Wine Review – Pinot Noir Blind Tasting – December 2016

The following reviews were part of blind tasting focusing on Pinot Noir. The three wines included, touted as typical representations of their terroir/location, took us to the Bourgogne region of France, the South Island of New Zealand, and the state of Oregon in the United States.

The tasting proved eye-opening, revealing how this varietal can be expressed in quite different ways. For our pick of the lot, read on…

Louis Jadot Bourgogne 2014 Wine BottleWine 1: Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2014

Producer: Louis Jadot

Region/Country: Bourgogne, France

Grape Varietal(s): Pinot Noir

Consumed: At home

Cost: $22.95

Bottle Presentation: Traditional, distinctive, easily recognizable label.

Appearance: Pale ruby.

Nose: Light nose (we had to work to draw out the aromas) of cranberries, strawberries, leather, with some green hints (pine and spruce/Christmas tree).

Taste: Dry, low-to-medium acidity and tannins (the tannins felt somewhat gritty), with a light body and notes of cedar, leather, cranberries, and earth.

Finish: Short-to-medium with some enduring bitterness.

Rating: 80/100

Value: 2.5/5

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2015 Wine BottleWine 2: Kim Crawford 2015 Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2015

Producer: Kim Crawford

Region/Country: South Island (Marlborough and Central Otago are mentioned on the label), New Zealand

Grape Varietal(s): Pinot Noir

Consumed: At home

Cost: $19.95

Bottle Presentation: A clean, easy-to-read, and increasingly recognizable label.

Appearance: Pale ruby.

Nose: A medium nose, with easy-to-detect notes of red cherry, raspberry, sweet cranberries, and sweet spice (cinnamon), with a hint of white pepper.

Taste: Dry, medium-to-high acidity, and low tannins, with a medium body and notes of cranberries, strawberries, red cherries, cedar, earth, and leather.

Finish: Medium-to-long finish, with a nice degree of tartness.

Rating: 90/100

Value: 4/5

Elouan Pinot Noir 2014 Wine BottleWine 3 Name: Elouan Pinot Noir 2014

Vintage: 2014

Producer: Elouan (Joseph J. Wagner, winemaker)

Region/Country: Oregon, USA

Grape Varietal(s): Pinot Noir

Consumed: At home

Cost: $29.95

Bottle Presentation: Modern, clean, and easy to read.

Appearance: Pale ruby.

Nose: An aromatic, medium nose dominated by red cherry and hickory smoke (which we found intriguing and enjoyable).

Taste: Dry, medium acidity, and low-to-medium tannins, with a light-to-medium body and notes of sweet spices (cinnamon), red cherry, raspberry, strawberry, and white pepper.

Finish: Medium, with enduring sweet spices.

Rating: 87/100

Value: 2/5

Overall Impressions:

This blind tasting illustrated how a “fussy” varietal can be expressed in quite different ways, all of which offer something worth discovering.

The most classic of the three, the Louis Jadot from Bourgogne, stayed true to the old-world style, although we found it lacked complexity compared to the other two offerings.

If you enjoy earthy/woodsy notes, this would be right up your alley. As an aside, we would be interested to try one of the more highly classified wines by the same producer, namely a Louis Jadot Premier Cru or Grand Cru.

The Elouan from Oregon, an emerging Pinot Noir wine region, impressed us. Although the most expensive of the three, we adored the aromatic hickory smoke notes and could see this wine pairing well with an array of foods.

Based on this tasting, we are already looking forward to trying other Pinot Noirs from the same region. We hope a wine tasting tour of Oregon, a chance to further discover West Coast wines and meet some of the winemakers and winery owners, might also be on the cards in the not-too-distant future.

Our top marks go to Kim Crawford, for yet another outstanding Pinot Noir. Based on this offering, it’s easy to see why New Zealand wines continue to make a big splash in the world wine market place.

This particular Pinot Noir received top marks for its balance and complexity, not to mention the array of delicious, aromatic notes, both in the nose and on the palate. It tasted even better once it opened, allowing for a full expression of all that is classically-associated with Pinot Noir. As a bonus, for just under $20 CAD, it proved to be excellent value for the quality.

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