Pinot Noir 101 With Romana Echensperger (Nov. 22, 2013)

Who wants to learn about Pinot with Romana Echensperger?

All we had to do was make our way through three blind flights of German, Bourgogne and New World Pinot Noir - and the only test was trying to guess which was which.

A sparkler to break the ice.

Jean-Louis Denois, Limoux, Extra Brut Classique, nv

Good nose, citrus, green apples, earthy/spicy notes. Light frame, not very deep, but nice and tasty. This is Eldad Levy's latest magic trick, a sparkler from the Languedoc made by a sixth generation Champenois.

Fat-Guy, 90 NIS.

 The tasting itself was comprised of three flights, each of which included a German Spatburgunder, a Bourgogne of fine pedigree and a New World Pinot.

Flight 1

Ata Rangi, Martinborough, 2011

Rudolf Furst, Franken, Hunsruck GG, 2009

Jacques Fredric Mugnier, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos de la Marchelle, 2008

The New Zealander an attractive nose, with an intriguing pungency, a friendly attack on the palate and a rough finish. Frankly, not that interesting. Upon first tasting the Furst, my impression was that it's very Burgundian in style, but sniffing and tasting it side by side with the Clos de la Marchelle, the stylistic differences become more pronounced. The Furst has different aromatic hues, with an herbal aspect that is totally new to me and that take time to wrap my senses and brain around. The palate is shaped differently. While both are more or less equally complex and multi-layered, the Marchelle is more fluid and sexy.

Flight 2

Candidate for wine of the night
 Rippon, Central Otago, Lake Wanaka, 2010

Jean Stodden, Ahr, Recher Herrenberg, GG, 2008

Jacques Fredric Mugnier, Nuits-St.-Georges Premier Cru, Clos de la Marchelle, 2010

The Kiwi of this flight also fails to make the cut; while the nose tries very hard to flatter and almost succeeds, the palate is too modern and too sweet to serve the variety and for my money, applying the same wine making to any grape variety would make for the same dull effect.

Now, the Burgudnian fan-boy in me would love to say that the Spatburgender only won the flight because of the Marchelle was too young to compete, but it basically won the night as well, and was surely the most interesting and impressive wine we tasted, with a very deep and complex nose with a lemon tint to the red fruit and herbal tinged complexity. Mind you, the Marchelle is young and what a shame it is to drink such a young 2010, as it shows such nubile, monolithic fruit, with a primary nose barely hinting at complexity, but no matter how much allowance I make, it is just so shallow compared to the German.

Flight 3

Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, 2005

Bernhard Huber, Baden, 2002

Jean Grivot, Clos de Vogeout, 2001

The Californian manages to set the score at zero out of three for the New World: thick, sweet, disgusting to drink. The Huber (I think we were drinking his entry cuvee from young vines) has an interesting nose, sweet on the palate, but that sweetness recedes in glass as the wine gains body and complexity. The Grivot is puzzling. Grivot makes a terrific Clos de Vogeout, but while this is interesting and slightly funky and bretty, the brett kind of overwhelms the Pinot.

We went on for a few dishes at the Officers Club, accompanied by the following:

J. J. Prum, Mosel, Graacher Himmelreich, Riesling Spatlese, 2004

A delicate, airy, balanced, refreshing wine, with the typical Mosel signature of apples and slate.

Yannick Amirault, Bourgueil, La Coudraye, 2012

Another fun wrinkle that Eldad Levy's portfolio is making in the fabric of the local scene - the entry wine from Loire specialist Yannick Amirault sports is a young, simple, fun wine that sports pure red fruit. At about 90 NIS a bottle, I bought enough for a less haphazard encounter.


Anonymous said…
Grand Cru still tasting and writing at his best. kol hakavod.
Unknown said…
what else does Eldad Levy import? will be sure to have my mom pick up some of these gems for next time i am in israel!!! wich i was there for (nearly) all of these pinot noirs
2GrandCru said…
Dorit, Eldad imports Cab from the Loire, boutique Champagnes, Austrians, Terre Nere from Mt. Etna, Tondonia from Rioja and a few other Spanish producers.