes and Les Santenots, but not the same ideal east-southeast exposition of the latter. So this is where terroir kicks in and where faults, combes and a multitude of soiltypes can make an enormous impact as is shown in this wine. Fleshy and taut rather then fragrant and elegant its nose shows a lot of spice, undergrowth, dark cherries, plum and a hint of violets while on the tightly knit and balanced palate robust tannins and firm acidity fully control the underlying fruit characters that scream to be set free. This wine simply needs a couple of years to shake off its youthful clumsiness. 89+

Source: Domaine Wine Shippers  Price: $79.99  Drink: 2010-2016


Domaine Collotte Chambolle Musigny 2005

November 17, 2007

img_3767.jpgTo define quality most writers use descriptors that indicate the texture, balance, complexity, power and length of a wine. A very good wine must have another dimension though, one that indicates terroirmaking it true to its origin. The 2005 Chambolle Musigny from Phillipe Collotte shows this dimension extremely well. The excellent situated Aux Échanges, fruit from mature vines and yields at only 35 hl/ha form the viticultural ingredients for a wine that stands well above its communal level. Intensely ruby-red in the glass it displays a beautiful scented nose of raspberries, cherries, spices and some earth while the silky delicacy of the palate underpins the elegance and femininity of a wine from this appellation. And of course, balance, complexity, length, good acid and subtle tannins, it’s all there but for me it is the typicité that makes the difference. 91 points. 

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $85  Drink: Now-2013+