About 70 guests attended the latest edition of Bettane + Desseauve’s monthly wine club tasting on February 20 featuring dozens of samples of Pinot Noir, the fickle red wine grape that many wine lovers wax poetic about.
The temperamental grape variety is notoriously fickle and requires constant care to coax it into great wines, as Miles from the movie Sideways said.
Nowadays thanks to better understanding of terror and winemaking skills, the grape has flourished outside of its heartland in Burgundy to many newly adopted homes in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile etc.
Below are five wine picks from last week’s tasting that impressed the crowd. If you haven’t got a chance to taste them at the event, be sure to seek them out.
Champagne Waris et Filles Blanc de Noirs
A Champagne made from 100% Pinot Noir by small house Champagne Waris et Filles in Aviz. Intense and rich. It opens with aromas of cooked pear, peach, enhanced by some roasted almonds. The base notes are softer, with quince paste and fig tree.
The wine can be purchased in Hong Kong through MyiCellar.
Domaine Perrot-Minot Morey-Saint-Denis 2017
This is an eclectic Pinot Noir made from 40-year-old vines planted in a 1.5 ha vineyards in Morey-Saint-Denis in Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits. Winemaker Christophe Perrot-Minot comes from a long line of winemaking family who first built the domaine in 19th century. The wine is flamboyant, sensual with plenty of cherry and red clove notes.
The wine is sold in Hong Kong through Burgundy Wine Company.
Ken Wright Cellars Savoya Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
Ken Wright Cellars is a pioneer in Oregon’s Pinot Noir wine production. After trying out winemaking in California, Ken moved to Oregon to focus on making single vineyard Pinot Noir decades before Oregon Pinot became trendy. The Savoya Vineyard Pinot Noir is an example. The wine is floral with red fruits, red plums and cranberry. Also notes of spices including cinnamon in addition to tobacco and turned earth.
The wine is available in Hong Kong through Sarment Wines.
Sato Wines Pisa Terrace 2016
Sato Wines, founded by Japanese couple Yoshiaki Sato and wife Kyoko, in New Zealand has quickly built a cult following. Stood out for its minimalist label, the wine is distinguished for the use of its organically grown grapes, and zero addition of added yeast and enzymes. The wines are unfiltered without any fining. The Pinot Noir from Central Otago is perfumed with floral notes of lilac, orange blossom, and subtle spice character.
The wine is sold in Hong Kong via La Cabane.
Radford Dale Freedom Pinot Noir 2017
This Pinot from South Africa’s cool climate Elgin is a good example of what the local terroir can deliver. The wine is made by Alex Dale who came to South Africa from Burgundy in 1994. Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s fight for freedom, he named the wine ‘Freedom’ as a tribute to the South African leader. The grapes are selected from a single vineyard located 300-400 meters above sea level. This Pinot Noir is characterized by its finesse and poise rather than power or richness.
The wine can be purchased through Watson’s Wine.