Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2019

By , 27 January 2021



The Family Vineyards Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson in Upper Hemel en Aarde sees multiple vineyard parcels combined for maximum complexity. Winemaking for the 2019 involved 20% whole-bunch fermentation before 11 months in barrel, 33% new.

The nose is expressive and compelling with notes of musk and rose before cherry and strawberry plus a slight fynbos note while the palate shows pure fruit, racy acidity and fine tannins. It’s as seductive as ever but a little more weight on the mid-palate might elevate it to even greater heights. Price: R440.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

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7 comment(s)

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    Hennie C | 27 January 2021

    Hi Christian
    You keep comparing our pinot to Burgundy, but where is the comparison? First of all – this is an exclusively South African wine website, so it is hardly fair to keep saying Burgundy is better. Which Burgundy? If you want to compare (like you did with the Lady May) then line up a couple of examples alongside the SA PInot and taste what’s in the glass, not on the label.

    We drink a fair bit of Burgundy at home and I can straight up tell you that there’s a lot of absolute crap being sold as high quality from Burgundy at absurd prices. So top end SA PInot isn’t as good as Burgundy? I strongly disagree with the generalisation. Top end SA Pinot isn’t as good as most Grand Cru Burgundy – yes sure, but neither is Oregan, Australia, New Zealand, Sonoma, Russian River etc etc. And even then, it is a generalisation because I’ve had GC Burgundy that I wouldn’t scrub my toilet with.

    You’re going to be waiting a very long time – eternity – to get GC pinot anywhere in the world other than in the Cote de Nuits. Burgundy is Burgundy and SA PInot is SA Pinot. Your comparison is a non-comparison. I fail to see why you keep drawing the parallel.

      GillesP | 27 January 2021

      Who said that this website is only reserved to SA wines? I welcome comparison with foreign wines anytime here even though I have found them biaised on most occasions. I agree that a lot of Burgundy are having a bad QPR and certainly some SA pinots have improved and can compete on the world scene, but as you stated, if we start comparing with aged GC from the likes of Rousseau, Dujac, Roumier and many others, then the SA pinots are certainly not there yet.

        Hennie C | 27 January 2021

        I invite you to find a single review of an international wine on this website where the wine was reviewed alone – not in a comparative tasting like the Lady May review of this week. Christian is on record that he only reviews SA Wine on Winemag.

        Again – why do you want to compare SA Pinot against Roumier, Dujac et al? If you do that, then you’re going to be forever disappointed and SA Pinot is forever going to score 91 to 93 points. There is no comparison to be made – so why bother? If that is forever going to be your frame of reference, then why does SA bother making pinot?

          GillesP | 27 January 2021

          I believe comparing is essential for the consumers around the World. This is what drives the pricing as well as offer and demand as well as quality improvement. I have tasted some amazing pinot outside of Burgundy such as Felton Road from New Zealand, Russian River, Patagonia and Alto Adige from Italy. I think it’s great to have a worldwide perspective on what the variety can deliver.

            Hennie C | 27 January 2021

            Ok fine Gilles – compare, but then compare a wine with a wine. Don’t compare Newton Johnson with Burgundy. Or Newton Johnson with Oregon. Compare Newton Johnson Family Pinot 2019 with Domaine Drouhin Laurene 2019. That’s a comparison. Otherwise it isn’t apples with apples.

    Hennie C | 27 January 2021

    Morning Christian
    I find your comment about mid-palate weight curious. To me the appeal and charm of NJ Family pinot have always been that there’s a weightless intensity on the wine. In actual fact, it has become a hallmark of their pinot and has been extremely successful for them. So why would you as commentator call for a change of style? I certainly don’t want to drink pinot that is more like a Stellenbosch cab than Hemel and Aarde pinot.

      Christian Eedes | 27 January 2021

      Hi Hennie C, For the record, I think Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir is consistently one of South Africa’s best examples of the variety and I’m certainly not advocating a change in style in the sense of more fruit power which might equate to riper, fuller flavoured wines. I have, however, been called out often enough for under-rating SA Pinot and for all their immediate charms, I tend to find a slight simplicity as well. To make a very small distinction, I guess I sometimes miss the integrity, which is to say that inner core of fruit and structure that marks great Burgundy. My sense is that the best producers are moving slowly towards this (quality improvements harder to come by than is the case with other varieties) so even more satisfaction to be had for Pinot lovers in years to come.

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