Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Felton Road, Kosta Browne, Dumol Pinot Noirs

Felton Road and Kosta Browne are leading Pinot Noir producers in New Zealand and the US. I recently tasted a few of their wines from 2010 and 2011. As not many of you will have access to these wines, I will just make some general comments of my impressions.

The Pinot Noir wines of these producers age well. Primary fruit is still strong after 7 years and the structures are holding up well. However, and this is a big however, it is not obvious that the wines have improved with age. When these wines are young, they are just as attractive to drink; well balanced, great oak integration.

There are many similarities: red and black cherry fruit, not much forest undergrowth character, silky tannins, smooth finish.

The main difference is the fuller mouthfeel of Kosta Browne, but it is not a blockbuster, it is a pleasing sensation. The Felton Road wines are a bit edgier and have more drive. Overall I call it a draw.

Where these leading new world wines are still behind grand cru Burgundy: These French wines show more complexity on the palate after some years and an expanding finish, which is only rarely experienced from new world Pinot Noir.

Another star producer in the making is DuMol from Sonoma. Their estate vineyard has the highest density planting in California. I recently tasted two of their 2014 Pinot Noirs. The Russian River Pinot Noir has a profile of very black fruit, cherry and licorice. It is elegant with good length. The Estate Pinot Noir is similar, with more concentrated fruit. The hallmark of DuMol is the combination of fruit intensity and elegance. This is a producer well worth seeking out.

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