Have we got our calibrations for Pinot Noir right?

By , 7 April 2016


Have we got our calibrations for Pinot Noir right?, Have we got our calibrations for Pinot Noir right?

Going the distance.

Just how good is SA Pinot Noir? It’s a privilege to embed myself at the Wine Judging Academy organised by Michael Fridjhon every year as some benchmark wines get poured over the three days and it’s a useful way of re-calibrating. One of the flights that attendees of this year’s Academy got to taste included six examples of Burgundy including everything from a Côtes de Nuits Villages  1996 to a Labet & Dechelette Chateau de La Tour Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 1989, the latter a wine I found entirely spellbinding.

Yesterday, lunch with Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson and a chance to taste various vintages of his Pinot Noir, including both the current-release Galpin Peak 2013 and Tête de Cuvée 2012. The former of course is rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2016, equivalent to a score of at least 95 on the 100-point scale which I think elevates its standing in the world of Pinot Noir a little too much. It showed well yesterday, the purity of fruit particularly striking, and I was inclined to think that my rating of 89 points last year was unkind, 91 being fairer.

Tête de Cuvée 2012 originally also rated 91 on this website and I think that’s pretty much spot on. This wine typically has more new oak than its sibling and the wine can feel a little less perky in its youth but I think too often we treat Pinot as necessarily light and delicate whereas the very best like the Clos de Vougeot above often have plenty of reined-in power. This, I think, also applies to the Tête de Cuvée which tends to mature better than Galpin Peak. We need to allow for more than one style of Pinot going forward.


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