Cascina Baricchi Vino Rosso P-N 2010, Piemonte

The frequent reader of this wine-blog might have realized it a long time ago! I am shameless! Shameless in terms of almost everthing related to wine and particulary in terms of my Pinot Noir adverntures! I had bottles from almost everywhere around the globe. Rare ones, surprising ones, miserable ones, ones from afar and course plenty from rather “strange“ lands. But venturing into holy realms of one oft the Big B wine regions - apart of the best and most wonderful of all them big Bs of course - to have some Pinot? That, I have never dared to do … publicly! As most wine friends know Langhe, the direct encircling neighbourhood to Barolo and Barbaresco, is one of those legendary wine regions many sought to get a little drip of soma on their tongue. Me included … probably!?! Varietals, soils, expositions are similar to Barolo and Barbaresco. Only the allowed varietals differ (a bit). Anyway, enough prelude blather! So today it is time for Piedmotese Pinot Nero. Cascina Baricchi, the producer which I haven't mentioned yet, concentrates mostly on wines made from traditional Piedmontese grape varitetals such as Barbera, Dolcetto, Timorasso and of course Nebbiolo as well as quite a variety of fizz made from Nebbiolo, Syrah (!), Pinot Nero and Moscato. The winery was established in the late 1980s by Giovanni Simonetta and since 1996 his agile and adventerous son Natale is in charge of the production. All grapes of the approx. 6 ha small winery are cultivated on lime-loamy-marl soils close to Neviglie a few kilometers upthehills from Alba. The maceration of the "P-N" 2010 Langhe Rosso took 10 days in oak and was subsequently aged in used Barrique barrels from 12 months. Let's have a sip or two or better more ...


Chateau LaFayette Reneau Pinot Noir 2013, Finger Lakes New York

I have sent my tongue along the Hudson River. I've sent it to Long Island – where by the way the best wines in the Empire State might come from - but that's just my opinon … and even more scary might be the fact that these pretty convinving potations were made from, errr from … I almost not dare to type it: Mmm ... Merlot! Whatever, today I am glad to send my tongue to the Finger Lakes betweeen Syracuse, Buffalo, the outback of north Pennsylvania and mighty Lake Ontario. Of course it is not the first time I let my tongue venture in this area. I had a few fairly good Rieslings, some solid Chardonnay, one or two interesting over-peppery Cabernet Sauvignons and wines from unmentioned varietals I actually don't want to try all too often. Anyway, but I've never had a fairly good Pinot Noir, although quite a lot of producers offer wines made from this finest of the finest. Most Pinots I had where easy-drinking fruit-driven at best, quite often displeasingly sugary and unfortunately without exception rather thin representatives of their kind. Today I'll have a Pinot Noir from Chateau LaFayette Reneau from the southeastern slopes of Lake Seneca. Lafayette Reneau was established in 1985 by Dick and Betty Reno. Like so many other winelovers all over the world they decided to go one step further. Not just collecting and drinking. They wanted more. Since then, their main focus lies on wines made from Riesling and Chardonnay from gravely loam soils. Today's Pinot originated from the same gravely loam. After harvest and fermentation it was aged for 12 months in new and used French, Hungarian and American oak barrels then racked together in a tank as well as filtered and stabilized. So, let's give it a try ...


Vinařství Krásná Hora Pinot Noir 2015, Morava

I love Prague! I still do … as it seems! Especially in summer! A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to reaffirm this love. I can't really tell you why exactly I love this surely beautiful city so much. Because beauty isn't everything! There are tons of beautiful places I've been to and many of them did not impress me that much. Perhaps it is the usual daze generated by highly unsensible amounts of cakes, coffee and high-voltage Absinth which might soften my ever critical personality. Noooo, I don't think sooo. I am not as critical as many people d'like to think. So, I assume it is this unusually relaxed – at least unusually relaxed for a large central European city, tranquil, serene and slightly morbid touch to this place which makes it so appealing to me. Well, of course tranquil and serene apart of those well known hords of bachelors from Germany, Britain and other palces in their Borat like swim suits and their slightly louder form of unconcious multilateral-communication. These performances are not so enormously appealing, I think. And there is  Franz and my everlasting love for his stories. And little Krtek the hero of my childhood. And, and, and ... So, I guess there are plenty of reasons to love Prague, but what on earth has this to do with wine!? Well, nothing at all! Or almost nothing at all! Well, in Prague I had the chance to hunt down a couple of bottles of Czech Pinot Noir which isn't that easy to find outside the country! And today I'd like to share the first of these bottles. Thanks to my total inability in the Czech language - by the way a very difficult language - I won't be able to jibber-jabber all to much about today's Pinot. What I can tell you is that it was produced by Vinařství Krásná Hora in Morava, more precise from Starý Poddvorov region, in the very south-east of the Czech Republic alongside the border to Austria and Slovakia. Krásná Hora is a very small family winery with approx. 5 ha. It was established in 2005 and produces wines from various Burgundian varietals as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Muscat, Traminer and Zweigelt. All grapes are cultivated in accordance with organic principles and were grown on loess dominated soils. My Pinot Noir was aged in used oak barrels for round about 12 months. I guess, that is enough.Let's get started ...


Podere Monastero La Pineta Pinot Nero 2012, Toscana

Tasting – and sometimes even drinking, yes – quite a lot (or too much) Pinot Noirs year in, year out, one might be endangered to fall for a feeling of certain indifference or even tedium. Emphasis on the term "might“, of course! Don't worry, I will never truely get bored of Pinot Noir. I am absolutely certain of that! I'm aiming to get somewhere else. Sometimes you might be privileged to have something in your glass (in this case in a not so much loved Zalto) which was different! Different in good! I like different! Actually, I pretty much adore different because it spices up life and conveys you to new places/directions etc. This different, this different in good … in very damn good actually, I had in my very Zalto about a month ago. I am not shy to admid that I do like Italian Pinot Noirs from Lombardia, Trentino, Alto Adige or even those rather pithy, animal'istic, complicated (especially during childhood and teenage years), acidic and tannic fellows from Tuscany as well as Umbria. The Pinot I am refering today originated from Tuscany ... without being too pithy, rustic or whatsoever. To be more precise it originated from Tuscany's heart Chianti ... although my La Pineta Pinot Nero 2012 from Podere Monastero is naturally not permitted to be named Chianti for obvious reasons. In 2000 the oenologist Alessandro Cellai started to cultivate Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines in pine groves (therefore its name La Pineta) near Castellina on an overall surface of three hectares at an elevation of roundabout 500 meters above seal-evel. The soils in his vinyards are dominated by limestone. The Pinot Noir clones from French origin were very carefully selected to fit the natural surroundings of the Chianti region. In 2006 the first Pinots from about 1,5 hectares were produced. Merely 875 bottles!!! Since then each vintage were fermented with natural yeasts in temperature controlled (26° C) Allier vats and subsequently aged for 12 months in 100% new Allier barriques with medium toasting.


Quinta de Sant'Ana Pinot Noir 2014, Lisboa

With today's post my absolutely non-disturbing Pinot-dependency is getting more and more obvious! I really must be totally Pinot-driven! Well, to most of you this won't be real news. Anyway, but who on earth is drinking Pinot Noir from a wine country with such a rich and diverse bounty of grape varietals like Portugal??? This, or something like this, must have been on the mind of the clerk in a rather well known wine shop in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago when I explicitly asked for all Portugese Pinot Noirs they have. Perhaps he even had something a bit more "graphic" on his mind. Well, I surely would have deserved such thoughts. Ok, let's stop this Pinot-induced-paranoia and conclude with another filling anyway … Today's Pinot Noir is my third from Portugal in total. The first one was the remarkable Casal Sta. Maria Pinot Noir 2011 a bit north-west of Lisbon. And there was Niepoort's slightly tricky Projectos Pinot Noir 2011 from Douro region. Today, I am back in Lisboa. Round about 30 minutes north of the Portugese capital the Quinta da Sant'Ana produces an assessable range of wines made from quasi locals like Verdelho, Alvarinho or Touriga Nacional as well as "aliens" like Merlot, Pinot Noir and Riesling since the year 2004. The grapes for my Pinot Noir were culitvated on steep slopy calcareous-clay soils in a quite cool hill region just about 12km from the Atlantic Ocean. The grapes were hand-picked, partly crushed by traditional foot treading in Lagares and macerated before allowing natural yeasts to begin the fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The subsequent one year ageing took place in used French barriques. And here we go. Pinot No. 3 from Portugal ...


Biu de Sort Negre Pinot Noir 2015, Costers del Segre

INOX and Pinot Noir aren't a very fashionable combo these days, I think. Well, at least in case of sincerely mentionable wines of certain quality. Living in south-west Germany I am perfectly aware that there are plenty of Pinots which were fermented and aged in stainless steel ... and possibly even heated-up in steel. I really don't want to get into details. It's just too sad ...Today, I would like to refer to a respectable Pinot which were simply kissed by cold steel. I have to admit, I don't know many. On a recent trip to Barcelona I had the pleasure to encounter such a respectable one. The Biu de Sort Negre 2015 produced by Batlliu de Sort in the small Catalan wineregion of Costers del Segre is one nice example that Pinot from steel can be pretty enchanting. First, let me tell you something about Costers del Segre. I assume that not every wine geek on the globe is all too familiar with this relatively new wine region (DO was est. 1988). Costers del Segre is located in the province of Lleyda in the very west of Catalonia. It is a rather scattered region which stretches out over the entire central west of Catalonia (approx. 4500 hectares). The climate of the region is somehow extreme. In winter it is getting easily below 0° C. In summer equally easily over 35° C. Heavy rainstorms (aka snowstorms), droughts, hail and spring frosts are well know as well. The soils of the region are dominated by meagre dark lime soils. So were the vines for the Biu Negre 2015 cultivated on calcerous soils at an elevation of approx. 850 m above sea-level in Sort - Pallars Sobirà (right next to Andorra) which is by the way already in the high Pyrenees. Fermentation took place in large INOX deposits and subsequent ageing in INOX took about 10 months. Let's have a look how this Pinot made in steel was ...


Egon Müller Kanta Riesling Balhannah Vineyard 2008, Adelaide Hills

Fo woin friens who arn't veryy familiaa with the Aussie woin speectrum thiis one myght be quoit a surproiis! Ohhh no ... okay, okay I stop my pathetic (and probably quite offensive) attempt to sound like a local. Sometimes it is really hard to find a good start - and you simply come up with bonkers ideas! Today, I most certainly failed! Anyway, the first time I've heard of this Kanta Riesling - it must be about seven years ago - it surely was a big surprise to me. Egon Müller - (one of) the biggest name(s) in the Riesling business – better try to delete the words in the brackets – producing Riesling in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia!? Okay, it is not like that Egon Müller himself is managing the every day business of this project. This Kanta (= sanskrit for beloved) project is actually a joint-venture between Egon Müller from the sacrosanct Scharzhof in Saar Valley and Adelaide's Michael Andrewartha of East End Cellars. So, the main responsibility for today's Riesling was in the hands of Michael. The actual Balhannah Vineyard though belongs to the well known Shaw & Smith wine company in Balhannah. A third party. The soils of the vineyard are dominated by sandy loam over red clay and are set about an average altitude of 420 metres. Spontaneous fermentation and long maceration were also on the agenda. So, let's have our first sip of this very interesting project Riesling ...


Two Paddocks Winery Picnic Pinot Noir 2012, Central Otago

Remember movies like The Piano, Jurassic Park or The Hunt for Red October? What do these pictures all have in common? Any idea? Well, if you have good eyesight and look at the admittingly tiny photo above a bit closer you might recognize a gentleman. The gentleman to the left. Of course the one on the label, not the one in the background who seems to take his Fido out for an early morning walk in Kensington Gardens. This very gentleman is the - let's say - „unifying dimenson“ with the name: Sam Neill. A still very well known actor from New Zealand who started the Two Paddocks winery as proprietor in 1993 near Gibbston in Central Otago by planting 5 acres of Burgundian Pinot Noir clones. By the way, you can check out his true passion for Pinot Noir in a number of really funny clips on the winery's website. Now back to history: About the same time his friend Roger Donaldson planted another vineyard right next door. Hence the name for the winery was born: Two Paddocks! Since the late 1990s production increased significantly. Since then Two Paddocks produces up to five Pinot Noirs (depending on the vintage) each year. Since 2003 Two Paddocks also produces two Rieslings from Red Bank vineyard in the Alexandra Basin in the south of Central Otago. From a European perspective the true end of the wineworld! A part of today's entry-level Pinot Noir from 2012 with the well fitting name Picnic comes also from this very southern area around Alexandra. The grapes for the Picnic were harvested by hand, up to 85% were de-stemmed and were given a 5 to 7 days of cold maceration. Fermentation on skins with indigenous yeasts took another 5 to 7 days. Afterwards the Picnic was aged for 10 months in 1 to 4 year old French medium toasted barriques. Well, let's have our first sip of this very very distant Pinot Noir ….