Everyone has their favourite grape varieties, I have a few..... But Pinot Noir is at the top of the list. As you know Pinot Noir's spiritual home is in the French region of Burgundy (especially Côte-d'Or). Burgundy makes the most delightful and expensive wines on the planet from Pinot Noir (yes, Chardonnay too).
Pinot Noir is a fussy grape in both the vineyard and winery, needing lots of love and a cooler climate to bring out it's delicate flavours of strawberry, cherry and raspberry. You can also get the mushroom and earthly flavours accompanied by herbs such as rosemary & mint. Gentle oak usage gives vanilla, cedar and spicy cinnamon with cigar box nuances developing with some bottle age.
The goal is to produce a soft silky wine, harmonious and feminine, with savoury fruit flavours, light smooth tannins and a long finish, that pairs well with mushroom, fish and duck dishes (which I also love).
As well as France, Pinot Noir is also grown throughout Europe including Southern Germany, Austria, Northern Spain, Northern Italy, Switzerland and the UK.
Outside Europe, the new world regions producing the Pinot Noirs are New Zealand (Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough), Australia (Great Southern, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mornington Peninsular & Tasmania), South Africa (Walker Bay), the USA (Oregon & Northern California) as well as Canada and Chile.
I had the a good talk with Bill Pannell from Picardy Wines
There are not many events that concentrates on just one grape variety,
Pinot Palooza is one of them, held annually around the Australian state capitols. Offering its attendants a selection of producers from Australia and New Zealand.
These events can get a very crowded and a bit messy at the end (as it turn into a disco), so I try to go early, and one way to do this is with the VIP ticket. The VIP ticket gives you one hour (I think it should be two) of early access to the stands where you have a chance to talk to the producers. You also get a glass of bubbles on arrival (this year it was Tamar Ridge from Tasmania, and I really enjoyed it!), $10 off food and a can of beer to wash it down or should I say cleanse the palate.
Here is a list of some of my favourites from the day:
Picardy: 2014 One by One, 2014 & 2009 Tête De Cuvée (2009 drink now)
Villa Maria: 2015 Single Vineyard
Charteris: 2013 Winter VIneyard (cellar)
Nautilus: 2015 Marlborough & Opawa Rosé
Cloudy Bay: 2015 Te Wahi
Mt Difficulty: 2016 Ghost Train (cellar)
Giant Steps: 2017 Apple Jack Vineyard
Below & Above: 2014 Pinot Noir
Hand Picked: 2015 Yarra Valley & 2016 Wombat Creek
Pipers Brook: 2016 New Certan
I also liked the Moorooduc Estate and Willow Creek Pinots from the Mornington Peninsula stand.
Did you know - The DNA profiles of both Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are identical to Pinot Noir !!!!
Next up..... Cabernet Sauvignon tasting at the Coonawarra Roadshow in Perth!