Tonight's tasting was definitely geared to going a bit deeper into the profile of Pinot Noir on a global reach. With what turned out to be three Volnay, we may not have exactly succeeded completely in that effort. Although we did taste some pretty outstanding Pinot Noir - as well as a couple of duds.
The first wine of the night was from Germany (and Mr. Rudman did succeed in correctly pulling this one out of his hat). This was the 2012, Domaine Meyer-Nakel, and it comes from the Ahr region. Clocking in a t 13.5% abc on the label, it lists for retail at approximately $50, which was a bit of a shock to us considering what was showing in the bottle. We all took this wine to be sound, but there was this kind of weird plastic scent in the back ground for me and it kept throwing it off through my tasting. The fruit was held back and showed a bit under-ripe in most of our opinions. I think we generally felt it was lacking a bit of intensity and could have been more powerful, considering the price tag, as well as our expectations for Germany Pinot Noir, these days.
Next was the 2013, Joseph Swan Cuvée de Trois, Russian River Valley, and this wine definitely was showing some class and depth. Just a little brick starting to show in the rim variation, along with a bit of dried fruit creeping in on the edges of the palate, this wine was soft and full of tart fruit. It has great texture, and the spice and depth were throwing a few of the tasters off from the RRV. It does have some core power and the mid-palate spice I often associate with regions such the RRV. I kind of thought this may have been from New Zealand, North Island, and perhaps just a bit older than it turned out to be. I did like the wine though and really appreciated the complexity and the subtlety of the feel on the palate.
The third and fourth wines were both New World selections, and the group was generally down on them; primarily from a perceived poor winemaking style. One wine was the 2013, Luigi Bosca Pinot Noir, which is from Mendoza, Argentina. The wine just had this muddled and not very well defined style, and the group had a tough time placing this. It turned out to be a dry, relatively warm climate (Mendoza), but from a tough and cool vintage. All of this could have contributed to the lack of complexity, awkward feel on the palate and difficult to place acid/tannin/fruit balance. I have worked with Luigi Bosca wines in the past and have generally found them to be quite well made. This one was a bit tough to take.
The next wine happened to be the 2015 Resonance from Oregon, a wine made by the winemaker form Louis Jadot. It was a wine that showed a lot of upfront, super young and almost bubble-gum/licorices flavors. We thought there may have been some Carbonic Maceration going on here, but I think it more of a result of punch-downs and a bit of whole-cluster fermentation being used to achieve the very vibrant and youthful style.
Wine five started the second flight off quite well. A slight haze, but beautiful nose, that was still developing and probably has a few more good years to go. The 2005, Volnay 1er cru Taillepieds from Bouchard Per & Fils. According to Allen Meadows for the 2005 vintage: "The domaine is now run by Charles Ballot. The approach in the vineyards is lutte raisonée, which is to say treatments are only made in response to an obvious threat, rather than the traditional "in anticipation of" approach. The fruit is 100% destemmed, fermented with natural yeasts and raised in 10 to 30% new wood for approximately 18 months and then bottled without filtration." Wine showed extremely well, and was displaying is fairly excellent pedigree. Complex, well integrated, the tannins still with life, and just a little edge of tertiary flavors creeping in.
Wine number six was an interesting taste, as it turned out to be a Marlborough Pinot Noir from the 2008 vintage - Wairau River Family Estate. Showing some age, it did still have some nuance and hints of former finesse. There was a smooth palate of subtle oak mixed with tart cherry and sage. this wine is on the slow decline though.
Wine number seven (of which I am sipping as we speak), was another good style to take a look at. The 2014, Volnay VV by Vincent Girardin. I think we all agreed this wine showed fairly well, and the pedigree probably helped to carry it along. I think most of us did basically agree though that is was slightly hard to pin down regionally/stylistically.
And to finish the bunch, wine number eight was the 2006, Volnay Champains Domaine d'Angerville. Absolutely lovely and a bit more powerful than we had all kind of worked out, especially considering we had just worked through two other examples of Volnay. A number of us picked for more northern Cote d'or due to the fullness and rustic edge it carried, but 2006 most likely the culprit here. Wine was showing well, despite the vintage not being ideal. This wine had dried red cherries and much other fruit, mixed with smooth but rustic or slightly robust feel.
With three Volnay totally unplanned in the mix, we got a little perspective into this village. I will say though that there was not a seam of similarity among the three wines. Each from a different vineyard site, as well as different ages made it kind of hard to pinpoint a sense of Volnay.
Everything brought tonight essentially were examples of what we are looking to experience - a breadth of regions and varietal example. Typically ended with a number of very well made wines examples, and a few duds thrown into the mix for educational purposes, of course.
Here is a short video of the geological origins of Burgindy and how the regions developed over time.
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