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Pinot Noir Battles: New World vs Old World
Probably one of the biggest topics of debate amongst Pinotphiles (lovers of Pinot Noir) in the wine world, that is…..”Pinot Noirs made in the New World, do they come close to Burgundy at all in terms of quality?”. There are many differing opinions, depending who you ask – it seems to me that there are 3 broad groups of Pinotphiles with distinct beliefs:
- Diehards who believe Burgundy wines are unparalled and no other country comes close, therefore it is unnecessary to drink any Pinot Noir that is not Burgundy. They also believe that New World producers are try-hards chasing a lost cause and should just give up.
- On the other side of the equation, there are those who only want to drink New World Pinot Noir, because they believe red and dark fruit expressions are a big part of the Pinot Noir experience, and typical Old World aromatics of barnyard and forest floor don’t belong in a wine.
- Those who are not far-right or far-left on the Pinot Cult Chart….and open-minded about possibilities which are being pushed everyday in the wine world; Equal Opportunity drinkers 🙂
In my opinion, the reality is, Pinotphile beliefs are converging because viticulture (the science of tending to vines) and winemaking know-how have come leaps and bounds in the last decade and will continue along that trajectory. Which group do you belong to? As you ponder, I believe it also largely depends on where the drinker grew up drinking wine (I’ve not heard a native Burgundian say she prefers an Italian Pinot Nero!) – from my travels, it seems obvious to me that drinkers from wine-producing countries are partial to their home country wines and give little opportunity to wines from other countries (either due to accessibility or a superiority complex). Thus, I also feel winedrinkers from non-wine-producing countries should not have a country bias.
The Burgundian producers have always struggled with fruit ripening , an issue that the New World producers don’t usually have to contend with…..instead, they have their distinct struggles, finding a style identity for their respective region. The New World is exactly that, NEW – we are talking about vines no older than 50 years old whilst the Burgundian vines are hundreds of years old. The quality debate shouldn’t be there, instead we should embrace the differences and enjoy the pleasures of good wine, wherever they are from….
“You can make good wine AND BAD WINES from good grapes, but you cannot make good wines from bad grapes”
~ Anonymous Pinot Noir Vintner
The prominent wine growing regions of the world lie between 30 and 50 degrees Latitude, in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Pinot Noir has a reputation for being infamously difficult to grow, and extremely fickle; when grown in an area that is too hot, flavours become jammy and unattractive. One can’t look past Tasmania and Central Otago as areas in the Southern Hemisphere producing top-notch Pinot Noir; the cold winds from the Antartic provide the year-long cool climate that Pinot Noir thrives in, and there are no challenges ripening the fruit in most areas. The results are elegant, finely-crafted, delicious Pinot Noir of high international standing in both regions, and I dare say, comparable to Burgundy.
“The cool climate and dry, late-breaking autumns are ideal for delicate white table wines, sparkling wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir red wines. Many believe it is potentially the best region in Australia for Pinot Noir.“
~ Huon Hooke, Wine Critic
“Central Otago has almost too much going for it – great scenery, great lifestyle and now almost freakishly good, if not (yet) great, Pinot Noir.”
~ Jancis Robinson, Masters of Wine
The FGJ Offer
2015 was simply an outstanding vintage in Tasmania, good yields resulting from perfect weather conditions. Settled weather in late spring provided ideal conditions for flowering and fruit set; well-timed rain in late November promoted healthy growth and warm, summer temperatures followed by a mild and dry autumn allowed optimum ripening of Pinot Noir fruit.
2013 in Central Otago is described by many as “A Vintage of Lifetime”, the outstanding summer which extended into a glorious autumn was one that Kiwi grape growers were waiting to have. The harvest was bountiful despite facing a drought in the early part of the growing season. The healthy, ripe fruit made for some great working material for vintners to craft flavour-intense Pinot Noirs.
Reflective of the 2 vintages, are…
The Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir 2015 (JH 91pts)
Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013 (WA 91pts)
We’ll let you decide which is the better wine, and we’ll throw in a FREE Riedel Pinot Noir glass to make the experience sweeter.
RM358 for the 2 Bottle Set
*Plus FREE Riedel Burgundy Glass
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