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MWG November 13th tasting: Pinot Noir v. Spätburgunder

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Alsace Pinot Noir 2012, Les Jardins, Domaine Léon Boesch ($29.89, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Pinot Noir from a 1.1-hecatre parcel of organically and biodynamically farmed vines averaging 20 years old. Manually harvested. The uncrushed whole clusters are macerated several days at 12°C. Fermented using indigenous yeasts with pumping over at the start, daily punch-downs and no chaptalization or temperature control. After pressing with a pneumatic press, the wine is matured 12 months in neutral barrels with top-ups every two or three weeks and no lees stirring. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Reductive at first, then exuberant red berries, cedar, gingerbread, wood-grilled flank steak and slate. Vibrant and mouth-filling. The tannic structure, bright acidity, depth and length seem positively Burgundian while the juicy freshness is anything but. Fun. (Buy again? Gladly.)

QbA Rheinhessen 2010, Spätburgunder, Holzfass, Battenfeld-Spanier ($33.95, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The up-and-coming 28-hectare estate is located in Hohen-Sülzen near Worms. It has been organic since 1993, began working biodynamically in 2005 and is now a member of La Renaissance des appellations. This 100% Pinot Noir is fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in new 1,200-litre oak barrels. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Less rich and more peppery than the Boesch. Fluid, spicy, dry. The fruit is clean though there’s not lots of it. On the other hand, the streaming acidity, light but resilient tannins, slate and wood substrate and bitter finish give the wine a severe appeal. Among the more impressive German Pinot Noirs I’ve tasted. Would make an interesting ringer in a flight of similarly priced Burgundies. (Buy again? Sure.)

(Flight: 6/9)

Written by carswell

November 29, 2014 at 11:42

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