An ultra-low production English Pinot Noir


Clearing out my wine racks today to see what’s there and what needs to be drunk. Found my entire production of 2010 Pinot Noir. A single bottle.

Let me explain. I have some vines in the back garden: Bacchus, Phoenix, Huxelrebe and Pinot Noir. Last year I didn’t harvest a crop, but the year before I did. So for fun, I made some wine, in the most primitive way you could imagine. I hand destemmed the Pinot Noir into a single demijohn and left the berries pretty much intact. They fermented naturally, and after a while I pressed them out and let them finish fermentation in a second demijohn. Total yield was just over a litre, so I bottled it with just a tiny bit of sulfur dioxide. One bottle: a used, washed screwcapped bottle.

I tried the wine tonight and I was pleasantly surprised. The white (two bottles), which was initially stinky (hydrogen sulfide), was clear and pale-coloured but quite oxidative, with some appley, grassy fruit. But the hydrogen sulfide notes that were overpowering at bottling had gone. This Pinot was clear, had a nice cherry red colour, and was actually pretty drinkable. A bit like a natural wine with real elegance and poise, good acidity, and pure cherry fruit, together with some subtle green herbal overtones. This will likely be pretty low in alcohol: I’m guessing 9%.

Considering how simply it was made, I’m really encouraged. Maybe I’ll make two bottles this year.

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