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MWG November 24th tasting: Perfectly Pinot

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Côtes-de-Nuits Villages 2012, Viola odorata, Domaine Henri Naudin-Ferrand ($76.75, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Each of the estate’s unsulphured cuvées is named after a different wildflower found growing in the vineyards. The grapes for this 100% Pinot Noir come from sustainably farmed 70- to 85-year-old vines grown in three parcels. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are vatted under carbon dioxide for two weeks’ maceration and fermentation (with indigenous yeasts and occasional punch-downs), followed by a quick, gentle pressing, The must is transferred by gravity into large barrels for 48 hours’ settling and then into French oak barrels (80% new) for malolactic fermentation and maturation (18 months in all). Bottled unfiltered and unfined using gravity and compressed air (no pumping). No added sulphur. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
The kind of fragrant nose that makes Pinot Noir lovers swoon: red berries, forest floor, ferns, cola, beet, turned earth, slate, ash and a hint of iodide. A sip shows the wine to be a medium-bodied, silky textured, expansive mouthful of ripe fruit with firm yet lacy tannins and glowing acidity, all grounded in earth and minerals and slow-fading in a long, woody (not oaky) finish. Am not sure how it pulls off the trick of being both rustic and elegant but it does. Carafe an hour or longer if serving now or cellar for another five or ten years. (Buy again? If you can afford it, go for it!)

Vosne-Romanée 2011, Les Jachées, Domaine Bizot ($179.00, 11381953)
The 3.5-hectare estate produces a total 900 cases of wines a year. 100% Pinot Noir from sustainably farmed 80-plus-year-old vines grown in the Les Jachées vineyard. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are vatted, fermented with indigenous yeasts for 14 to 20 days and gently pressed. The must is transferred to new oak barrels for 15 to 20 months’ maturation. Unpumped, unracked, unfiltered and unfined, with not added sulphur. Manually bottled, barrel by barrel (the label specifies which barrel the wine came from). 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
More assertive but equally textbook nose redolent of spice, cherry, wood, cedar, turned earth, beet: ça pinote, as they say around here. Richer, rounder and deeper, too. Structured though not at the expense of fluidity. Silky fruit unfurls over fine velvety tannins and sleek acidity. Layers of minerals and wood hint at unplumbable depths. Gains a liqueurish note on the seemingly endless finish. Dry but so ripe and pure you don’t notice. In a word, spellbinding. Remarkably accessible for such a primary wine, which isn’t to say it shouldn’t be cellared for a decade. (Buy again? If you can afford it, go for it!)

An interesting flight for several reasons. First, it was arguably the most memorable of the tasting. Also, both wines come from the Côtes-de-Nuits and are made with grapes from old vines. Both estates have similar farming and winemaking practices. And lastly, Claire Naudin and Jean-Yves Bizot were once an item and remain good friends.

(Flight: 3/5)

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Written by carswell

December 19, 2014 at 14:05

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