Fine Pinot Noir
Pinot Noirs are famed for their complex flavours, impressive versatility (when it comes to food pairings) and deep earthy notes. The pinot noir grapes in itself, are notoriously hard to grow and cultivate as they’re easily subjected to all kinds of diseases. However, winemakers who are successful have been able to produce some of the world’s finest wines (with prices to match!).
Recently United Cellars held an impressive 'Grand Cru' tasting series dedicated to some of the world's finest Pinot Noirs. If you can get along to one of United's events, in the future, do so, they are a fantastic way to learn about wine.
Gary Walsh from The Wine Front was on hand to independently taste all the wines on offer. You can read his assessment of the wines via the Wineosphere App.
The event covered some magnificent wines from Australia, New Zealand, USA, France, Germany & Austria.
Pinot Noir is produced in several wine growing areas of Australia, there were examples from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia and the regions of Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland and Yarra Valley in Victoria.
The Adelaide Hills is one of the largest geographical wine regions in Australia, and amongst the most diverse in terms of climate, soil and topography.
Mornington Peninsula is located one hour to Melbourne’s south. The cool maritime climate is influenced by Western Port Bay and Port Philip Bay on either side of the Peninsula. The area is a quintessential cool maritime, late ripening region ideally suited to growing aromatic and complex Pinot Noir.
South Gippsland, famous for its coastal beauty and diverse topography has emerged as a very promising Pinot Noir region. Thanks to the maritime influences from the often stormy Bass Strait, the vines enjoy a long, cool ripening season.
Vivid red soil of volcanic origins very deep and well drained with the first vineyard planted in 1837, the Yarra Valley is Victoria’s oldest viticultural area. Located in the “wine belt” surrounding Melbourne, this region is a patchwork of meso- climates due to its undulating topography, with vineyards being located from 50 to 400 metres. Located inland, it does receive some benefit from the ocean, which is approximately 70km to the southwest.
Central Otago is New Zealand’s highest and the world’s most southerly wine region situated at latitude 45o south. ringed by mountains and interlaced with lakes and deep river gorges, this is New Zealand’s most spectacular vineyard setting. The inland mountainous location provides New Zealand’s only semi-continental climate resulting in greater daily and seasonal extremes of temperature than found elsewhere in the country. The vineyards are also the highest in New Zealand, located between 200 and 400 metres above sea level. This unique climate combined with the mostly glacially derived soils, with rich deposits of mica and schist, is ideally suited to Pinot Noir (80% of the plantings), producing expressive and elegant wines.
Martinborough is the primary wine district within the Wairarapa region, located at the lower right-hand corner of New Zealand’s North Island, approximately an hour north- east of Wellington. Pinot Noir is the region’s most planted and certainly most acclaimed grape variety. The region’s vineyards tend to be planted on high alluvial terraces with deep stony and free draining soil. Climatically the area is blessed with low rainfall, high sunshine hours and cool nights.
For the past twenty or so years, pinotphiles the world over have kept a discerning eye on the Pinots emerging from the Willamette Valley in oregon, USA. on several occasions over the last two decades, when Mother Nature has smiled on oregon, the experts have voted oregon as the region most likely to challenge the wines of Burgundy. Sadly, like Burgundy, the great years come all too rarely to oregon. And so the question has remained about the region. Is it or is it not a serious New World challenger to the Burgundians?
That question may have now been answered. Starting with the vintage of 1998, oregon has experienced an unprecedented run of five consecutive excellent vintages. The top wines of 98 are well documented. The 1999 Vintage has been universally acclaimed (by even the sceptics) as oregon’s best ever.
The winemakers of oregon and California often lock horns over the relative merits of their respective Pinots. Most of California is far too hot to produce expressive Pinot of any standard. But in the microclimates of Caneros, Sonoma County, russian river and the Central Coast regions Pinot had found a home. outstanding examples are abundant. Differences of opinion concentrate on maters of style, not quality.
Burgundy is undoubtedly the home of the finest Pinot Noir in the World, where vineyards or domains have been producing wines for over 2000 years. Burgundy is located in the north- east of France, an hours drive from Lyon and 2 hours from Paris.
With over 100 appellations, or sub-regions (more than any other wine region), Burgundy is known for being the most terroir-orientated region in the World. The finest red wines of Burgundy are found in the cote d’or, a string of villages including Cote de nuits, Gervey-Chambertin, Moret-Saint- Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-romanee and Nuits Saint Georges.
There are flavours present in great Burgundy that are the envy of Pinot Noir producers worldwide. The elusive peacocks tail finish that goes on and on, and the pretty elegance backed by Burgundy muscle is the goal of winemakers around the globe.
Germany, Austria & Alsace, France
Pinot Noir cultivation has grown steadily in recent years to encompass almost 12,000 hectares, making Germany the third largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. Preferring the cool climates so that it has longer maturing period to combine flavours and acidity. The resulting harmonious balance is why German wine regions are so well-suited to Pinot Noir production.
Burgenland is a large wine-producing region on the eastern border of Austria. Vineyard land surrounds the Neusiedlersee lake, which has a huge influence on the styles of wine that are produced here. Burgenland occupies a narrow strip of land that runs from the Danube river down to Steiermark in the south.
Pinot Noir, originally from Burgundy, is the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace. Principally used in the production of light and fruity wines, Pinot Noir is vinified more and more commonly as a red grape, thus reviving an ancient tradition.
Regional content supplied by United Cellars. Independent reviews by The Wine Front.
If, however you’d like to find about the best pinot noirs in Australia and read some expert reviews, download the wineosphere app for free and see the wines.