Posts Tagged ‘Pinot Noir’

Dirty Pinot

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

One of my bosses recently asked me to taste a bottle of Pinot that we import from New Zealand.  I asked him why and he indicated that there were a few people who recently let him know that they didn’t like it – it wasn’t fruity.

Anyone who knows my wine preferences or has been reading my blog long enough knows that I don’t particularly care for the new style of Pinot – big, rich, clean & fruity.  Those California Pinots getting the high scores – I can’t stand them.

Back to the New Zealand Pinot  – I was also showed a response by the winemaker to an inquiry about the wine from my boss.  It was really brilliantly written by a talented winemaker who has been making New Zealand Pinot for about 20 years.  In essence he said that Pinot is a strange and oftentimes unpredictable animal – ever evolving between clean pure red fruit to earthy, barnyardy & even a flat out dirty wine.

It is that Pinot complexity and unpredictability that attracts me and I would suspect so many others to the varietal.  As wine coincidences would have it, I recently read a piece by Robin Garr in the 30 Second Wine Advisor.  Garr’s “Pinot Theory of Evolution” speaks to Pinots amazing evolution in the glass… and I couldn’t agree more.

I am often blown away by the Burgundy I taste with my wine club.  The good ones are elegant, (not overpowering like so many new world Pinots), multi-dimensional (so many different characteristics) & complex (changing in the glass over time).  Sadly, Pinot is a tough animal and as good as the good ones are, that is how bad the bad ones are.

I tried that Pinot my boss asked me to taste and you know what, it was somewhat Burgundian in style…and it was spectacular!

Happy dirty & evolving Pinot Wine Tasting!


Tasting – Martin Scott Wines portfolio tasting 2008

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

It has been a while, but it is fall portfolio tasting season.  Which means WTG gets to put the ole palate back to work and taste lots of new wines.  It is an exciting time, but I wont be attending as many tastings as in years past.  TOO MUCH WORK.  I’m not complaining, but the life of an unemployed, aspiring wine professional affords for much more time to attend wine tastings than that of a wine salesperson/ entrepreneur.

wine evaluation

The tasting was great.  I traveled the wine world.  I tasted France, Italy, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and some California wines.  I sadly did not have enough time to get to Germany, Austria, Argentina, South Africa, Spain or parts of the US such as NY State, Oregon, Washington State or the Sake selection from Japan.

I tasted many of the wines with a friend and we focused on old world regions such as France and Italy. Given the slow evolution of my palate preferences, I was very excited to have the opportunity to taste some special wines presumably made in an old world style.  When i speak of an old world style, I am referring to wines that are not as fruit forward or extracted as those from new world regions such as Australia or California.  These wines may have more earthy or minerally nuances rather than fresh fruit & berry ones.

In all I tasted close to 70 wines – not bad for an out of practice taster.  We started in the Bordeaux section.  And while Bordeaux style blends are (had been?) some of my favorite wines, the ones I tasted today were not special to me.  Yes these wines do show better with food (although theoretically so do many wines), but I found the Bordeaux that I tried today to be lacking in fruit or other complexities – simply being wines that were overly tannic, acidic and unripe.

From Bordeaux we settled down in the Burgundy section.  WOW.  There was a very sweet and warm woman telling me about her move to Burgundy, prompted following a “visit” there.  She encouraged me to visit and I told her that based on the wines I was tasting I would never leave either.  I tasted a good deal of both red (Pinot Noir) and white (Chardonnay) burgundy. These wines were really good.  I must admit that I still prefer a good Cab to many of these wines, but I am really starting to understand why so many people consider good Burgundy to be the best wines in the world.

As to a specific standout, now that is tough.  I still have lots to learn about Pinot Noir and Burgundies in particular.  There were clearly some made in a more masculine style – bigger, less subtle & more aggressive, while others were more elegant, soft & subtle (those considered to be more feminine in style).  I don’t particularly care for the big California Pinots and as such I was not in love with the bigger burgundies.  Similar to how Cali Pinot often turns me off with its BIG artificial cherry flavor, some of the burgundies had strong cola aromas that did not bother me as much as Cali Pinot, but lacked the elegance that I am gaining an appreciation for with Burgundies.  I actually remarked at one point that some of these Burgundies reminded me of some Chateaunuef du Pape.  But these over-the-top Burgundies were far a few between.  For the most part they were a pleasure to taste and I really do feel privileged.

As to Chardonnay, or white burgundies, I enjoy a good chardonnay, but don’t seek them out.  I find that too many are either over-oaked (from new barrels) or overly buttery (from malolactic/secondary fermentation) or both.  And they lack the crisp acidity I seek in a nice white.  WELL, many of these white burgundies had amazing acidity to go along with their fruit and very well integrated oak.  Really great!

In addition to the Burgundies I had a very nice Chat du Pape, an excellent Super Tuscan, and what may have been my favorite of the tasting,  a Cote Rotie.  I’ve only tried 1 or 2 other Cote Roties in my short wine life, and the others were quite tannic.  I’m told that these long lived wines really need time to soften.  Well of the two I had tonight, the second one was soft, complex & LOOOONG.

The Domaine Jean – Michel Stephan 2005 Cote – Rotie “Coteaux de Tupin” was special.  Its complex aromas included white pepper, cola, coffee and what I decided was a forest pine perfume aroma.  WOW!  The wine was also so soft (not tannic) it was almost sweet – but not of course.  The taste lingered on my palate with its long finish and left me envious of those with extensive Cote Rotie collections.

In all it was a really fabulous tasting.  I hope you were able to enjoy just a little bit of it vicariously through me.

Happy spectacularly special wine tasting!


Monterey Wine Country

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

About an hour to an hour and a half South of San Francisco lay beautiful Monterey County.  Famous for its coastline, golf courses & amazing aquarium, Monterey County is also home to a budding wine country, with 40,000 acres of vines planted.

Last week I attended a press event put together by the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association. (more…)

My first blog entry – a blind date at a local wine bar…

Monday, November 26th, 2007

It’s late, I have a nice buzz, so I’ll keep this (first) one brief.

I went on a (blind) date with a nice young woman tonight. Another woman who “likes sweet wine” I took her to the local wine bar (yeah, real creative WTG). Although it is a Monday, the deadest night in the food/beverage industry, we waited about 20 minutes for a place to sit. I think that since I know and said hi to the owner, the hostess sat us at a table before another couple who had arrived before us. That other couple glared at us, and were clearly NOT happy.

On to the wine. The lady I was with likes sweet wine. But, she said, if the wine is not sweet, it should be red. Sweet & red??? OK, now I’m confused. There would be no sweet red wine served that night. I still have nightmares of thick, syrupy sweet red wine. NEVER AGAIN! I asked her how she felt about Cabernet. Blank stare. Do you like Merlot? Still nothing. Finally, I asked if she liked a big, chewy red, or a light red without the big mouth feel. Lite she said, although I think after 10 minutes of perusing the menu, she would have said whatever she thought would have gotten me to just order something already.

Lite it was, and we settled on a Pinot Noir. But now, where would the Pinot be from? Price was of course a concern. I would have loved to have splurged on a premier cru Burgundy, but I have yet to make my first million (does that count for anything anymore?). The waitress recommended a California Pinot, but at $80 bottle, kinda steep, especially for someone who is not a big fan of California Pinot – too fruity!  We settled on a New Zealand Pinot Noir priced at $44.

The Pinot, which had a screwcap (not a negative in my mind) and a cheesy label, was actually OK. It had some nice red fruit, but it also had a touch of earthiness, well integrated oak, a nice crisp acidity & a medium finish. My Napa contacts might kill me for saying this, but I think I preferred this wine to some of the high scoring California Pinot’s I have had. The Cali Pinot is SO DAMN FRUIT FORWARD. Even the Cali Pinot’s I was told would be “elegant” or “feminine” have this big artificial fruit taste to them. Bottom line, I had about 3+ glasses, my date had 1+ and we each left happy (I hope).

As to the date, well…..tune in to see if there is a second date.

Happy Monday!

-The Wine Tasting Guy (WTG).