Pinot Noir Tasting 05/05/12

Over the past few months I’ve hosted numerous private tastings for customers. The most recently run event was about a month ago near Heathcote and it involved educating a group of 14 people about Pinot Noir.

Grasping a chance to drink a handful of my most favourite Pinots from around the world

I looked forward to this event and the attended to the notes and wine selection with particular vigour. Of course, having a willing and eager bunch of participants makes it all the more entertaining. Thankfully the attendees had that in spades.

Some of the best value Pinot Noir from around the world.
The warm up act. Seriously good for the price.

The event was structured into four brackets, which built from entry-level wines and graduated up to tasting the pinnacle of Pinot Noir – Burgundy.

Bracket One. Flavours of Pinot Noir.

Bress Vineyards Silver Chook Yarra Valley & Macedon 2010 $22 Showing the easy, cherry/red berry and rose petal notes. Excellent value and highly recommended.
Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba 2009 $25 Darker, plums and a hint undergrowth. Riper fruit and more generous mouthfeel.
Faiveley Bourgogne Rouge 2008 $32 Great entry point to Burgundy, showing the minerally, structured and more savoury styles they tend to make. If drinking water was impossible, this is what I would turn to.

Tasting some of the best Pinot Noirs in the world
Bracket One under way.

Bracket Two. Regionality and the wide world of wine.

Pegasus Bay Canterbury 2008 $63 From the South Island of New Zealand. Showing the typical style of great NZ Pinot. Bold with perfume, subtlety and restraint.

Apsley Gorge Tasmania 2008 $69 East Coast of Tassie based producer. A bit stinky when first opened, but possessing great texture, balance and silkiness. Beautiful wine.

Bernard Huber Baden 2009 $43 A Spatburgunder (aka Pinot Noir) from Germany. Showing perfume, oak, balance and nice refreshing acidity.

Britten Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  The host added this wine so the USA got a jersey.  It has great pedigree with the owner being a former member of the Stags Leap team. This tasted slightly oxidised on the day sadly.

Pinot Noir half bottle, bottle, magnum and jeroboam.
You can always tell a Curly Flat family.

Bracket Three: Terroir and aging.

We used two wines made in almost the same way to highlight how much a region or vineyard (ie Terroir) can affect the taste of a wine.

William Downie Mornington Peninsula 2010 $71 The more floral, red berry and vibrant style. Showed really well upfront. Beautiful balance and lovely to drink.

William Downie Gippsland 2010 $71 Darker, more brooding and darker fruits. Needed a bit more time in the glass to show its best. But definitely had that hallmark Downie balance and texture (and drinkability).
Then we used two wines from the same producer and different vintage to show how a wine can change with time in the bottle.

Curly Flat Macedon 2008 $56 Dark, powerful, generous with a lot of depth and great mouthfeel.

Curly Flat Macedon 2001 En Magnum The host once again donated this wine to the tasting. It showed more savoury/undergrowth/truffle and was a lot more silky and supple. I would say at its peak now in the best possible way.

Dom Laurant 1995 - great way to end a tasting.
Pouring the 95 Pruliers.

Bracket Four: Burgundy.

Nicholas Potel Vosne Romanee Les Petit Monts 1er Cru 2000 $105 The budget didn’t quite stretch to Grand Cru but this high quality Premier Cru certainly showed the best of the region and why it is the pinnacle. Supple, savoury, minerally, perfumed, vibrant, spices, depth, layered, intense and thrilling. Great balance, depth of fruit and plush but with fine tannins and great length.

Dom Laurant Nuits-St-Georges Les Pruliers 1995 Because more is more, yet another bottle was taken from the cellar to be shared. This wine really showed up the difference between communes and vineyards in Burgundy. This wine reflexed the denser, more chunky style of Nuits compared to the refined, elegance of Vosne.

Pouring not pooring. There is a difference.
Expert host and wine waiter… me.

Additional Wine.

Roda I Rioja Riserva 2004 This wine was pulled out just as we took our leave of the group but I stuck around long enough to have a glass. I have included it because Tempranillo is often described as tasting like Pinot with a bit of age. It does share the red fruits, floral notes and spicy notes. Along with the silk and purity you would expect.

All in all a great tasting. If you are interested in hosting a tasting like this, we can work together to find a theme, budget and venue that suits. Email

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