I’ve mentioned that Pinot is my favorite wine no matter where it comes from. But it’s always interesting to taste the difference in the wine depending upon where it’s produced. The differences really are amazing. I recently attended a tasting of Pinot Noirs from around the world. I always try to take advantage of tastings like this at local wine shops. It’s a nice way to learn about and try some new wines, as well as develop some relationships with the folks in the store. Yeah OK, it doesn’t hurt that the tastings are free! In this instance, I tasted a French Rose from the Loire Valley of France and Pinots from France, New Zealand, and California’s Santa Rita Hills and Russian River Valley regions. I was a little disappointed that there was no representation from Oregon or one of the South American countries (something a bit more “global”), but it was a nice tasting nonetheless.
France – Loire Valley
The first wine out the gate was a 2014 Claude Riffault Sancerre Rose “La Noue” from the Loire Valley. The wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir and I really liked it. Actually, it was exquisite. Strawberries on the nose and strawberries in my mouth. The fruit taste on the front end was followed by a crisp, dry finish. Definitely one of the better, drier Roses I’ve had. Now keep in mind that this is a very dry Rose, so if you lean toward something a bit off-dry, this may not be for you. But heck, even if you prefer off-dry wines, I still say give this one a try.
France – Burgundy
The next wine I tried was a Burgundy from France, a 2012 Domaine Rollin Pere et Fils Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune. Yeah, it’s a mouthful. When I first took a whiff, I could smell some berries, but it also had an earthy smell. To me, Burgundies tend to be more restrained when it comes to fruit, so I was surprised at the bit of fruit I tasted. I was even more surprised given the relative youth of the wine. It was very pleasant and I could see myself having this with dinner or even on its own.
New Zealand – Central Otago
The third wine I tasted was the 2009 Carrick Unravelled from the Central Otago region of New Zealand. This wine region in New Zealand is the southernmost in the world. This wine was “fleshy” and “thick” which is to say it had texture that you could feel in your mouth. While I could smell some cherry, I didn’t taste any. This was an example of a more tannic Pinot.
California – Santa Rita Hills
Up next was the 2013 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills of California. This was the #8 wine on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2014. Definitely smelled very earthy, with some fruit. Though it had some fruit, I found it to be very structured and somewhat tannic. Though drinkable now, I could also see myself laying this down for a few more years to see it soften up some more.
California – Russian River Valley
The final wine I tasted (and my favorite of the bunch) was the 2012 Emeritus Hallberg Ranch from the Russian River Valley. Definitely some berry fruit on the nose. I really liked the fruit I tasted on this. It was somewhat restrained and structured, but was a bit more fruit forward than the previous wine.
People have all sorts of generalizations about what wine tastes like from different regions around the globe. And while many times those generalizations bear out, sometimes they do not. It’s nice to actually taste the different characteristics and experience them for yourself. I really did enjoy seeing and tasting the differences in the various Pinots and I look forward to doing this again with even more wine regions represented.