Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the "other" pinot noirs


2008 Reichstat von Buhl Pinot Noir | QbA Pfalz (left)
2010 Errázuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir | Casablanca Valley (right)


2009 Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Pinot Noir | VQA Four Mile Creek

True winos have to be like the parents of a large brood - we don't have favourites. But I do have to confess that the first varietal I truly fell in love with was pinot noir. No need to explain why, no? Like that girl that everyone, including your best friends, told you to stay away from. And of course, one of the first wines to do that was from Niagara. Every wino has a wine that they go crazy about, and that no one else gives a second thought to. That, for me, is this little pocket of vineyards in southern Ontario.

Usually around this time of year, I like to have pinot noir readily available. These are beautiful wines with food, especially examples with high acid and a fine seam of minerality. For deeper pockets, that means Burgundy. For this wino, other regions will have to do . . . for now. The Pfalz and Chilean bottles were a disappointment. First one, with that rubbery aroma that reeks of the worst kind of German wine. The absolutely lightest looking red colour I think I've ever seen. And the Errázuriz, so named because it was fermented using indigenous yeasts; if screwcaps remove the problem of TCA but yet introduce issues of reduction, is the consumer any better off?

So leave it to Inniskillin, those giants of the Niagara wine industry to produce the most interesting wine of the night. I like the Montague Vineyard - especially the 2002, showing lots of structure, minerality. 2009 is going to be a fabulous vintage for Niagara pinot noirs. Not concentrated, but absolutely fine and delicate. This wine shows all that warm, stemmy quality this vineyard seems to be about, along with that clay/earthy heat. Wood and spice and all that, fresh and juicy. Not the best, but does show off some of the characteristics of Niagara pinots.

Are retailers as keen on letting you return bottles full of odours of reduction as a corked one?


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