A quick comparative Pinot Noir tasting (and drinking)

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So tonight, I have four Pinot Noirs open. A chance to do some comparative tasting.

I love Pinot Noir. It’s such a great grape variety. So, for me, this is a joy of an evening. How do the wines rate?

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir 2011 Casablanca Valley, Chile
I actually opened this wine yesterday evening, and I didn’t like it then. But coming back to it a day later, it’s much better. Some chocolate and spice on the berry fruits nose. The palate has lovely vivid, meaty, fresh cherry and berry fruits. Quite supple and sweet but with nice elegance, and some grippy, spicy tannins from the wood. This has a lovely core of sweet cherry fruit, but it needs more time. At the moment it’s a little angular and closed in. 91/100 (available from Asda wine online, http://direct.asda.com/Wine/ £16.97)

Bouchard Pere et Fils Savigny-Les-Beaune 2011 Burgundy
Vivid cherry and spice, quite angular with some woody, grippy notes as well as the bright cherry fruit. Lacks the sweetness of fruit to carry the structure and comes across as angular and firm. 86/100 (£16.99 Waitrose)

Karl H Johner Spatburgunder Kaisterstuhl 2010 Baden, Germany
Highly aromatic with that sweet leafy, herby character that so many German Pinots possess, as well as supple, bright, floral red cherry fruit. The palate is sweet, fresh, fruity and silky with a distinct green herby edge to the fresh fruit, as well as a hint of Bovril. Not too serious, but silky and seductive. Good value. 91/100 (£13.95 The Wine Society)

Vina Leyda Lot 21 Pinot Noir 2008 Leyda Valley, Chile
Ripe, smooth, sweet raspberry and cherry fruit with hints of meat and spice. It’s a ripe style of Pinot, but there a smoothness and elegance here, as well as fine, spicy undercurrents. Concentrated and smooth, with real finesse, this is pretty serious. 94/100 (bought a few years ago from The Wine Society for around £16)

So three hits and a miss. The miss was the Burgundy. I’m not totally convinced by Chilean Pinot yet, but these were two good bottles.

7 comments to A quick comparative Pinot Noir tasting (and drinking)

  • Good post, what was the year on the 20 barrels?

  • Hi Jamie, yes, Pinot noir will be the next thing for chilean wines. The are new vineyards with very good material (was not in the past) and planted in different kind of sites and different kind of cool climates, going from windy sunny in Elqui to burgundy climate in Malleco. Lot 21 was the first real limestone chilean Pinot noir, made by a great Pinotphile, Rafael Urrejola.

  • Hi Pedro, I’m looking forward to seeing some lovely Pinots from Chile.
    Andrew, it was the 2011, now corrected in the text

  • Oh No! Where is the pinot from Oregon to compare… Oregon pinot has been blowing my socks off for years. Maybe not the best value, but certainly the closest to Burgundian style red wines I have tasted. If you are looking for some great value pinots from the U.S., try the Santa Barbara and Mendocino areas. The Sonoma Coast and Russian River areas are approaching Willamette Valley quality at roughly the same price point. I miss the funky nose of the Burgundy though…

  • Ralph

    The Burgundy is a miss… Well, what else is new? I have spent so much hard earned cash on red Burgundy and have been disappointed so many times, I will never buy another bottle again.

  • Paul Dove

    I completely empathise with Ralph re – duff red Burgundy. But good stuff does exist for under £20. I only wish wine critics like Jamie would steer us towards it more often.

    For example, Waitrose’s Drouhin Chorey-Les-Beaune for £15.99 is excellent for the money in terms of fruit, balance and finesse. I’ve tried the 2009 and 2010 and both are reliable.

  • S.M.

    Always glad to see a comparative Pinot Noir tasting and what the results are, especially glad to see a Baden Kaiserstuhl Spatburgunder on the list. As that’s pretty close to my home town, so good to see German Pinot Noir building a reputation for it’s self.

    I have so far only had one Chilean Pinto Noir “Root 1″ Casablanca Valley, not an outstanding Pinot but drinkable. The interesting thing was that in my opinion it outperformed a Kim Crawford Pinot, don’t remember if it was Martinborough or Otago but with the big name & everything it was rather disappointing.

    For me it seems that Pinot can be a risky cultivar but the more you taste/drink the more chances are that you will find a good one.

    Cheers!

    Solomon Mengeu

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