Friday, 1 July 2011

Passion for Pinot

The Altaya team
Pinot Noir comes in many shapes, from elegant Burgundy to oaky Californian, and everything in between. Altaya provided a perfect opportunity for us to experience this spectrum of styles in a single setting at their recent ‘Passion for Pinot’ tasting. Churton (Marlborough) and Beaux Freres (Willamette Valley) are both biodynamic but the latter displays more structure on palate, while Gladstone (Wairarapa) is concentrated and intense, reminding me of the Martinborough style but more accessible and a steal at less than $200/bottle. Vincent Girardin is a perfect demonstration of how diverse the appellations and villages of Burgundy can be.

Leo Donworth, Gladstone's cellar door manager
If you are into Pinot, how about a Pinot evening with your friends? Your welcome drink could be a Blanc de Noir sparkling or champagne followed by a Sancerre Rosé, a Central Otago and an Ahr (Germany). Progress the evening with one or two classic Burgundies from different regions and compare them with a concentrated Martinborough and a big, oaky Sonoma. According to Flavour Colours, PInot's styles span three colour zones, from a light Ivory to an intense Tan, making it one of the most food-friendly and versatile varieties. For all but the heaviest of dishes you can find a Pinot to match.

If I had to choose just one grape variety for the next ten years, it would be Pinot for sure.

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