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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

Chateau de Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition tasting of Best Buy Red Burgundy (see blue link below).

Chateau De Santenay Mercurey Rouge (Vielles Vignes) 2016 - Nov 2018 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 fruit for the Mercurey Rouge comes from Chateau de Santenay's 72 hectares of vines planted across the Mercurey appellation. The soils 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 finesse and 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.

100% Pinot Noir.

This wine is dark ruby in colour, it is bright and lifted with excellent concentration. the nose is elegant with aromas of ripe red fruit including cherries, and a touch of oak. The palate is full with great structure and an attractive chewy and grainy character. The finish is long and fresh.

ABV = 13.0%.

** See also Chateau de Santenay's excellent Premier Cru Mercurey - the 2014 vintage was rated as a DWWA 2017 Best in Category Wine **

£22.65

Darenberg Feral Fox Pinot Noir 2018 (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 2018 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.20

Domaines Minchin La Tour Saint Martin Pommerais Menetou Salon 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Domaines Minchin is located in the heart of the Loire Valley. Having studied oenology at Beaune and Dijon, Bertrand Minchin acquired his first vineyards in the village of Morogues over 20 years ago, planting them with eight hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and seven of Pinot Noir. Today with an established reputation for quality, the estate has doubled in size to 17 hectares in Menetou-Salon and a further 14 in Valençay. The modern winery incorporates the latest technology and Bertrand is hand-crafting wines that are easily on a par with the finest Sancerre.

The grapes come from a single vineyard ‘Pommerais’ in the appellation of Menetou Salon, which is situated in the eastern part of the Loire Valley. Domaines Minchin is certified by Haute Valeur Environmentale and the vineyards are managed according to a strict sustainable philosophy, known as lutte raisonnée. The vineyard is planted with grass, and the soil is tilled and worked to ensure the health and vigour of the vine, while encouraging beneficial biodiversity. Debudding takes place in spring along with careful canopy management in summer, including thinning, which encourages the grapes to reach optimal ripeness and concentrates the flavours in the berries.

The Loire Valley vines enjoyed excellent heath throughout the season. 2017 was characterised by an early harvest, which took place two weeks earlier than average, under ideal weather conditions. Frost in April impacted some areas resulting in lower yields; however the excellent quality of the grapes harvested shows good levels of maturity and flavour concentration.

The grapes were harvested by hand at optimum maturity, destemmed and crushed by pneumatic press. Fermentation was carried out in temperature controlled tanks. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on its lees in oak vats for eight months; of which 80% spent its maturation in cone-shaped oak tanks, and the remaining 20% was in oak barrels.

100% Pinot Noir.

A silky smooth Pinot Noir with beautiful balance. Rich and complex aromas of deep red cherries and wild strawberries are underpinned by mineral notes and a hint of liquorice. Silky smooth on the palate, with delicate fruity notes enveloped in a beautifully balanced structure.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 12.5%.

£17.90

Josef Chromy Pinot Noir 2017 (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 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£22.50

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 2018 (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 = 14.0%.

£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 = 14.0%.

£17.30

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their February 2020 edition panel tasting of New World, single-vineyard Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Schubert Block B Pinot Noir 2016 - February 2020 Decanter review

Schubert Wines was established by Kai Schubert, a graduate from the Viticulture and Oenology University in Geisenheim, Germany. Working with eminent winemaker Erni Loosen of Bernkastel, Kai gained huge experience working in Europe, the US and South America. In 1998, he acquired a small, established vineyard at Dakins Road, Martinborough. 

Schubert’s philosophy is to craft wines of uncompromising quality that would stand out alongside the finest in the world. Fourteen hectares of vines are closely planted in the traditional, European style and the unique cool climate and long dry autumns help to produce low yields.

Predominantly focused on Pinot Noir, Schubert has expanded plantings to include Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Small quantities of white grapes are also planted, including Sauvignon Blanc and Müller-Thurgau used to add aromas to the Tribianco blend and a classic late harvest wine. The estate concentrates on ecologically and environmentally friendly organic viticulture. Respect for the terroir results in wines of outstanding character, complexity, balance and grace.

Located within the Wairarapa Valley of Martinborough, the region is cooler and drier than any other on the North Island, and like Marlborough across the Cook Strait, it is exposed to cold winds that funnel in from the southern ocean. 

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Block B Schubert Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

Fruit aromas of blackcurrant, dark cherries and plums are unfolding from the glass, combined with hints of dried herbs. Marvellously complex and seductive with a beautiful, smooth texture but firm structure with very ripe fruit, minerals, subtle leafiness and rosewood. The supporting role of the oak intensifies the underlying dark chocolate and toasty characters.

ABV = 14.5%.

£34.60

Vina Echeverria Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Chilean Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Viña Echeverria Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

Viña Echeverría is a family-run estate winery, owned and managed by the Echeverría family. Established in 1930, but with an agricultural heritage going back to the 1700s, Viña Echeverría is as much today, as always, driven by a shared passion for winemaking and an uncompromising search for excellence. Viña Echeverría combines nearly a century of viticulture and winemaking experience with a modern state-of-the-art winery, to produce a range of over 20 quality wines from nine different grape varieties. It has recently been awarded its Sustainable Winery status by Wines of Chile, as well as its ISO9000 certification.

The vineyard is located in the Casablanca Valley, a cool-climate coastal region close to the Pacific Ocean approximately 47 miles north of Santiago. The proximity to the sea results in a Mediterranean climate, with pronounced maritime influence. The cooling sea breezes from the cold Humboldt stream, tempers the heat of the warm, sunny days and creates cool foggy mornings, ideal for top quality Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The soils are clay and sandy soils, which provide good drainage. Careful pruning ensures the correct balance between canopy and fruit.

The 2017 harvest was characterised by high temperatures throughout the ripening period from véraison onwards and late rainfall during spring. The temperatures were warm and favourable during flowering. The warm average temperatures allowed for a high accumulation of sugars in the berries which resulted in earlier harvest than usual, by one to two weeks. The red wines achieved soft tannins, good colour and a great aromatic expression.

Cold pre-fermentation maceration took place at 5°C for four to five days, in order to extract colour and primary aromas. Fermentation lasted for 10 to 12 days at temperatures of 26° to 29°C in stainless steel tanks, with selected yeasts. Post fermentation maceration lasted for five days, then 100% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. 75% of the wine was aged in French oak barrels for six months, adding oak complexity to the final blend.

100% Pinot Noir.

This elegant Pinot Noir combines aromas of strawberries, black cherries and raspberries with hints of chocolate and mocha. The palate is round and soft, with refreshing acidity and balanced fruit. Works well with earthy flavours such as mushrooms and truffles, grilled meats - pheasant or a rack of lamb. Try with oily fish such as salmon and tuna.

ABV = 13.5%.

£10.95
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