98 Points Errazuriz Las Pizzaras | Grand Cru Pinot Noir & Chardonnay of South America

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Mind-Blowing 98 Points | Errazuriz Las Pizarras | Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

The Aconcagua valley is particular in Chile as it is much more open to coastal influences than any where else in the country. Errazuriz’s Manzanar estate in Chilhué is the home of the Las Pizarras vineyard. The estate was planted in 2005 and consists of 225 hectares, planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Errazuriz knows how to make great wine, they are responsible for the stunning Sena, which has now cemented itself as a ‘Top Tier’ wine worldwide.

Château Rieussec  Sauternes 2001

Francisco Baettig, head winemaker at Errazuriz, makes the Pizarras range, enthused “This is the most exciting thing I think I’ve ever worked on and the results is the best wine I have ever made“. That’s a BIG, BIG claim.

purist-Burgundian approach to making wine was adopted, not seen before in Chile – this is Chile’s first old world approach to producing wine. Baettig also hired Burgundy’s renowned geologist, Françoise Vannier-Petit to help him ‘map’ the area in the same way she had done for Chambolle-Musigny. 

The chosen site has schist and slate soils that produce linear, precise wines without the abundance of sweet fruit which characterises many Chilean wines. In this approach, he says “I wanted to really identify the quality potential, and examine everything – the soils, the geology, the exposure, in order to find the Grand Cru equivalent”.

The vineyard yields are in the region of 8-10 tonnes per hectarefewer than 300 cases are produced from the Chardonnay, and about 500 cases for Pinot Noir. This is indeed Grand Cru quantity , and quality is out of this world.

 

Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2014

2014 marks the first vintage release of the Las Pizarras. All fruit (80% de-stemmed, 20% whole cluster) was hand-picked and rigorously hand sorted prior to going directly into small open-top fermenters. Of the estate’s 70 hectares of Pinot Noir under vine, only around 10% is deemed to be of Las Pizarras quality. Aged in 50% new oak. Flinty and smoky on the nose, leading into a palate of supple, bright red cherry, which is luminous and has fine yet quite powerful grippy tannins.

“Fabulous aromas of slate, rust, iron, and dried strawberries. Full body, firm tannins, wonderfully polished. Fine and caressing. Complex flavors too. A wonderful finish. Dusty texture as well. This is a small production wine from the family’s best vineyards of the Manzanar farm with pure slate soils. Full Burgundy treatment. 50% whole cluster pressing. Aged in 50% new oak. Louis Michel Liger-Belair of Burgundy consulted on this wine” – James Suckling 98 Points

Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2014

There are 42 hectares of Chardonnay planted at the estate, 3 or 4 parcels of which are deemed to be of Las Pizarras quality, consisting of around 4 hectares in total. Excellent fruit density on the nose and palate, with some phenolic grip. 13% abv, 3.1 pH. This saw 20% new oak for 12 months.

James Suckling

“This is tight and dense with gun powder, slate, sliced apple, white pineapple and a hint of pie crust. Full body, gorgeous texture and length. It’s so complex and firm. Needs at least five years to come out, but great potential.” – James Suckling 96 Points

“The profile is austere and there is nothing tropical; there’s not a lot of fruit and in fact, there are more aromas of nuts, spices and definitively something earthy, mineral, marine — almost saline — with a low pH, marked acidity and restrained alcohol. The palate is terribly tasty and very dry; it really makes you salivate in a way that made me think of a Chablis (and oysters!). Groundbreaking marine and slate Chardonnay, bravo! I’d love to see this wine in ten years.”  – Wine Advocate 95 Points

The FGJ Offer

I’ve not been so excited to write about a wine in a LONG time, and these single vineyard Las Pizarras wines are blowing my mind. With the exception of labels like Sena, Don Melchor, Almaviva and the like, Chile has not been known for producing world-class wines, instead building a reputation for mass-market, competitively priced wines….until now. No matter what one thinks about ratings and points, NO Chilean wine, let alone a non-Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec has scored over 95 points. Never. Period.

If served blind, 8 of 10 advanced wine drinkers would not be able to distinguish if this is Old World or from somewhere in the New World – yup, it’s that impressive. It is surprising EVEN IF it receives the same care and attention to detail as a Grand Cru Burgundy (Louis Michel Liger-Belair was brought in as consultant) because terroir cannot be replicated.

If what is happening at Errazuriz are a sign of things to come for Pinot and Chard in Chile, then Carmenere better look over its shoulders because it’s going to be knocked right off its pedestal. For wine enthusiasts, this is a wine you have to taste in 2018 and forever put the “I don’t drink South American” demons to rest. Pinot-philes; don’t miss out….this drinks like a Grand Cru minus the Clos de Bèze price tag.

48 bottles of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in stock, ready to ship immediately. If you want your bottles before CNY, please place your orders today.

Las Pizarras Pinot Noir

RM369/bottle

or…

RM345/bottle for 3 or more bottles

Las Pizarras Chardonnay

RM249/bottle

or…

RM235/bottle for 3 or more bottles

Prices are inclusive of GST

FREE DELIVERY ON ANY QUANTITY IN KLANG VALLEY

Super Vintages of Tasmania & Central Otago: 2015 & 2013 PLUS Free Riedel Glass

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Pinot Noir Battles: New World vs Old World

Château Rieussec  Sauternes 2001

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Focus Regions

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 elegantfinely-crafteddelicious Pinot Noir of high international standing in both regions, and I dare say, comparable to Burgundy.

Professional Ratings

Critics Corner

James Suckling

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)

and the

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

Festive Gift Wrapping Available, please enquire within

Prices are inclusive of GST

FREE DELIVERY ON ANY QUANTITY IN KLANG VALLEY