The last few days have seen a sudden temperature drop – not wholly unexpected – which has brought with it that slight feeling of need for warmth. Being more specific, it’s that time of the year when you transition from the citrusy white wines and bone dry rose of the summer to warmer reds. And there is no better transition red than the ubiquitous Pinot Noir.
It takes many forms, from very light and fruity to more serious and possibly quite chunky styles. We stock the full spectrum and invite you to try some.
We start off with a bright, juicy fresh style, Le Fou, Pinot Noir from the Pays D’Oc in France. It vibrates with fresh red cherries and a strawberry perfume, aromatic but with a propensity to deliver lots of fruit and dry soft spice.
Continuing on those lines of lighter, softer styles comes one of my all-time favourites, Marsannay, En Ouzeloy by Rene Bouvier. It is a gorgeous Pinot Noir coming from the northern part of the Cotes de Nuits in the village of Marsannay. Bright garnet in colour with a supple and silky texture that delivers all that is expected from Burgundy. Redcurrant fruit, soft cherry and aromatic berries wrapped around a cocoon of forest undergrowth that just adds to the complexity. There is a little spice too, almost dainty, but enough to get that warming process going for you, the discerning drinker.
In our third offering, the grape is taking the form of a chameleon, stemming from the slightly cooler region of the Loire Valley, Sancerre Rouge, Domaine Jean-Paul Balland. It is on the mineral laden slopes of Sancerre that this beautiful Pinot Noir takes it’s clean, crisp almost savoury elements from. This wine shows a little more body with some savoury mushroom and earthy spices yet still maintains freshness. The cherries have dried a bit, the raspberry has become wild and there is a soft mulberry perfume embedded too. You’ll definitely want to pour another glass!
As the days turn slowly into foggy, overcast times of Autumn harvest and sometimes solitude, so our next offering changes its delivery of fruit and spice to you. Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir, Nalle is a superb example of how there is (good) life for Pinot Noir outside of its comfort zone in Burgundy. The Russian River Valley is a region of America synonymous with Pinot Noir and this particular winery does a tremendous job with the grape. Bags of red and dark forest berries, supple tannins and a plethora of spices swirling around – yet never straying away from – the marvellous fruit at its core.
Jetting half way around the globe, we make a stop in the Southern Hemisphere to one of its most southern vineyard areas: The Central Otago, New Zealand. So much and so quickly has this region changed that 20 years ago it was barely a novelty. Wild Earth, Pinot Noir is our offering from this new world marvel and it is a big one too. It delivers in terms of body and weight, displaying some desired richness of fruit alongside spices, mushrooms, forest dry leafs and all the other elements of complexity one would expect. It comes packed with dark cherry, dark raspberry and some beautifully integrated wood spice.
We could not finish our small trip into the Pinot Noir world without visiting one of the world’s great vineyards, Volnay by Comte Armand is our last stop and it is one that amazes at every sip. Cotes de Beaune where Volnay is located has a great reputation for Burgundy’s other stellar grape, Chardonnay, but this Volnay would easily change your mind when it comes to what a richer style of Pinot Noir could be. Picked just at the right moment to deliver all the right terroir, it has a great depth, supple tannins and acidity, a minerality that prickles the fruit almost like a drop of rain on a dusty summer day. Oh and the fruits! Wild dark cherries, with their sweet bitter aftertaste, chewy raspberries with a cranberry middle, all revolving around those beautiful tannins and minerality. Spices abound in the form of wood, herb and mushroom and the finish is long, complex and mesmerizing. This is a wine which may move you to grab some logs and start stoking up your fireplace.
All of the above wines are available in our shops, where we would love to introduce them to you and chat some more.