This is a sound pinot noir from De Bortoli in the Yarra Valley, and the 2018 vintage. It has aromas of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. The palate is balanced with fresh acidity. More pleasant than complex, this wine will suit consumption over the next couple of years. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $20. Website: debortoli.com.au
With the 2019 harvest underway, I spent the morning in the winery at Helen & Joey in the Yarra Valley. Here are a few vineyard photographs and observations.
|Photo above: East-west planted pinot noir, looking to the west.|
|Grafted merlot vines planted on north-south facing rows, and nearing harvest.|
|Phylloxera continues its march through the Yarra Valley. Replanting in a neighbouring vineyard in the distance on the left, together with seemingly declining vigour in the vineyard in the distance on the right.|
|No viticultural comment, but a nice view from the office. Mount Dandenong is the peak in the distance.|
This is a very good pinot noir from Bernard Huber in Baden, Germany. Stylistically, it is much closer to Burgundy than new world pinot noir. Its aroma has herbal and cherry notes, and is both savoury and restrained. The palate has resolutely firm acidity and good length. Ready to drink now, this moreish pinot noir/spätburgunder may improve with with short cellaring. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $65. Website: na.
This is a good value Oregon pinot noir from Duck Pond. The aroma speaks only of pinot noir, and is Burgundian in character, with its notes of rhubarb, beetroot, cherry and cedar. The palate is slightly more full bodied, with good length and balance. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.8%. Price: $30. Website: www.duckpondcellars.com
This is a resoundingly delicious wine from Claude Dugat. From Lavaux-Saint-Jacques, the biggest of the Gevrey-Chambertin premier cru vineyards at 9.53 hectares and situated immediately south of Clos Saint-Jacques, the wine is quite deeply coloured (for pinot noir) and opens to aromatics of blackcurrants, fruit and violets. The palate has fantastic length, with fresh acidity, tannins and great fruit. This wine can be approached now, but should evolve and improve with a decade in the cellar. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $300+. Website: na. Tasted: October 2018.
Described as a “white pinot”, I had assumed the wine inside would be a pinot blanc. In fact, putting to one side the clonal aspect*, it is a pinot noir that has spent a short time on skins, in a rosé style, and a good one at that. In the glass, the wine is a pale salmon in colour, with aromas of strawberries. The palate is dry with a fullish body, fresh acidity and a stoney, mineral substructure and gentle, savoury strawberry fruit. Good length on the finish confirms this as a good wine, that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.1%. Price: $26. Website: www.curlyflat.com. Source: Sample.
* Pinot blanc is a mutation of pinot gris, itself a mutation of pinot noir.
I’m yet to taste a poor Robert Chevillon wine. This is another outstanding one, this time from Nuits-Saint-Georges and the premier cru appellation of Les Cailles. Les Cailles is a 7.11 hectare plot and is directly north of Les Saint-Georges, the greatest climat in Nuits-Saint-Georges. It is said to be subtle, feminine and have softer fruit flavours. In the glass, the 2006 vintage of Chevillon’s Les Cailles, has rich aromas of blackcurrant. The palate is full bodied with hints of licorice, the finish long and the acidity towards high. This is a delicious wine that can be approached now, or safely cellared for a further decade. Rating: Very Good to Outstanding. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $200+. Website: www.domainerobertchevillon.fr