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Pinot Noir

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Chateau de Santenay Mercurey 1er Cru Les Puillets 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Red Cote de Beaune over £15) at the 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2016 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Chateau de Santenay Les Puilllets 1er Cru 2014 - August 2016 Decanter review

This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d'Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes. Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni, and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. These are remarkably well made and good value wines from the Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise.

The eight hectare 'Les Puillets' vineyard is located on the south-south west facing hillslide slopes in the appellation of Mercurey. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soils here are rich in clay, but the limestone is still very present as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the red wines of Mercurey power and a beautiful structure.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for seven days at 8°C to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Temperature-controlled fermentation lasted 12 to 14 days with daily pumping over, finishing with a rack and return, or 'délestage', to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. The wine was then aged in oak barrels for 13 months, of which 20% were new, before bottling.

100% Pinot Noir.

A medium colour. The nose is focused on woody notes and kirsch. Full and rich, the palate shows red cherry and redcurrant flavours with mouthwatering freshness and pleasant tannins on the finish. Though drinking well now, it will reward some time in the cellar.

ABV = 13.0%.

£25.75

Darenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

100% Pinot Noir.

D'arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

d'Arenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.60

De Loach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by the Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and Biodynamic® viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.

The Pinot Noir is sourced from four vineyard sites across the Russian River: the BCD Vineyard, the Becnel Vineyard, the Heintz Vineyard and the Murray Vineyard. Each of these Russian River Valley Vineyards contributes their unique complexities to the final blend. The vines are grown on Huichica clay loam soils.

Crafted using traditional Burgundian techniques, the grapes were hand-sorted then fermented in small vats with all punch-downs done by hand. The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels (25% new oak) to create a complex, multi-layered Pinot Noir.

Please click the blue link below to see a full tasting note for this wine from De Loach themselves.

De Loach Russian River Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

The 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir opens with inviting aromas of raspberry, strawberry and a touch of vanilla. Silky on the palate, the wine offers flavours of strawberry, rhubarb, clove and plum. It is well balanced with moderate tannins and bright acidity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£22.75

Domaine Joblot 'l'Empreinte' Rouge, Givry 1er Cru 2016 (1x75cl)

A complex Burgundy showing expressive aromas of violets with chunky plum fruit on the palate and a long finish, full of finesse. 

One of the greatest producers in Southern Burgundy, the Joblot family has been producing fine wines for over four generations. They own 14 hectares of vineyard in four red and two white Premier Cru areas in Givry and lay great emphasis on vineyard management with small yields. Their total production is 6,000 cases per annum. The wines are vinified with a high proportion of new barriques resulting in powerful but elegant wines of top class quality. These sought-after wines have limited availability.

2016 was a vintage which benefited from a mild spring, providing optimal conditions for flowering. Unlike other areas in France, the vintage was not hampered by any episodes of hail or frost. The summer was characterised by hot days and cool temperatures at night, encouraging a full maturation of the berries and resulting in a classic Burgundy vintage. Harvest took place mid-September.

L’Empreinte means ‘Footprint’ in French and this cuvée is the result of the best parcels of Domaine Joblot’s four 1er Cru vineyards: Clos Maroles, Clos Du Cellier Aux Moines , Bois Chevaux and clos de la Servoisine, in the Burgundian appellation of Givry. The soils are all limestone, except in clos du Cellier Aux Moines where brown clay components can be found. The soils are lightly harrowed rather than ploughed to avoid soil erosion. The vines are pruned to the single cane Guyot method and are planted at a density of 8,000 per hectare; they are low-yielding, producing small, concentrated flavoursome berries. The vineyards are cultivated according to a philosophy of minimum intervention, in order to retain the essence of the terroir.

Juliette Joblot aims for an early harvest in order to retain the freshness and acidity in the grapes; each vintage it takes place before the autumn equinox. The grapes were harvested in three tonne bins, pressed in a horizontal press and racked. Fermentation took place at controlled temperatures with an automatic and gentle pigeage (punching down) twice daily. A very slow, cool extraction lasted for two weeks before the wine was transferred to Allier oak barrels (50% new) for 12 months, where slow malolactic fermentation took place. Following a minimal intervention approach, the wine did not undergo further racking, minimal sulphur was added during vinification and the blend was lightly fined prior to bottling.

Pinot Noir 100%.

A very expressive nose with pure, ripe red and black fruit aromas which lead to a silky, smooth palate with velvety tannins, great length and aromatic persistence.

ABV = 13.5%.

£30.25

Domaine Lucien Boillot Gevrey-Chambertin 2017 (1x75cl)

Pierre Boillot is a rare master of both the Côtes de Beaune and the Côtes de Nuits–not only does he have the vineyards but also the savoir-faire and skill. Pierre inherited this domaine from his father Lucien, whose name it still carries. Pierre worked together with his brother Louis for years, but a few years ago they parted ways and split up the family holdings. Pierre’s talent has become much more evident as he has had full control over this domaine, and in addition to retaining the original cellars in Gevrey-Chambertin, Pierre has instituted a rigorous revitalizing of the soils and vines in all of his vineyards. Pierre inherited very old vines from his father in the Côtes de Nuits and from his great-grandfather Henri Boillot, who was originally from Volnay, in the Côtes de Beaune.

Many of his vineyards are under-appreciated treasures: Volnay Les Angles, which was originally classified as one of the top premier cru sites in Volnay in the 19th century, Pommard Croix Noires right below Rugiens, Gevrey Cherbaudes right next to Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru and Gevrey Corbeaux right next to MazisChambertin Grand Cru. Every wine is a classic representation of its appellation–from Volnay and Pommard to Gevrey and Nuits-Saint-Georges, as Pierre’s work in the cellars is geared towards transparent, terroir-driven wines of purity and finesse. He is not, however, against a rich, plump, lusciousness in his reds.

This wine is medium to full-bodied, exceptionally complex with aromas of bacon, black cherries, liquorice, pencil lead, raspberry jam, a smokiness and dry toast. On the palate one can find a balanced acidity, integrated oak, modest tannins and cocoa powder, coffee, mushroom, peat moss, plum flavours jam, smoky.

ABV = 13.5%.

£40.25

Domaine Maillard Pere Et Fils Aloxe-Corton 2015 (1x75cl)

Domaine Maillard was founded in 1952 by Daniel Maillard, whose family have been viticulturists in Burgundy since 1766. Domaine Maillard now covers 19 hectares. His two sons, Alain and Pascal ensure the future of the estate and continue to respect the culture of the vineyard.

This Aloxe-Corton is drawn from vines averaging 40 years in age. Grapes are picked by hand to ensure that only the best grapes are used. Fermentation lasts some 12 to 15 days with 1-2 punch-downs per day. It is aged for 18 months in 228-litre French oak barrels (Burgundian pièces), of which some 25% are new. It is then bottled after only a light filtration to preserve the full integrity of the wine.

100% Pinot Noir.

An opulent and ripe, red wine with flavours of strawberry fruit. Wonderfully expressive and powerful in the mouth it finishes with soft silky tannins and an animal richness so typical of Pinot Noir.

Only 4,000 bottles made each year!

ABV = 13.0%.

£32.80

Domaine Maillard Pere Et Fils Aloxe-Corton 2016 (1x75cl)

Domaine Maillard was founded in 1952 by Daniel Maillard, whose family have been viticulturists in Burgundy since 1766. Domaine Maillard now covers 19 hectares. His two sons, Alain and Pascal ensure the future of the estate and continue to respect the culture of the vineyard.

This Aloxe-Corton is drawn from vines averaging 40 years in age. Grapes are picked by hand to ensure that only the best grapes are used. Fermentation lasts some 12 to 15 days with 1-2 punch-downs per day. It is aged for 18 months in 228-litre French oak barrels (Burgundian pièces), of which some 25% are new. It is then bottled after only a light filtration to preserve the full integrity of the wine.

100% Pinot Noir.

An opulent and ripe, red wine with flavours of strawberry fruit. Wonderfully expressive and powerful in the mouth it finishes with soft silky tannins and an animal richness so typical of Pinot Noir.

Only 4,000 bottles made each year!

ABV = 13.0%.

£33.90

Domaine Pierre Naigeon, Marsannay 2015 (1x75cl)

Pierre Naigeon is a leading and renowned producer in the Côtes de Nuits. The Naigeon family has been established in Gevrey-Chambertin for over 150 years. They acquired some vines and started to produce wine in 1890. The estate remained reasonably small until 2003 when Pierre purchased more land increasing their holdings to 11.5 hectares. Pierre Naigeon believes passionately in sustainable farming, without the use of herbicides. He believes in non-interventionist winemaking and aims to produce wines full of fragrance, revealing the natural terroir. The average age of his vines is remarkably high, mostly over 50 years, which endows the wines with an extraordinary quality, maturity and concentration.

The 2015 warm summer saw early flowering, with rapid development. Ripening was slowed due to hot July temperatures, but rain at the end of the month eased drought pressures. A cooler August allowed ripening to advance. Fine weather during the harvest resulted in superb quality fruit with excellent phenolic ripeness. Vineyard Marsannay is the northernmost appellation in the Côtes de Nuits, neighbouring Fixin. It is the only appellation to have AOC status for the production of red, white and rosé wine. The vineyard has an eastern orientation and is situated at 255 to 390 metres above sea level. The vielles vignes/or old vines are 45 years old and have developed deep root systems, nourished by complex layers of soil. The soils are diverse, predominantly clay and limestone, with white pockets of limestone and red, iron-rich soils. Pierre believes in respecting the terroir; he ensures the yields are kept low and follows organic and biodynamic principles, taking into consideration the cycles of the moon and the sun.

Vinified in a gravity-fed winery, this cuvée was made with the minimal amount of intervention. The perfectly ripe and healthy grapes were hand-harvested, with every bunch being delicately picked into small bins. The grapes underwent a meticulous manual sorting, before the whole bunches were gently pulled into the fermenters without the use of a pump. Fermentation started naturally with a cold soak, using indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. During fermentation, several pigeages (cap submersions) took place. Skin contact maceration followed, lasting for a couple of days, before the wine was racked by gravity into barrels. Matured for 12 months in French oak barrels in the 17th-Century cellar, the wine was not fined or filtered prior to bottling, to preserve its natural qualities.

Pinot Noir 100%.

A fresh and well flavoured red Burgundy showing plump and fleshy raspberry fruit combined with notes of sloes through to a fine, long finish. Accessible, and showing plump and fleshy red fruits with notes of violets. 

ABV = 13.5%.

£29.45

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. The estate is fully organic and uses biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensuring that fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be. The entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. There is a commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malolactic, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is wine that express the authenticity and complexity of their unique vineyards. 

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

Please click the blue link below to see Felton Road's excellent information and tasting note for this wine.

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£40.45

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

All fruit was grown in Marlborough's Southern Valleys and principally sourced from the Yarrum Vineyard situated on the Brancott / Ben Morven ridge. Typical of this subregion, the wind-blown loess soils are comprised of clay-loams with varying degrees of gravel content. The vineyards are all hillside plantings trained to two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) with a vine density of 3,800 plants per hectare.

A mild, frost-free spring with warm conditions through to early summer provided ideal growing conditions. November will be remembered more for the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that shook the upper South Island than the unseasonably high rainfall in Marlborough. December and January were very dry, cooler than normal and often very windy. Greywacke were 'thrilled with the results from the shortest and most challenging harvest to date'.

The grapes were hand harvested and chilled overnight prior to hand sorting. Most of the fruit was then de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, the majority of fermentations with partial whole bunch inclusion. The fruit was allowed to soak on skins prior to the onset of indigenous yeast fermentation, then plunged daily by hand. After fermentation the wine was pressed, racked and filled to French oak barriques (30% new). All individual clones were aged in barrel separately for 18 months prior to blending in September.

For the winemaker's own notes, click the link below.

Greywacke PN 2017 fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour with vibrant aromas of blackberries, blueberries and sweet black plums. An opulent style of Marlborough Pinot layered with notes of roasted chestnuts, clove and tobacco and hints of rose and lavender. On the palate, it has fine tannins and a smoky and lively finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£28.30

Jean-Claude Boisset Clos De La Roche Grand Cru 2012 (1x75cl)

Jean-Claude Boisset was radically transformed with the arrival in 2002 of viniculteur Grégory Patriat, one of the best viticulturalists/winemakers of his generation in Burgundy. Grégory had spent the previous three years working in the vineyards at Domaine Leroy and still spends a great deal of his time in the vineyards, paying his growers by the hectare in order to ensure low yields. He also prefers to work with organic growers, as he finds they produce better fruit. Unlike other Burgundian négociants, Grégory specialises in making wines from 'lieu-dits' or tiny plots of vines, something which accounts for the limited production of most of his wines.

Clos de la Roche is a highly regarded Grand Cru of 16 hectares in Morey-Saint-Denis, which sits between Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. 'La Roche' is a Grand Cru which takes its name from a rock used in Celtic times for rituals. This Cru produces Morey's most robust wines. This wine was made from old vines which were managed intensively and organically: low yields were achieved through careful pruning, debudding, cluster thinning and little or no use of fertiliser. The hard brown pebbly limestone soil makes a very firm wine with longevity.

The Côte de Nuits was severely affected by the hail storms and wet weather that characterised the late spring and early summer of 2012. With poor flowering conditions, there was low fruit set which resulted in reduced yields. Nevertheless, great care of the remaining grapes ensured excellent quality at harvest.

The grapes were carefully handpicked into 20 kilogram ventilated crates. They were sorted once at the vineyard and then again at the winery. The grapes were entirely destemmed (but not crushed) and transferred by gravity into tanks. Maceration lasted for three weeks, with occasional punching down of the cap. The wine was aged in oak barrels for sixteen to eighteen months, of which 50% were new.

100% Pinot Noir.

The nose is complex with black fruit, spice, roast coffee and a very elegant and delicate touch of oak from the ageing in barrel. On the palate, the wine is powerful and long with an elegant finish.

ABV = 12.5%.

£156.00

Josef Chromy Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Josef Chromy has been instrumental to the Tasmanian food and wine industry, having owned and developed some of Tasmania’s leading wineries including Rochecombe (now Bay of Fires), Jansz, Heemskerk and Tamar Ridge. Joe acknowledges Tasmania as the regional hero in this development: "I came here with nothing but hope and ambition over 50 years ago. Tasmanians welcomed me and, with their help, I have been rewarded for the challenges and risks I have taken in the wine industry”.

At 76, when most people would be thinking about easing up, Joe launched Josef Chromy Wines in December 2007. In just a few years, Josef Chromy Wines has made an impressive impact on the Australian wine industry.

100% Pinot Noir.

Please click on the blue link below to see the winemaker's notes on this wine.

Joseph Chromy Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£21.60

Millton La Cote Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.

The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Millton La Cote Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

ABV = 13.0%.

£20.40

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (Rebecca Gibb MW) in their January 2019 tasting (see blue link below).

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Noir 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

The grapes for this wine come from their estate vineyards on the Felton Road. Handpicked and hand crafted, this wine reflects the nature of the vintage displaying great concentration and balance. Red fruits of the forest along with blackberries dominate the aroma, these are underpinned by savoury herb and liquorice. The wine has a abundant fruity front palate which is fleshy and well textured. Wonderful smooth silky tannins combine with a hint of oak and delivers a truly expressive pinot with mineral characteristics associated with Central Otago.

ABV = 13.5%.

£24.20

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

"Medium-deep red-purple colour, youthful and fresh, as it is also on the nose. Bright Campari, bitter-herb aromas, with dominant red and black-cherry aromas. The wine is medium bodied and bright on the tongue, with remarkable depth of flavour for the money and plenty of soft, fine tannin. There is a lovely core of sweet fruit, too." 91 Points, Huon Hooke, 26 September 2018

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty (this is the 2017 sheet; 2018's is impending!).

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

The Roaring Meg is a classic example of Central Otago Pinot Noir. It exhibits a lovely mix of red and black berry fruits with further complexity gained from oak spice. The wine has a sweet berry palate which displays these same characters in abundance. Tannins rise gracefully out of the mid-palate to finish the wine; these are balanced by the wine’s natural acidity and fruit, to produce a long and fruit-driven finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£17.30
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