jamie goode's wine blog: Pinot Noir from Canada

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pinot Noir from Canada

After a spell of rubbish wine, it was nice to open something tonight that I actually wanted to drink. Last night's fare was dire, although I'm loath to mention this for risk of becoming saddled with a Meldrew-of-wine reputation. Tesco's Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 was earthy, spicy and caramelly, with a bitter plummy finish. And then the 2003 Altano Douro showed a bitter green herbal character that spoiled the spicy, plummy red fruits that were this wines only redeeming virtue. With its drying finish I really didn't feel inspired to take a second sip.

So tonight it was with some relief that I uncorked the Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 2003 VQA Okanagan Valley. A Pinot Noir from Canada; more precisely, British Columbia, just inland from Vancouver. Now this is just what I want from Pinot. It's not big or heavy or rich. It isn't trying to show off its muscles, like a beach poseur. Instead, it's at ease with itself, offering up perfumed cherry and berry fruit, with just enough spicy, undergrowthy complexity on the palate to keep the drinker's attention. This is satisfying. It's not profound; indeed, I'm lured into thinking it's a bit simple, but then it surprises me with another dimension. I guess the ultimate test is whether I want to fill my glass again, and for the first time in a few nights, I do. (8.99 Sainsbury.)



At 1:15 PM, Blogger FiloBianco said...

Well, 2001 in Tuscany has been a great year, far superior to '97 and more reminiscent of 1990.

A tide lifts all the boats.


At 1:40 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

..but not this one, unless it's truly bad in other vintages

At 2:39 PM, Blogger ed said...

cool spot on the mission hill... i was on holiday out there last year and visited several vineyards in the okanagan valley... can also recommend "quails gate" if you can hold of it... not that you see BC wines over here that often...

At 5:49 PM, Blogger g58 said...


I hear praise for the Altano 2003, yet I'm with you. I opened it on Thursday night (before I read this post) and emptied the remainder into a mini bottle for who knows when. This wine shares a certain unyiedling quality that I find a lot of low-end Portuguese blends do (the Duque de Viseu Dao jumps to mind). Bitter, yes, green too... I'll have let you know whether a couple of days of mellowing makes this wine any more quaffable.

Nice to read about the Mission Hill Pinot Noir. I always keep their Pinot Blanc on hand as a reliable standby. Good to know I can now make this a "black and white" situation.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Douglas said...

Beautiful wine. Have you tasted their Vitis Labrusca Vidal?

At 5:42 AM, Blogger g58 said...

After giving the wine some time (quite a bit of time -- three days recorked in a half bottle) I came around in favour of that Altano Douro 2003: second review of this post


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