Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Mature Australian Premium Pinot Noirs - And A Burgundy

These days, there are at least 10 Australian producers, whose Pinot Noirs can be cellared with benefit for quite some time. Over the last few days, I tried wines from three of them. They all come from the wine growing belt around Melbourne, in this case Gippsland, Macedon Ranges and Mornington.

The 2006 Bass Phillip 21 Pinot Noir is an unusual labelling. During this year, Phillip Jones did not produce his premium labels. When this happens, winemakers claim it enhances the base wine, but one has to assume that the grapes for the base wine have also suffered, so maybe the premium grapes just create a counter force. In any event, this wine drinks well after six years. It is made with wild ferment yeast and tastes quite funky. In contrast to the other wines, it has a lighter colour and strawberry flavours. It has an ethereal character and a smooth finish. It drinks well at this age, but will go on well for a few years.

The 2005 Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir is different. The colour is darker, and the taste is of black cherry. I find the flavour a bit metallic (am I influenced by the name?), and the mouthfeel is not as good as with the Bass Phillip. On the other hand, the wine has good length.

The 2006 Curly Flat Pinot Noir is still a big wine (a Shiraz drinker's Pinot Noir?). It's flavour profile is similar to the Kooyong, but the mouthfeel is more rounded. On the other hand, this wine is maybe less defined than the Kooyong.

In conclusion, all these wines perform well after six to seven years. They have maintained their characteristics displayed early on. The Kooyong and Curly Flat perform similar to top Central Otago wines, whereas Bass Phillip is more Martinborough, if these reference points mean anything to you.

Score: 93-94/++

I also compared these wines with a 2005 Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 'Boudriotte'. Ramonet is predominantly known for Chardonnay, but this Pinot Noir from a superb vintage is impressive. Its flavour is dark cherry, and the structure not dissimilar to the Kooyong. The fruit is not as concentrated as in the Australian wines, but it has a strong structure and an impressive long finish, displaying the Burgundian fan, an expanding mouthfeel on the finish.

Score: 94/++

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