Around the World With Pinot Noir tasting Notes courtesy of Ken Bracke, Sommelier



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Around the World With Pinot Noir tasting Notes courtesy of Ken Bracke, Sommelier

Around the World With Pinot Noir tasting Notes courtesy of Ken Bracke, Sommelier

“A full house of enthusiastic and keen Pinot Lovers were in attendance. Lots of discussion, learning, some great Pinots , and loads of fun!!” -  Ken Bracke, Sommelier

Author: Alison Phillips/Wednesday, February 14, 2018/Categories: Events, Tasting Notes, Wine

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1. Alois Lageder Pinot Noir 2015 Sudtirol, Alto Adige, Italy, $28.49 750 ml. 13% abv

The family estate Alois Lageder (pronounced "ah-loh-ISlah-GAY-der") is a synonym for the highest standard of quality in viticulture and winemaking, for a sustainable, holistic corporate philosophy, and for a wide spectrum of cultural and artistic activities. Founded in 1823, and now directed by Alois Lageder and Alois Clemens Lageder, representing the fifth and sixth generation of family ownership, the estate combines tradition and innovation. The eponymous winery is located in the northeastern Italian province of Alto Adige. The region belonged to Austria until after World War I, which explains why many of the wines don't taste stereotypically Italian and why wine labels are written in German as well as Italian. Their Pinot Noir comes from selected sites in Appiano and Pochi. Vinification: Fermentation: maceration in stainless steel tanks. Maturation: concrete vessels and casks (approximately 12 months) Winemaker’s Notes:Eye: ruby-red with a garnet shimmer. Nose: fresh aromatics, fruity (red berries, cherry,) mineral. Palate: medium-bodied, varietal tipicity, spicy, fruity, soft.

  1. La Crema Pinot Noir 2015 Monterey, California, $28.99 750 ml. 13.5% abv.

La Crema was founded in 1979, and over the years has expanded its collection of vineyards to include the Russian River Valley but also Sonoma Coast, Green Valley, Fort Ross-Winemaker’s Notes: Aromas of black plum, cherry, rhubarb and hints of earth and loam. Flavors of red plum, raspberry and blood orange are underpinned by distinctive river stone minerality and savory umami character. Plush and richly textured with juicy, yet balanced acidity and integrated toasty barrel spice.

  1. Seguin Manuel Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015, Côte de Beaune, France $31.99 750 ml.

Thibault Marion was born into a vigneron family with a long history of wine making in Beane (10 generations), but he didn’t enter the scene until his decision to give up his successful career as a Paris advertising executive and return to his family roots at Chanson Pere & Fils, where he worked for seven years and took oenology courses by correspondence. In 2004 he purchased Domaine Seguin-Manuel, founded in 1824, and has completely retooled the entire operation. His motto is to maintain high quality:in the vineyards: no use of chemicals, reducing yields, hand picking in small cases. In the winery: hand sorting, natural fermentation in oak vats, bottling without filtration. The Bourgogne Pinot Noir represents his entry level wine. Vinification: The grapes come from vineyards on the Côte de Beaune, from vineyards around Volnay, Chorey-lès-Beaune and Savigny-lès-Beaune. After a fermentation of 14 days, the wine has been partly matured in French oak for 10 months before bottling. Winemaker’s Notes: Nice ruby colour. It is aromatic on the nose with stylish aromas of red berries and floral nuances. Elegant, it shows nice fruit purity on the palate. It is well-balanced and generous. Tannins are well integrated and make the wine already appealing.

  1. Lyric By Etude Pinot Noir 2015 Santa Barbara County, California, $29.99 750 ml. 14.3% abv.

Etude Wines is dedicated to the study of craft of winegrowing. In classical music, an etude is a composition with a technical focus that allows the musician to practice a particular technique. Similarly, Etude wines are the product of deliberate concentration on the instructive variables of the craft. Etude’s winemaking philosophy remains steadfast with this Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and the wine was crafted with very minimal winemaking intervention in order to reflect the unique terroir of North Canyon and Fiddlestix Vineyards. Vinification: the Lyric undergoes open-top fermentation with extended time on the skins and is then aged for 11 months in French oak barrels. Winemaker’s Notes: Rich in ripe cherry, red raspberry and fresh strawberry, this youthful Pinot Noir drinks complex with hints of cinnamon, cardamom, sandalwood and cola. Offering an elegant structure, silky tannins and bright acidity, this Pinot Noir is captivating in its youth and makes a wonderful counterpart to a variety of dishes.

  1. Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2012 Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $42.99 750 ml. 14.5% abv.

1970 was winding down when founders, Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser pulled their '68 VW Camper up to an abandoned prune orchard some 30 miles southwest of Portland. These moonstruck kids had little farming experience and just a basic knowledge of winemaking. What they did have, in abundance, was a passion for growing the Pinot Noir grape and creating world-class wine. Soon after settling on this extraordinary land, they planted their first vines and cinched their place as pioneers in Oregon's budding wine industry.

Although consistently good Pinot Noir is made, here are the words of winemaker Alex Sokol Blosser, “This (2012) was a great vintage. Period. I will most likely never see another vintage like this in my life time.” Vinification: Careful hand harvesting. Hand sorting of every grape before it goes into a fermenter; for Pinot Noir, the grapes are de-stemmed without crushing, to preserve as many whole berries as possible. Fermentation in small lots and aging 16 months in French oak.Winemaker’s Notes: Our 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is a ready to drink out the gate. With a lower percentage of new oak, our intent is to emphasize the presence of fruit. Expressive and bright, this wine showcases dark fruit flavors of cherry and blueberry with earthy and spicy characteristics that are reflective of our Jory soil.

  1. Squealing Pig Wines Squealing Pig Pinot Noir 2016 Central Otago, New Zealand, $23.99 750 ml $23.99

Squealing Pig was established in 2011 and winemakers Spring Timlin and Duncan Shouler bring a fresh, innovative spirit to their work. The winery is located in Central Otago, near the bottom of New Zealand's South Island, and it vies for the title of world's most southerly wine region. Vineyards cling to the sides of mountains and high above river gorges in this dramatic landscape. Pinot Noir has proven itself in this challenging terroir, and takes up nearly three-quarters of the region's vineyard area. Typical Central Otago Pinot Noir is intense and deeply colored, with flavors of plum, sweet spice and bramble. Vinification: The fruit for this wine was selected from cool, elevated sites in Central Otago. At the winery, the fruit underwent an initial cold soak for 2 days to maximise colour and flavour extraction. The wine was inoculated with a special Pinot Noir yeast strain to enhance complexity and texture, plunged up to 3 times daily. Tannin structure was further developed by leaving the wine on skins for 10 days. The wine was then pressed and matured in a selection of new and seasoned French oak barriques, maturing for 10 months. Filtered and bottled. Winemaker’s Notes: Colour: Rich plummy purple. Nose: The nose is like berry pie straight out of the oven filled with wild plums, blackcurrant and spice. Palate: The palate is like liquid heaven rich and full, packed with ripe cherries and black currants, framed by toasty oak. Hints of dried tobacco are complimented by layers of fine tannin, creating an opulent texture that flows to a lingering finish.

  1. Fox Trot Vineyards Fox Trot The Waltz Pinot Noir 2013 VQA Naramata, B.C. $54.99 750 ml. 13.4% abv.

Every year, just in time for harvest, Foxtrot has had a resident black bear around the vineyard. Sometimes he has been known to make an appearance at picking time and pickers would comment that it looked like he was dancing when standing up on his hind legs. At the winery they have come to affectionately call him Fred.

Foxtrot’s home vineyard is situated on the upper Naramata Bench with the old lake level cutting through the middle of the vineyard. This means there are two distinct soil types in their upper and lower vineyard sections. The lower blocks are alluvial and yield fruit with softness, perfume and rich berry qualities. The upper vineyard consists of glacial till, contributing spiciness, rich structure and concentration. The Waltz Pinot Noir is a blend from the Henricsson (75%), Fox (20%), and Raisin D’Etre (5%) Vineyards all located on the Naramata Bench. Vinification: At the winery the fruit was separated into various lots, 33% whole cluster, and cold macerated for 4 days. After cold maceration the fermentation vats were warmed and inoculated with different yeasts. Manual punch downs were performed over a 14 day period. At the completion of fermentation the juice was transferred into 50% new and 50% second and third fill French Francois Freres oak barrels, where it underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged for a period of 20 months. Prior to bottling the wine was racked and went unfiltered into bottle. Winemaker’s Notes: The Waltz shows bright red fruit characteristics complemented by spicy notes and a slight earthiness.Its bright acidity, framed by silky tannins, combined with a lengthy finish make this a wine that can be enjoyed now or laid down for 5+ years.

  1. Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir Limited Edition 2014 El Triangulo Estate, Casablanca Valley, Chile, $25.99 750 ml. 13.5% abv      THIS WAS THE CROWD FAVOURITE OF THE NIGHT!

Cono Sur Vineyards and Winery was founded in 1993 with the vision of producing premium, expressive, and innovative wines conveying the spirit of the New World. The name refers to the company’s geographic location: it represents wines made in South America’s Southern Cone. From the start, Cono Sur applied new ideas and technology to traditional winemaking. In 1996, Cono Sur decided to tackle the challenge of making their first premium wine: Pinot Noir was the chosen variety and in its inaugural production, twenty barrels of the best fruit that the vintage provided was set aside. The range’s name was coined after those first twenty barrels. The grapes are hand harvested, selected, and destemmed. Vinification: The grapes were destemmed but not crushed and were put through a carbonic maceration in small vats at low temperature for a week, and then they were foot trodden and fermented with manual pigeage (punching down). The wine was moved by gravity to French oak barrels where it completed one year aging, but 20% of the volume spent that time in concrete eggs. Winemaker’s Notes:An elegant and voluptuous Pinot Noir with a bright ruby red coloring. The nose presents amazing finesse and complexity, where notes of fresh cherry, strawberry, raspberry and plum, mingle with background hints of leather and smoke. Outstanding extraction and a deliciously long and soft finish. This sophisticated and complex wine is the result of New World fruit vinified according to traditional Burgundy methods.

  1. Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand, $31.99 750 ml. 13% abv.

The Nobilo story began in 1943, when namesake Nikola Nobilo moved from his native Croatia to New Zealand. Combining over 300 years of his families’ winemaking tradition, Nikola was an early champion for New Zealand wine. He recognized the pristine landscape was ideal for Sauvignon Blanc with expansive sunlight valleys, rolling hills and mineral rich soils creating a unique fresh and crisp flavor profile. His focus on quality and a move toward varietal wines helped guide the industry to its success today. Today, winemaker David Edmonds continues his passion, crafting fresh, vibrant wines. Icon is the flagship of Nobilo Wines: the fruit is sourced from the Ballochdale vineyard in the Awatare valley of Marlborough. Vinification: The grapes were harvested and destemmed without crushing. This allows for a portion of whole berries in the ferment. The grapes were coldsoaked for five days with gentle, daily plunging to promote extraction of color and flavor without harsh tannins.

After the tanks were warmed to 64˚F, specialized Burgundy yeast strains were added. The tanks were allowed to reach a maximum of 90˚F and plunged up to four times a day. The wine sat on the skins until the rich, dark-red color was achieved. 100% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was barrel matured, 25% in new French oak. Winemaker’s Notes: A rich mouth filling Pinot Noir with enticing red berry flavors like ripe blackberries, black cherries and plums with lingering flavor.A complex wine with integrated oak and velvety tannins.

  1. Norman Hardy Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, $39.99 750 ml. 12.3% abv

Norman Hardy was born in South Africa, moved to Toronto as a teen and fell in love with wine while completing his sommelier certification in Dijon, France. He came back to Toronto and worked as the sommelier at the Four Seasons before spending 6 years and 12 vintages making wine around the world. Eventually, he found his perfect vineyard site in Hillier, Prince Edward County. In 2003 he planted 12,000 Pinot Noir vines and in 2004 planted an additional 3,000 Chardonnay and 2,000 Pinot Gris vines. It wasn't an easy road. "People thought I was insane", says Hardie. "I could have made wine anywhere in the world and I chose Prince Edward County which, at that point, was far from a proven ground and by no means a guarantee. Everything took time and needed to be built from the ground up." Now, his wines are critically acclaimed. Vinification: Cold maceration of 7 days, indigenous yeast fermentation with two punch downs daily. The wine was pressed in small batches in a traditional basket press. Aged in 228L French oak barrels for 9 months. Natural malolactic fermentation, bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimum sulphur. Winemaker’s Notes: Grown out of a cooler year the tension in this Pinot Noir is something that we strive to achieve. Nose and palate are laced with beautiful tones of ripe raspberry, dark fruit and herbal nuances of thyme and rosemary. The palate appears to start off lightly, but builds beguiling depth with complexity of flavour as the wine opens in glass and bottle. The hallmark of this wine is its long, pure finish.

  1. Bodegas Rolland Mariflor Pinot Noir 2011 Vista Flores, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina $27.99 750 ml. 15% abv

French winemaker and famous wine consultant Michel Rolland has earned a reputation in Argentina and around the world for his ability to find unique vineyard sites that can produce the highest quality grapes. The Mariflor vineyard has come to life based on a vision Michel and his wife, Dany (also an acclaimed winemaker), had when they first laid eyes on the Uco Valley's rocky soil and desert climate set against the Andes peaks. The Mariflor Pinot Noir is a must-try variety; grown at an astounding 3,600 feet above sea level. Vinification: The grapes are vinified, with no pumping, using gravity, in small thermoregulated vats, manual punching, then in new barrels in which the wine is left to age on the lees for 12 to 14 months. Tasting Notes: silky elegance with a nose of ripe raspberries and wild berries… well-balanced between sweetness and structure that can be appreciated young and age with harmony.

Around The World With Pinot Noir Sources

Johnson, Hugh, and Robinson, Jancis, The World Atlas Of Wine: 7th Edition Completely Revised & Updated, Octopus Publishing Group, London, 2013

MacNeil, Karen, The Wine Bible, Workman Publishing, New York, 2001

Mariani, John,  Despite So Many Options, La Crema Wines Keep Their Own Style, Huffington Post,  Jun 04, 2017

Puckette, Madeline, and Hammack, Justin, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide To Wine, Avery: An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, New York, 2015

Robinson, Jancis, editor, and Harding, Julia, assistant editor, The Oxford Companion To Wine, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, Revised 2015

Robinson, Jancis, Vines, Grapes, and Wines: The Wine Drinker’s Guide To Grape Varieties, Mitchell Beazley, Octopus Publishing Group, London, 2002

Stevenson, Tom, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia: The Classic Reference To The Wines Of The World, 4th Edition Revised 2007, Dorling Kindersley, New York

The Daley Question, “[Alois Lagedr]He's a Believer in Biodynamic Wine”, February 10, 2010, Chcago Tribune

Murphy, Rebecca, The Exemplary Wines of Alois Lageder, June 9, 2015, Wine Review Online

Billn, Profile: Maison Seguin-Manuel (Beaune),  September  8, 2008, Burgundy-Report

Bergman, Ola, Domaine Seguin Manuel, Beaune,“The Magic Of Pinot Noir”, 2012, Bergman’s Bourgogne: Appetite For Burgundy

Kettmann, Matt, Review: Lyric by Etude 2015 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County), Apr 1, 2017, Winemag

Campbell, Nicole, How Norman Hardie Stole the Hearts of Wine Lovers Everywhere, CBC Life, June 13, 2017


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