Sipping on Glen Carlou Pinot Noir 2010 after watching !WAR – Women Art Revolution last night, I felt duly conscientised. I’ve always thought that referring to wine as either “feminine” or a “masculine” isn’t helpful and particularly so just then.
!WAR – Women Art Revolution is a documentary by American artist Lynn Hershman Leeson about how the feminist movement that she was part of tried to use art to transform culture in the second half of the 20th century (Donald Hess, founder of Hess Family Estates, the Swiss-based company that owns Glen Carlou, also has one of the largest privately owned contemporary art collections in the world including pieces by Hershman Leeson and hence the event).
So Glen Carlou Pinot Noir 2010. “Feminine” like Margaret Thatcher or “masculine” like Boy George? It rates 3 Stars in the Feb/March 2012 issue of Classic Wine, but I think it’s a bit better than that and as a member of the panel involved in that particular tasting, scored it 16/20, the equivalent of 4 Stars. What do I like about it? Dark cherry fruit, some savoury character, fresh acidity, fine tannins. A tidy package.
One of the best performing wines in the Classic Wine review of Pinot Noir was Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2009, which officially rated 4 Stars. Some observers may find it disconcerting that owner of the label Anthony Hamilton Russell was a member of the panel, but I have to concur that it’s pretty smart stuff, being rich and full but entirely in balance and my score was 17/20, the equivalent of 4½ Stars.
I would say that it’s inadvisable having producers judge their own wines as it invites controversy but ultimately, I’m not sure how much difference it makes. The same panel which judged Pinot Noir for Classic Wine also judged Cabernet Franc. The chairman (chairwoman? chairperson? chair?) was Warwick’s Norma Ratcliffe but her 2009 ended up rating a humble 2 Stars (my score: 15.5/20, the equivalent of 3½ Stars).
Scrutinising tasting results may seem a bit sad but to use feminist-speak, if someone doesn’t then the wine culture narrative may go off in a less than desirable direction. The current issue of Classic Wine also contains the inaugural Chenin Blanc Top 10 which includes the DeMorgenzon 2007. This is a wine sold out from the farm (current release is 2010) and DeMorgenzon is owned by Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum, Hylton being founder and chairman of Classic FM, publishers of the magazine in question.