Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pinot Noir from Alsace, Burgundy, Italy & California

It’s time for a lot of Pinot Noir. Well, it’s always time for Pinot, but I recently tasted through a bunch of them from all over the world, most of which are not very expensive.

This report features a few leaner, zestier versions from Alsace, most of which I think over-deliver for the price. Speaking of good prices, we’ve also got some value-driven Pinots from lesser heralded villages in Burgundy. While not exactly thrilling, some of these $20-$25 bottles are seriously good for the money. Lastly, I’ve included a Pinot from Italy and a few from California that I received after I’d already conducted my California Pinot single-blind tastings for the fall.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Noir “E” - France, Alsace
SRP: $26
Juicy cherry color. Aromas of bright strawberries, red apple peel, rhubarb, white pepper and spiced tea. On the palate, I get brisk acidity with silky tannins, a bit lean in body but so fresh and tangy. Red apple, tart strawberries and red plums combine with complex elements of rose petal, sage, white pepper, tar and spiced black tea. Lovely now but could improve over the next few years. This isn’t a chewy, in-your-face kind of Pinot, but a lean and zesty one. If you like that style, this is really good stuff. (89 points)

2014 J.B. Adam Pinot Noir Alsace Les Natures - France, Alsace
SRP: $25
Light ruby color. Aromas of tart strawberries, white cherries, lots of rhubarb, some roses, black tea, hints of green olive. Medium-bodied with brisk, tart acidity and some dusty tannins for moderate structure. So brisk and bright in its red apple, cranberry sauce and wild strawberry fruit, backed up by white pepper, soy, green olive, the savory spice aspects get more and more complex with air. Deliciously zesty but this has a lot going on. Fermented in century-old casks and aged a year in bottle before release. (88 points)

2008 Hugel et Fils Pinot Noir Jubilee - France, Alsace
Winemaker Etienne Hugel died
earlier this year, way too soon,
but his great wines live on.
SRP: $42
Rich ruby color. Gorgeous nose of raspberry leaf tea, bright strawberries, red currants, topped with nettle, sage, some wet forest floor and mushroom notes as well. Vibrant acidity on the palate, dusty tannins, lots of complexity in this wine and it needs air to open up properly. I get tart red apple and wild raspberry fruit mixed wonderfully with notes of rose petals, savory spices and mushroom. A delicious wine but it’s so elegant and contemplative, too. Still lots of life ahead. From the limestone soils of the Pflostig vineyard. (91 points)

2014 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Pinot Noir Reserve - France, Alsace
SRP: $30
Vibrant rose color Aromas of lush red cherry and raspberry jam, very fruit-forward but lots of roses and sweet spice notes, too. Light/medium-boded with smooth tannins, but enough to frame the wine structurally, bright acidity. Juicy red cherries and raspberries taste so fresh and silky, and I get complex notes of rose petal, clay soil, pepper, bay leaf, and more savory notes come out with time. Plush but tangy, a more voluptuous wine (compared to the others) but it stays precise. Drinking wonderfully but I’d love to revisit in three or four years. (90 points)

N.V. Parigot & Richard Crémant de Bourgogn Rosé - France, Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne
SRP : $24
A salmon/copper color. Bright and floral aromas with chalk and toasted bread on top of raspberries, white cherries and rose hips. Fresh acidity, a bit lean, but really fresh and tart. White cherries, tart strawberries and watermelon rind with notes of chalk and cut flowers. (87 points)

2015 Maison Chanzy Rully En Rosey Rouge - France, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Rully
SRP: $22
Rich ruby color. Smells of juicy raspberries, cranberry sauce, lots of smoke and some pepper and pickling spices. Very smooth on the palate despite some grippy tannins, and the acid keeps it fresh. Darker, juicy black cherries and plum fruit, backed up by violets, dark soil, soy and some coffee. Plush but nicely structured, this is accessible now but really opens up after a few hours, and I’d love to taste it again in two to four years. Another great value, and it really shows some of the high quality but inexpensive options out there in the 2015 vintage. (88 points)

2015 Louis Latour Santenay - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Santenay
Really good Burgundy for $20!
SRP: $20
Medium ruby color. Smells of juicy cherries and red plums with some dusty earth and violet notes. On the palate this shows supple but structured tannins and fresh acidity, a nice balance. Red cherries and plum fruit is juicy and ripe and mixed with notes of dusty earth, violets, sage and some sweet cola. Open and quite pretty but should improve for a few years. Seriously good value right here!
(88 points)

2014 Gabriel Billard Bourgogne Cuvée Milliane Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne
SRP : $20
Bright ruby color. Smells of juicy cherries and sweet raspberries. More fruit-forward aromas but the fruit is still tart and lively and I get notes of roses and sweet cola. The acidity is quite tart and the tannins are light. This Pinot shows tangy red apples and wild strawberries along with notes of soil, leather and light roast coffee. Perhaps a bit thin, but it’s a fresh and tangy wine for early consumption. (85 points)

2014 Michel Magnien Fixin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Fixin
SRP: $28
Deep ruby color. Aromas of juicy red cherries and tart raspberries with some tobacco, rose hips and cedar. Medium-bodied, some moderate grip to the tannins, medium acidity. Flavors of darker cherries and raspberry jam, the fruit is touched with tobacco, earth, coffee, some wood and smoky campfire notes. Good stuff but could use some air or a year or two to open up. (87 points)

2014 Benoit Cantin Irancy - France, Burgundy, Côtes d'Auxerre, Irancy
SRP: $24
Medium ruby color. Very bright and tart on the nose with cherries, strawberries, roses and wildflowers. Fresh and zesty on the palate, medium-bodied, light-to-medium tannins, a fine dusty and tart feel to the wine. Tart strawberry and red apple peel blend with light earth tones. Ready to go right out of the bottle, good for those who like a brisker style. (86 points)

2015 Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir Rollhütt - Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Alto Adige - Südtirol
SRP: $18
Vibrant raspberry color. Smells like tangy strawberries, pomegranate and some green pepper, tobacco, raspberry leaf tea and a kick of rhubarb — very interesting aromas. Medium-bodied with light tannins and fresh acidity. Sour cherries mix with sweet strawberries and notes of tobacco, rhubarb and dill. Delicious, fresh, accessible Süditrol Pinot for a very reasonable price. (88 points)

2014 Frank Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - California, Napa/Sonoma, Carneros
SRP: $35
Pale ruby color. Aromatically rocking with lots of roses, nettle and sage on top of crisp, cool raspberries and cherries — lots of complex aromas pop with air. Full-bodied and velvety with smooth tannin and moderate acidity. Juicy strawberries and raspberry jam play off of cola, rhubarb, rose petal, white pepper, hints of caramel coffee. Rich and voluptuous (and some cellar potential) but it’s also vibrant and absolutely delicious. Aged 10 months in 1/3 new French oak. (89 points)

2014 Equavinity Pinot Noir - California, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $48
Light ruby color. Aromas of juicy raspberry and wild strawberry, crisp red apple peel, topped with rose hips, rhubarb, hints of mint and oregano. Full-bodied but smooth and silky with fine tannins and crisp acidity, makes it refreshing to sip despite richness of texture. Bright notes of red flowers, white pepper, lemon zinger tea, mint and eucalyptus. Lots going on here in terms of complexity and richness, but it’s so fresh and inviting, too. Aged 14 months in 25% new French oak. (90 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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