Brett happens

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MWG April 17th tasting (5/6): Pinot Noir and Pinot Nero

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Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er cru 2010, Les Hauts Jarrons, Domaine de Bellène ($57.25, 12239262)
The estate is the former Domaine Nicolas Potel, now renamed but still run by Potel; the estate wines are labelled Domaine de Bellène, the négociant wines Maison Roche de Bellène. 100% organically and biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir from 50-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Vinified without additives other than sulphur dioxide. Around 40% of the grapes are destemmed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and at temperatures up to 32°C takes place in stainless steel tanks and old oak foudres and lasts between 15 and 25 days. The must is subsequently pressed in a vertical press, with the wine being gravity-fed into first- to third-fill oak barrels for maturation lasting a little more than a year. Unfiltered. 13.5% ABV.
Bizarre nose of smoked meat and the expected red berries, eventually gaining spicy, cedary and ferny notes. In the mouth, primary and closed. Finely structured, with sinewy tannins and fresh acidity. The silky fruit is lean, ripe and clean, the oak discreet. Minerals come out on the finish. A balanced wine with real presence but one that moved no one around the table. That was especially disappointing as the staff at the Laurier SAQ had raved about the wine, declaring it one of the best $60 red Burgs they’d tasted in ages. By coincidence, two staff members happened to be around when this was poured and both said it smelled nothing like the wine they’d tried. So, was our bottle off? (Buy again? Not without tasting another bottle first.)

Alto Adige 2010, Pinot Nero, Ludwig, Elena Walch ($36.50, 12142567)
100% Pinot Noir. Macerated at low temperatures for 48 hours. Part of the must is fermented in Slovenian oak vats, the rest in stainless steel tanks. When malolactic fermentation is completed, the wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 16 months’ maturation. 13% ABV.
Outgoing, unnuanced nose: red berries, dill, spice and oak. Smooth though, compared with the silky Hauts Jarrons, the texture verges on velvety. The fruit is rich, ripe and not particularly deep, the acidity soft, the tannins round. Sweet oak crescendos into the finish, where it’s joined by spice box flavours and a lingering astringency. Popular with some around the table but I found the oak distracting and cloying. Better in a year or two when it has digested the wood? (Buy again? Unlikely.)

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Written by carswell

May 2, 2014 at 20:13

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