PIN­ING FOR PINOT

We look be­yond the French borders to pick other in­car­na­tions of this el­e­gant am­brosia

Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS - WORDS LIN WEIWEN

KOOY­ONG ES­TATE, MERES PINOT NOIR 2013

Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, Aus­tralia ‘Cool cli­mate’ has be­come such a trendy Aussie wine speak, you hear it even from wine­mak­ers in very warm re­gions, us­ing the term for their hill­side vine­yards. Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, which sticks out of the south-east­ern coast into the Bass Strait, is one of the few Aussie wine re­gions that can truly claim to have cool cli­mate sta­tus. Here, vine­yards lap up the mod­er­ate tem­per­a­tures to pro­duce qual­ity Pinot Noir.

One of the top pro­duc­ers in Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula is Kooy­ong Es­tate. The Meres, its prized sin­gle vine­yard, is known for its low vigour and yield, pro­duc­ing a wine that is rich and ex­pres­sive. The 2013 vin­tage is a silky am­brosia, with de­li­cious pri­mary flavours of cher­ries and plum, and ter­tiary notes of mush­rooms, al­monds and tamarind. Drink it now or cel­lar it for an­other five more years.

$129, from Her­mitage Qual­ity Wines. Tel: 6438 1120

NEW­TON JOHN­SON WINES, FAM­ILY VINE­YARDS PINOT NOIR 2016

Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa Pinot Noir isn’t ex­actly top of mind when it comes to South Africa’s red wines: most drinkers would men­tion Pino­tage—the funky quaff born out of a cross be­tween Pinot Noir and Cin­sault—in­stead. This is good news for those who are look­ing for Pinot Noirs that are off the radar. The val­ley of Hemel-en-Aarde, which means ‘Heaven and Earth’ in Afrikaans, is home to just 15 winer­ies spe­cial­is­ing in Pinot Noir. The mar­itime in­flu­ence means the area is ideal for grow­ing Pinot: winds come straight off the sea and give the area a cooler sum­mer.

Hemel-en-Aarde-based New­ton John­son Wines’ Pinot Noirs are grown in the clay soils of vine­yards with al­ti­tudes be­tween 150m and 300m. 2016 was hot­ter than usual, and the fruit were picked a lit­tle ear­lier to pro­tect against the heat. The wine’s flo­ral per­fume and soft tan­nins are rem­i­nis­cent of a top Bur­gundy, while its ex­pres­sive red fruit core chan­nels a Cen­tral Otago spirit. $90, from Stellez Vine. Tel: 9756 4509

WEINGUT RU­DOLF FÜRST, CENTGRAFENBURG SPÄTBURGUNDER 2014

Franconia, Ger­many Ger­man Pinot Noirs or Spät­bur­gun­ders (some­times short­ened to ‘Spats’ in vino con­ver­sa­tions) from re­gions like Ahr, Baden and Franconia have been giv­ing their Bur­gun­dian coun­ter­parts a run for their money. Ger­man wine­mak­ers are tak­ing a ‘less is more’ ap­proach, re­duc­ing yields and us­ing a gen­tler ex­trac­tion to cre­ate fresh, el­e­gant Pinots. Oth­ers like Franconia-based Weingut Ru­dolf Fürst are pick­ing the fruit a lit­tle ear­lier to keep its nat­u­ral acid­ity. The win­ery’s flag­ship Centgrafenburg Spätburgunder Grosses Gewachs (Ger­man First Growth) 2014 has shades of a fem­i­nine Cham­bolle-Musigny, thanks to its rich bou­quet of red fruit, figs and white petals, and a satin-smooth fin­ish.

From Wein & Vin. Tel: 8828 3113

FRAN­CIS FORD COP­POLA, DI­REC­TOR’S CUT, RUS­SIAN RIVER VAL­LEY PINOT NOIR 2016

Sonoma County, Cal­i­for­nia Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola, di­rec­tor of the crit­i­cally ac­claimed The

God­fa­ther tril­ogy, doesn’t need to get be­hind the cam­era to make you an of­fer you can’t refuse. The griz­zled au­teur has been in­volved in the wine busi­ness for 40 years, first pur­chas­ing the Napa-based In­glenook win­ery in 1975 be­fore set­ting up his epony­mous win­ery in Sonoma County in 2006.

The Di­rec­tor’s Cut, Rus­sian River Val­ley Pinot Noir hails from an area reg­u­larly blan­keted by fog from the Pa­cific. This phe­nom­e­non brings down day­time tem­per­a­tures, ex­tends the fruit’s grow­ing sea­son, and builds its acid­ity. The Rus­sian River Pinot has a de­li­cious red cherry core, slightly soft tan­nins and flirty min­er­ally touches. There’s a Beau­jo­lais-like bub­ble gum flavour that ac­com­pa­nies its fin­ish, like a youth with a lit­tle at­ti­tude. We’d age this youngling for an­other five to ten years to let it mel­low. $75, from Her­mitage Qual­ity Wines. Tel: 6438 1120

BURN COT­TAGE VINE­YARD, PINOT NOIR 2015

Cen­tral Otago, New Zealand Cen­tral Otago’s Pinot Noirs rarely let us down, and this was an­other hit. We fin­ished this bot­tle of silky am­brosia in one night, with­out any food pair­ing. Pri­mary notes of rose and straw­ber­ries give way to savoury ac­cents of mush­rooms, dried leaves and cedar. Acid­ity is firm, wrap­ping around the flavours like a coil. A sub­tle note of Earl Grey tea emerges when the wine is left to breathe. Es­tab­lished in 2002, Burn Cot­tage Vine­yard is a 24-hectare es­tate lo­cated in the foothills of the Pisa range of moun­tains. The win­ery makes only Pinot Noir and Grüner Velt­liner; a stream­lined fo­cus that has clearly paid off. This is one win­ery to watch. $88, from 1855 The Bot­tle Shop. Tel: 6251 1855

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