February 2010

Pinot Noir tasting event February 27, 2010

Pinot Noir tasting event February 27, 2010

The tasting of Pinot Noir lasted for about 1 1/2 hours followed by a potluck with pork roast on the barbeque for the entree.

Pinot Noir comes from the Burgundy region of France. If you buy a bottle of Burgundy from France it IS… Pinot Noir. It it is also grown in Germany as their most planted red vines and is called Spatburgunder. In Italy it is called Pinot Nero. The best Pinot Noir from California comes from Carneros, Russian River, Santa Barbara and Monterey. Oregon has been growing first class Pinot Noir for some time now and the Willamette Valley and Umpqua Valley are the most famous regions. Excellent Pinot Noir is also coming out of New Zealand as their… new thing.

Pinot Noir is a very finicky grape to grow and very difficult to vinify. It requires a cool climate. The cooler the climate the lighter in color and the more acidic. The warmer and sunnier it is the riper and darker the fruit. If it is too cold the fruit is like green plums: hard and green. If it is too hot it can taste like lollipops, devoid of acid. It has relatively high alcohol, medium to high acidity, medium to low tannin (although oak barrels can add tannin), red fruit aromas and flavors, depth and complexity.

The beauty of this grape lies in its delicacy and grace. The color is a slightly earthy-looking pale burgundy.

Its nose can be of light red cherries, from spices to herbs to animals. The term barnyard is sometimes used to describe its sometimes earthy, funky, fragrance.

This is not a heavy wine but more weightless in flavor. It is exceedingly easy to match this wine with food. If you are out to dinner with someone having meat, someone having fish and someone having vegetarian, this the wine that will match well for all.

The flavors of Pinot Noir very from the young wines that have a simpler fruity character of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, melange of red berries, earthy and woodsy. The Pinot Noir that id more mature will have a variety of complex characteristics; chocolate, game, figs, prunes, smokiness, violets, pleasantly earthy, truffle scents and flavors.

The benchmark wine was Adelsheim From Willamette Valley, Oregon. It came in 4th place in the judging.

Place Points Wine Year Origin Alc% Price
1 213 Chehalem 2003 Willamette 15.5 $65
2 190 Parker Station 2008 California 13.8 $14
3 184 Hob Nob 2008 French 13 $10
4 181 Adelsheim 2006 Oregon 12.8 $30
5 169.5 Willamette Valley Vineyards 2008 Oregon 12.5 $20
6 167 Erath Estate Selection 2004 Oregon 13.7 $14
7 164 Castle Rock 2008 Sonoma, CA 13.5 $10
8 163 PKNT Silver Collection 2008 Chile 13.4 $5
9 149 La Foret 2008 French 12.5 $17
10 150 Eola Hills 2007 Willamette 13.6 $13
11 141.5 Firesteed 2008 Oregon 13.5 $12