Thursday, September 8, 2011

153 Pinot Noirs

The mammoth Pinot Noir Australia was on again at The Woollahra Hotel in Sydney last night. You cannot hope to taste half the wines, but I gave it a good shot. Prior to the tasting, I made a list of 15 producers whose wines I wanted to taste, and most of them were there except for boutique producers Bass Phillip, William Downie and Main Ridge.

As I tried to get through a lot of wine, I only made a few notes. Therefore, this post will summarize my general impressions.

1) There is very little bad Pinot produced these days. Mind you, I selected experienced producers. They were (in no particular order) Shelmerdine, Giant Steps, Yabby Lake, By Farr, Ocean Eight, Yarraloch, Narkoojee, Dalrymple, Kooyong, Freycinet, TarraWarra, Coldstream Hill, Penfolds, Heemskerk, Curly Flat, Giaconda, Lethbridge, Moss Wood, Stefano Lubiana, Stonier, Lerida, Port Phillip, Yering Station, Tyrells, Scotchmans Hill, Paringa, Toolangi, Salitage, Bay of Fires, Marchand & Burch, Scorpo, Domaine A, Bindi, MacForbes, Bannockburn. Not a bad list.

2) Most Pinots now have savoury characteristics. Sometimes they match the fruit, sometimes they dominate, but the time for fruit bombs is gone, it seems.

3) The fruit flavours are pared back, in particular on the Mornington Peninsula where Pinot often tasted like young Shiraz. Good examples are Paringa and Yabby Lake who used to make full-on Pinot, but now produce more differentiated wines (vintages 07-09).

4) There were not many wines I would classify as outstanding, which would require the 'Burgundian fan' expanding on the back palate. Australian producers have difficulty with this. Close came 09 By Farr 'Sangreal', 07 Giaconda (a very positive surprise), 10 Marchand & Burch 'Mount Barrow', 09 Bindi Block 5, and 08 Heemskerk

5) The gap between Tasmania and Victoria (which until now I thought was still significant) is narrowing. Wines from Heemskerk, Domaine A and Freycinet impressed.

6) The excellent value for money wine was the 2010 Lethbridge Pinot Noir Menage a Noir with good length and $23 per bottle.

If you have any questions, please ask.


Chris Plummer said...

Sounds like quite the tasting Alontin.

You'll have to give us the heads up on next year's event, so I can book my ticket to Sydney. :)

I'm serious ya know... ;)

Chris P

Alontin said...

You are welcome. Hopefully I won't forget.

How were the Coonawarra Shirazes?


Chris Plummer said...

Honestly Alontin, to sum it up in one word, disappointing. :( Petaluma's 1991 Coonawarra was a real highlight though. :-)