Tonnellerie Saint Martin Pinot Noir Report 2017

By , 19 September 2017



LogoIn conjunction with Tonnellerie Saint Martin, is pleased to release the first annual Pinot Noir Report. There were 52 entries from 33 producers for this year’s competition and we included two examples of Burgundy as ringers:

Creation Reserve 2015 (BEST OVERALL)
Joseph Drouhin Morey St Denis 2015

Dabar 2014
Dabar 2015
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2016
Paul Cluver Seven Flags 2015

De Grendel Op die Berg 2014
Shannon Rockview Ridge 2015

B Vintners Reservoir Road 2016
Creation Reserve 2016
Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2016
Henri Boillot Bourgogne 2015
Newton Johnson Walker Bay 2016
Oak Valley Sounds of Silence 2015
The Fledge & Co. Katvis 2016
Vrede en Lust 2016

As producer of the best wine overall, Creation won a new barrel of their choice from Tonnellerie Saint Martin.

To read the tasting report in full, download the following: Tonnellerie Saint Martin Pinot Noir Report 2017

To view a photo album of the awards function, CLICK HERE.


10 comment(s)

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    Le Penseur | 20 September 2017

    Greg Sherwood MW on June 23, 2016 wrote:
    “…While blind tasting is notoriously difficult as you are negating the power of the brand, I can’t help but read the over all results and feel, generally speaking, you (all) are scoring the wines way too low (and I say this as an outspoken critic of global score inflation!)

    I’ve tasted every vintage of M an C and never have I been tempted to score one as low as 81 or even 85. You are talking bulk supermarket quality level basically. All I can do to the overall scores is bell curve them up in the same way I Bell curve James Sucklings down by 2 to 3 points on the 100-point scale.

    … does not instil confidence in the overall scoring I’m afraid.”

    Tim Atkin MW on September 14, 2017 wrote:
    “Isn’t it sad when English people are more positive about the best, world class wines than some South Africans are? Isn’t it time you got over the cultural cringe?

    … South Africa is at a very exciting point in its development and I’m happy and brave enough to celebrate that.

    I wish a few more South African commentators would follow suit.”

    Indeed it’s a sad day that an expat and Englishman regard South African wines as better, and in some instances indeed world-class as opposed their own folks [wine writers, critics, bloggers]

    I will from now do as Greg Sherwood suggested more than a year ago… that is bell curve them up by 3 points, that’s more realistic.

      Kwispedoor | 20 September 2017

      Yes, Le Penseur, here’s been a host of US wines that have scored between 98 and 100 points over the years – and not only from Robert Parker. Perhaps the Americans got over their cultural cringe after the Judgement of Paris?

      One of the problems with blind tasting competitions (in terms of how scores are influenced) is that they are almost always not entirely blind. In other words, tasters would mostly be aware that they are tasting a Pinotage flight or Chenins from South Africa or en primeur Bordeaux. Knowing what category you are tasting subconsciously puts you in a certain “scoring bracket” frame of mind.

    Celia Neveling | 20 September 2017

    Hi Kwispedoor,

    “I like older Pinot” – we opened a Meerlust Pinot 1985 or 1987 a few months ago. The bottle leaked and l literally cried while opening it, but the wine was exquisite. I am still trying to replace both vintages in my collection (I donated one of the two) but that night, having dinner with my family and sharing that special bottle, indescribable.

      Chris Williams | 20 September 2017

      “…that night, having dinner with my family and sharing that special bottle, indescribable.”

      At the end of the day, that is what wine is all about, isn’t it?

      Thanks for your comment Celia, contact me and we can see about completing your collection for you.

      Kwispedoor | 20 September 2017

      I remember those well, Celia! All the odd years of Meerlust Pinot in the eighties seemed to shine, despite being from the old Swiss BK5 bubbly clone. I haven’t had one in years, but they (and the 1994 Haute Cabrière, which was dense and more powerful than any vintage since) first made me fall in love with Pinot. It’s great to hear that they’re still going strong, despite the ullage!

    Kwispedoor | 19 September 2017

    Hi, Christian

    Good show by Dâbar, putting a new Pinot vineyard area on the map!

    I fully realise that blind tastings and big/big-ish tastings can be fickle things and I don’t want to sound critical at all, but I’m just really curious about one or two things. It’s interesting to note that the De Grendel 2014 was previously scored 90 points by you, which is pretty close to its 91 here, but the 2013 impressed you tremendously before at 95 points. The latter only received 89 here, which is a really major difference (not even explained by a three-person panel doing the scoring, for instance). Do you have any theories on why this might have happened and which score would you deem the more trustworthy one for the 2013?

    I like older Pinot, so I’m also curious about the 2009 Vriesenhof’s 84 points, if you could divulge a bit more about that one?

      Christian | 20 September 2017

      Hi Kwispedoor, I originally scored the De Grendel Op die Berg 2013 93 but was talked down to 91 by my colleagues – discrepancies between individual and panel scores are to be expected. It’s quite a rich and brooding wine and perhaps not what might be consider typical.

      As for the Vriesenhof 2009, this did not show well with curious, a-typical aromatics and the palate lacking purity and definition.

        Kwispedoor | 20 September 2017

        Thanks, Christian. I’m not sure I understand though: the report says the 2013 received 89 points, not 91? I guess your 93 is close enough to the earlier 95, but I was just thinking that – for a 93 to 95 point wine to come down to 89 – the two other panel members both had to rate it in the middle eighties, which is a really massive discrepancy.

          Christian | 20 September 2017

          My score: 91 (having originally scored the wine 93), RP: 89 and JP: 88. Average score: 89.3 and a case of the averaging effect which panel tastings sometimes produce. Apologies for any confusion created.

        Kwispedoor | 20 September 2017

        No problem, the confusion was my bad – I get it now. You’ve said before that you prefer smaller panels because they mitigate the averaging effect, so I just assumed that you guys would discuss the wines, but not the scores.

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