Pinot Noir’s mythical home, Burgundy, has produced some of the world’s most inspiring wines.
The exhilarating personality of Pinot Noir has seen the wine world take up the fickle challenge to grow the ‘heartbreak grape’! Pinot is difficult to grow, demanding low yields if you want to achieve quality, with an incredibly short picking window to get it right, and, unforgiving in the winery.
Where is it grown?
You’ll find it in Germany, Austria, many other regions in France, America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Plantings in the New World expanded rapidly from the 1980’s and continue to grow today.
The early plantings are now mature and we’re seeing balanced old vines produce high-quality fruit. Beyond vine maturity, winemakers have now had decades of experience making Pinot and are producing sophisticated wines of ever increase quality. Given the demand and exponential price growth of Burgundy, that’s something we’re thankful for!
In Australia, initial plantings were of two main clones MV6 and D5V12, also known as ‘Upright’ and ‘Droopy’ respectively in reference to their growing habit. MV6 has definitely been the winner of the two! In the late 1990’s, there was n influx of the ‘Dijon clones’ particularly 114, 115, 667, and, 777. You’ll often see these clonal names on wine labels. More recently the Pommard clone, and, Abel, initially smuggled into New Zealand from the vineyards of Romanée-Conti have made it to Australia.
In the early days, you’d see bottles of Pinot + Hermitage coming out of the Hunter. Now, we see the cool climate regions in Victoria: Yarra Valley; Mornington; Macedon; and; Gippsland, South Australia: Adelaide Hills, and, most regions across Tasmania making the most exciting wines.
Martinborough, Marlborough, and, Otago in New Zealand are making some wonderful wines.
What does it taste like?
Like any variety, there is an incredible diversity of flavours, aromas, and, textures to be found in Pinot.
From fresh red fruits to darker, spicier fruit. Earthy, savoury, truffley, perfumed, floral characters are all in the mix. We see aroma, flavour and texture layered in from inclusion of stalks, whole bunches, techniques like carbonic maceration, cold soaking (maceration), oak use and beyond. In their youth, good Burgundies are often tightly wound, and less giving. Plush, supple textures are the hallmark of good Burgundy, although some more robust wines are a pleasure to devour as well. As a generalisation, we’ve seen a shift to a more gentle extraction of tannins and wines that are more approachable by those who have historically made more extracted Pinot in Burgundy. Leroux’s efforts in Pommard and Faiveley’s efforts across the region are good examples.
They often go into a dip for a few years after bottling and emerge transformed. A fully mature top-end Burgundy is entrancing, intoxicating, and, has such incredible expression and personality that you can be happy just smelling it! The secondary development of these wines offers incredible harmony, they become seamless, complexity lifts to a new level, yet it is hard to pick out any individual flavours and aromas. The best manage the trick of having incredible depth of length of flavour yet a light presence, dancing across your palate!
The counterpoint is that Burgundy can be a dismal experience with many wines banking on the name and classification of their vineyard to charge prices they are not worthy of. It can be a minefield if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Equally, there are still some affordable hidden gems!
For many years the new world tried to make great Burgundy instead of great Pinot. With growing experience, confidence, and, balanced, old vine fruit, new world makers are simply making the best possible expressions of Pinot they can from their sites. Broad experimentation is still ongoing as always with wine, but, has slowed a little. Focus on fruit sorting and gentle handling has allowed almost infinite control of the ‘infusion’ of tannins, colour, and, flavour from each berry, as opposed to extraction. Great experience with élévage has resulted in great clarity of how to expose the wines to oxygen and sulphur and achieve more expression from the end wines.
All in all new world wines are competing with Burgundy up to all but the highest level wines, and, with the prices of Burgundy on upward trajectory are great value drinking.
New world wines tend to be more immediately giving and opulent than their Burgundian counterparts. Not as long-lived, they still undergo a transformation as they age, although, perhaps, not to the same degree as the greatest Burgundies.
On top of all of this, climate, change is having a dramatic effect, both in the New and Old World. Vintages are more extreme in Burgundy, picking times are earlier than they were a decade ago, although partly as a result of balanced old vines in the new world.
The best wines will come from the growers and makers who are agile, react and learn from the change.
The Crimson, Oakdene's Blue Label Pinot & all of the Hoddles Creek Pinot's rank as some of the best value on the MarketSour Cherry Explosion!$30ea in any 3+, $28ea in any 6+ $32.00 More Info
Ata Rangi ‘Crimson’ Pinot Noir 2016
It’s an extroverted, perfumed Chambolle with plenty of fruit and a seductive texture.From $155ea $170.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Chambolle-Musigny 2015
This has pretty, ethereal wild strawberry & floral fruit that sings in the mouth until the lingering savoury, earthy finish kicks in.Next to Mazis-Chambertin!From $200ea $220.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru La Perrière 2015
Fans of Domaine Denis Mortet will be familiar with this vineyard and Leroux’s bottling, too, is seriously impressive.Captivating & PreciseFrom $180 $195.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux 2015
It’s a seductive, layered, Gevrey loaded, with sweet, fresh, spicy fruit that builds to a sappy, delicious finish.From $120ea $130.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Gevrey-Chambertin 2015
This is a first-rate Morey-Saint-Denis villagesVineyard above Clos de la RocheFrom $120 $130.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Morey-Saint-Denis 2015
- $300ea in any 3+, $290ea in any 6+ $310.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Pommard 1er Cru ‘Rugiens-Haut’ 2017
- New Cuvée
Given his experience in Pommard, home turf, if he'll have handle on any fruit this will be it!Pommad - From the Pommard Master!From $120ea $130.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Pommard 2015
- $115ea in any 3+, $110ea in any 6+ $120.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru ‘Hauts Jarrons’ 2017
- SCREW CAP$95ea in any 3+, $90ea in any 6+ $100.00 More Info
Benjamin Leroux Savigny-lès-Beaune 2017
- $255.00 More Info
Domaine de l’Arlot Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘1er Cru Clos des Forêts Saint Georges’ Monopole 2016
- $340.00 More Info
Domaine de l’Arlot Vosne-Romaneée ‘1er Cru Les Suchots’ 2016
Faiveley is definitely a Domaine on the Ascention - Clos de Bèze is one of their very best vineyards!Divine Wine!$630ea in any 2+, $600ea in any 3+ $660.00 More Info
Domaine Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2016
Punching above its weight. Deep, slightly smoky, blackberry, raspberry, mint, spice & positive oak. Medium-bodied, fleshy & tannic, almost dark and brooding...Love this! GW$67.5ea in any 3+, $64ea in any 6+ $71.00 More Info
Domaine Faiveley Mercurey 1er Cru ‘Le Clos du Roy’ 2016
Lovely purity depth and length. Vincent is certainly making vibrant, expressive wines, fruit leaps out of the glass. Supple and punching above it's weight.Bourgogne from CHAMBOLLE! 👊🏻$92ea in any 3+, $88ea in any 6+ $96.00 More Info
Domaine Géantet-Pansiot Bourgogne ‘Les Bons Bȃtons’ Pinot Noir 2015
This wine & Guillard's Gevrey-Chambertins, including his Bourgogne, have got to be some of the most pleasurable in this price range that I've devoured.Divine🍷$161ea in any 3+, $154ea in any 6+ $168.00 More Info
Domaine Géantet-Pansiot Gevrey-Chambertin Vielles Vignes 2015
- $185.00 More Info
Domaine Hubert Lignier Chambolle-Musigny Vielles Vignes 2016
- $146.00 More Info
Domaine Hubert Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin ‘La Justice’ 2016
- $450.00 More Info
Domaine Hubert Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru ‘Aux Combottes’ 2016
- $146.00 More Info
Domaine Hubert Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin 2016