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 ….


Alma Valley Pinot Noir 2014, Crimea

Finally! Pinot from Crimea! Took a couple of years … well, at least in non-bubbling-condition. Thanks to a good friend - Большое спасибо Лена – this wine sopped challenge has finally been accomplished. Unfortunately, this time I won't be able to provide you guys with equally trottering and cheesy reminicent anecdotes like from Australia the other day. Simply because I've never really been to the very East of Europe. Something I desperately have to fetch up with, I suppose. Back to matter on tongue! Alma Estate was founded the first decade of this very century. The actual privatization of agricultural land in Crimea took a bit longer than in other regions of Eastern Europe. The winery is situated in Bakhchisarai area on the western foothills of Crimea a bit north-east of Sevastopol. The climate of this area can be characterized as mild mediterranean, with moderate influence of the Black Sea and good ventilation by sea breezes. Summers can be quite hot. However winters can be strikingly cold which can be a rather tricky from time to time. The soils range from brown loam in the elevated areas to the limestone and marlstone vineyards of the riverlands. This particular soil is know to the locals as "white-eyed clay". With help from Swiss and German experts the actual professional wineproduction started from 2005 to 2008. So, it is a quite new project. Today, Alma cultivates a very wide range of well know European varieties on round about 160 hectares. My Pinot Noir from 2014 was fermented at controlled temperature in both stainless steel and oak tanks and was partially aged in oak barrels. Enough of my dry blather! Now it's time for some serious drinking ...


Ocean Eight Pinot Noir 2010, Mornington Peninsula

It's been quite a drought around here, right?! What an outrageously lazy period without Pinots from distant places or other mildly extraordinary wines from regions somewhere around the globe. More than a months?! Really!? I hardly can look in the mirror! For the future I do vow not to give in such to sluggishness again … I hope ...
To make up for this ignominy I'd like to send my tongue all the way down to Australia onto the beautifully scenic Mornington Peninsula south east of Melbourne. Well, at least I think it was scenic. I've only been there once. Then, well intoxicated with a horrific hangover induced by cheap Shiraz based fizz and shaken by a bumpy and awkwardly chatty minibus ride down a coastal road. Both of which might have blured my memory a bit. In short, I wasn't well … at all. Not to mention the subsequent ferry ride across the bay ... Anyway, I digress! As always! The frequent reader probably got used to my constantly deviating thought processes. Back to the matter on tongue! Today's Pinot from the vintage 2010 was produced by Michael Aylward from Ocean Eight vineyard & winery in Shorehame on the south-east coast of the peninsula. Michael started his winery in 2004 were he and his team cultivate varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even some Pinot Gris. Mornington Peninsula. The vines for today's Pinot were palanted in 1999 and standing on up to 65 meter high sandy loam vineyards facing north-west. The grapes were picked by hand and underwent fermentaion froid for a respectable long period of four to six weeks. Useing natural yeasts ... of course. After that it was aged for about 12 months in 15% new barriques and three to four year old 500 litre barrels. So let's give it a go ...


Mouton Noir Lieu-Dit Pinot Noir 2011, Willamette Valley

Aufgrund einer in dieser Jahreszeit häufig auftretender Heimsuchung bin ich momentan dazu verdammt eher über Wein zu schreiben als ihn eigentlich zu trinken. Naja, es könnte mich sicherlich schlimmer treffen, zumal es bei dem heutigen Wein visuell äußerst amüsant zugehen dürfte (seht selbst auf dem Foto ;-)). Endlich hat es meine Zunge mal wieder nach Oregon für etwas „Pinot weit weg“ verschlagen. Seit 2007 produziert der in den Vereinigten Staaten recht berühmte Sommelier André Hueston Mack unter dem Label Mouton Noir (sein eigener recht zwiespältiger Spitznahme) unterschiedliche Weine aus verschiedenen Regionen in Oregon und mittlerweile sogar Washington. Die Karriere des gebürtigen New Yorkers entwickelte sich so, wie man sie wahrscheinlich nur in den USA durchleben kann. Sein Weg vom Investmentbanker hin zum Chefsommelier in Thomas Keller's The French Laundary in Napa und weiter zum Grafikdesigner mutet ungewöhnlich erfrischend an. Aber jetzt zum Wein. Beim Lieu-Dit von der Garage-d'Or handelt es sich um den Mittelklasse-Pinot von Mouton Noir. Sein Traubengut stammt aus der ältesten Lage die Mouton-Noir in Oregon zur Verfügung steht. Und ausgebaut wurde er in gebrauchten französischen Barriques. Mal sehen wie er sich so gemacht hat ….


Happy New Year and Marie-Courtin Résonance Champagner Extra Brut, Aube


Well, as you can see for yourselves … a bit dull this time, right? Just Champagne? Nothing weird? Nothing exotic? Can't I don better? Cause I could! Sometimes I just have to surrender to my inherent laziness ... to have something really good, I guess! And by the way this stuff wasn't that dull at all!!!  I just love this Marie-Courtin shit! Not just this Extra Brut Résonace made from 100% Pinot Noir without sugary dosage. I love all the others as well! Even the Blanc de Blanc stuff ... which I am normally not so much into! Yesterday the Résonace showed a very vital and almost sturdy mousse. I must have got myself a recently disgorged bottle. The nose appeared very filigree, nicely accentuated, mostly flowery, however very well equippted with some shy brioche, a whiff of ginger and fragrances which reminded me of mild almond stollen.The fruitful components appeard more yellow citrus'y and packed with red apples. Pretty much the same sensations on the palate. Can't elaborate more properly ... hangover issues, I guess. Anyway, everything was very lean, a hint too juvenile zippy, nevertheless quite seductive and downright zero-dosage-style resolute. Plenty of very crisp and smile-inducing Pinot characteristics, too. Hellishly vivid acid (in a downright positive sense), overall quite elegant and even a bit elevating (sorry for my unusual pathos)! Again, very resolute, vitalizing, very clear, very precise, super crisp and totally sans make-up! Doubtlessly a very decent ***** start into the new year! Let's hope it will be better! At least the starting fizz was much better ...


Casal Sta. Maria Pinot Noir 2011, Lisboa

Ich bin schwer der Annahme verfallen, dass die wenigsten von uns, sofern wir es überhaupt soweit schaffen sollten, nicht die Absicht hegen mit 96 Jahren ein Weingut gründen zu wollen bzw. ein Weingut aus dem Dornröschenschlaf erwecken zu wollen. So, oder in etwa so, hat es sich im Jahr 2006 zugetragen, als Baron Bodo von Bruemmer die Adega Casal Santa Maria gründete. Von Bruemmer ist 1911 als Nachfahre deutscher Aristokraten im russischen Zarenreich zur Welt gekommen, nach der Oktoberrevolution in Deutschland und vornehmlich der Schweiz aufgewachsen und aus gesundheitlichen Gründen in den 1960er Jahren in die westlich von Lissabon gelegenen Region Colares übergesiedelt. Dort angekommen fing er zunächst an Araberpferde zu züchten. Mit großem Erfolg! Nach einer schweren (und gut überstandenen) Operation im Jahr 2006 entschloss er sich, bzw. erpendelte er sich (so wird es zumindest kolportiert), ins produzierende Wein-Business einzusteigen. Seitdem produziert er unter Mithilfe seinen Winemakers António Figueiredo aus drei kleinen Weingärten in der vom kühlenden Atlantikklima geprägten Region Colares Weine aus Ramisco, Malvasia, Arinto, Chardonnay … und natürlich Pinot Noir! Vor eingen Wochen ist von Bruemmer 105jährig von uns gegangen. Anlass genug ihm zu Ehren meinen ersten portugiesischen Pinot Noir überhaupt zu verkosten. 


Merry Christmas Everybody ....

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY .... I know, I know it is getting a bit boring. Always Baby Jesus Pinot ... and always the same vintage. It is the best match after all, I guess. This bottle was a bit more mature and more earthy. It probably spent too much time of his life in the wine-shop (recent re-buy). Still very decent ***** Pinot!


Gary Farrell Wines Russian River Valley Selection Pinot Noir 2007, Russian River Valley

Bin ich froh, dass Gary Farrell sein eigenes Weingut, welches dazu noch seinen Namen trägt, im Jahr 2006 hinter sich gelassen hat, und sich seitdem seinem Weingut Alysian widmet. Froh warum? Nun, somit bleibt es mir erspart an einem neulich getrunkenen Produkt dieser kalifornischen Pinot Legende - welche unter anderem in der Vergangenheit mit Leuten wie Joe Rochioli, Tom Dehlinger und Robert Stemmler zusammenarbeitete – herumnörgeln zu müssen. Dieser neulich getrunkene Gary Farrell Russian River Selection 2007 machte es mir schwer: Schwer, eine bzw. seine Mitte zu erschmecken! Schwer, seine einst vorhandene Klasse zu erahnen – wenn diese jemals vorhanden war! Schwer, die gebotenen Konzentration beim Verkosten über Tage hinweg aufrechtzuerhalten. Kurz und knapp: die Verkostung dieses „Pinot weit weg“ war kein Vergnügen! Um so mehr freue ich mich auf meinen nächsten Pinot von Alysian. Ich bin mir sehr sicher, dass dieser die entstandenen "Wunden" heilen dürfte ...