Browse Tag

pinot noir

Take this wine and Chevillon

Chevillon 2006 Bourgogne (Burgundy) – Every time I drink a Chevillon of anything but surpassing age (and that almost never happens), I laugh at the occasionally-stated opinion of non-Burgundy fans that there’s nothing of sufficient heft for their palates. In terms of alcohol or supercharged, candied fruit, that may be true. But to apply the descriptors “light” or “elegant” as the epithets they so often are to this wine would be ludicrous. Full-fruited in the red spectrum, with only hints of black, but very earthen and lavishly structured, this is an extremely powerful drink for what is still just a basic Bourgogne. Well, “just” is unfair here, because this is neither constructed nor priced as “just” anything. I like it. I’ll like it even more with a little more maturity under its wide leather belt. (7/10)

Harriet & Nels

Olssens 2002 Pinot Noir Slapjack Creek (Central Otago) – 14%, and showing every bit of that plus some more as a bonus. Unquestionably on the downslope, and though it’s not too far along it in terms of fruit development (there’s the usual leathering of the berries, plus some tarry hints of autumn), a rapid separation from the alcoholic power inside the wine has rendered it more than a little Scotch-y. This was never a great wine, but it was certainly more appealing at release. Drink up. (7/10)


Mt. Difficulty “Roaring Meg” 2008 Pinot Noir (Central Otago) – Second-label and cheaper Otago pinots are either surprisingly good or flawed in a regionally-representative way: too much weight and alcohol. Here, while there is some alcohol on display, it’s not because the wine is too weighty. On the contrary, it’s wan, tired, and uninteresting. It reminds me of one of those Eastern European pinots that used to show up in educational blind tastings a few decades ago, just to wrench the works (“betcha can’t guess that this is from Bulgaria, tee hee”) in that I while I understand how it got made, I don’t understand how it got purchased, shipped to foreign markets, and given valuable shelf space. (5/10)


Black Ridge 2003 Pinot Noir (Central Otago) – Sweet red beet and blood orange concentrate. Stemmy. Walnut skins and dirt suffused with ash. The sensation of excess acidity this wine had in its youth is only a memory at this point. Pretty good – certainly better than it was at release – but I don’t know if I’d hold this any longer. (6/10)

But sometimes, I don’t Bousse so much

Chevillon 1999 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Bousselots (Burgundy) – Graphite-dominated. Closed and difficult. From a very cold cellar, and it’s sometimes hard to muster up sufficient patience for these wines from more typical conditions, but this is as closed as a wine can get. (6/10)


Fromm “La Strada” 2001 Pinot Noir Clayvin (Marlborough) – A recent closeout, and dying. There are plenty of signs of heat damage somewhere along the line. Alas, this showed up in a local closeout bin and I was intrigued. But I’d avoid the lot based on the performance of this bottle, which should have been in the early stages of blossoming from its closed youth. (7/10)

Leaning stove

Pisa Range 2003 Pinot Noir Black Poplar (Central Otago) – Dark beet and blood orange. Still powerfully youthful, and in fact it might be hardening a bit. I keep reading Kiwi wine cognoscenti suggesting that many of the early-00s pinots are on the downslope. So I’ve opened a handful. So far, the only conclusion I can reach is that they’re out of their minds. If anything, these wines haven’t even hit their midlife crisis yet. (5/10)

Mohua the lawn

Mohua 2008 Pinot Noir (Central Otago) – Starts off with the bitter beet, dusty blackberry, and blood orange rind so common to New Zealand pinots (is this a clonal issue? it sure seems ubiquitous), but then goes absolutely nowhere. Half of a good wine. Where’s the second act? (5/10)

Palliser o’ mine

Palliser Estate 2005 Pinot Noir (Martinborough) – If there’s a “standard” New Zealand pinot noir character, with adjustments for climate and vintage, this has it: dark and intense berried fruit, beet (and lots of it), a little hint of blood orange rind, and liquid earth with a fully-integrated structure, even in its youth. Straightforward, approachable, and tasty. (4/10)


Fromm “La Strada” 2002 Pinot Noir (Marlborough) – The hyper-masculine aggression of this wine has really been shed over the last year or so, which is something I didn’t expect to happen quickly or, in my more pessimistic moments, at all. It’s still no delicate flower, for sure, but now both the flavors and the overall body are something more recognizable as pinot noir, albeit still far, far on the fringes of the weight that’s typical from anyone else growing this grape in Marlborough. (Well, except maybe Glover’s, but that’s mostly about tannin.) The dusty, black-soiled elements are now met by freshening acidity, while a scowling array of berries must accept the presence of lighter, crisper elements in their midst. This wine, always so brutish in the past, is undergoing a fascinating transformation, but I wonder if I’ll have the patience to wait this story out to its denouement; I’ve only a few bottles left. (3/10)