Posted on November 18th, 2007
Forget The Rainbow Warrior sinking. Forget the shock French 1999 rugby world cup victory over New Zealand. Hell, forget the more recent 2007 French victory (if you can). This is serious.
Two “old world” Pinot Noirs from Burgundy (“Bourgogne”) are pitted against two upstarts from New Zealand.
The Crossings Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2004. 13% ABV. €19.99
This wine looks light, and starts out light and fruity but ends up with a bit of an alcohol kick.
Verdict: Leave it on the shelf. You can get better Pinot Noirs from NZ for around €12-€13 (Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Pinot Noir 2005, for example).
Wild Earth Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand, 2005. 14% ABV. €27.99
This looks a lot darker when compared with The Crossings and smells a lot richer. Going down, it’s rich, smoother.
Verdict: Apparently, this is one of the cheaper Pinot Noirs from Central Otago! You can expect to pay €40-€50 for Felton Road, Block 5 or Carrick. (Enowine manager, Hakan Erikkson, reckons if you can get your hands on the Felton Road Block 5 for €50, it’s one of the best out there). Definitely a nice one, but for 28 yoyo, I’d look for something else.
Now for the frenchies…
Jean Claude Boisset, Bourgogne Pinot Noir. 2005. €17.99
This dude probably needs 24 hour personal protection as he uses a screwcap. Sacre Bleu! This one of the French producers who doesn’t care much for old traditions. This wine is classified as a “vin de table” (more on the French appellations later). Anyway, cutting to the chase, this wine is rubbish and lacking in any redeeming features.
Verdict: I’d prefer to drink warm flat Coke to be honest. If you’re interested in all the guff, there was a piece in the Irish Times back in July 2006 (registration required)
Lucien Muzard Santenay Gravieres Premier Cru, 2001, 13% ABV, €23.99
This is a really really smooth fruity medium bodied red. It’s also got a distinctive flinty or “minerally” taste that is apparently common amongst its Pinot Noir brethern. I liken this flintyness to what I imagine licking a wet roof slate would taste like, in a good way if that’s possible.
Allez les bleus. The French have beaten the New Zealanders yet again. Here are my overall Pinot Noir taste-off results:
- Premier Cru Santenay Gravieres 2001
- Wild Earth Central Otago 2005
- The Crossings, Marlborough 2004
- JC Boisset Bourgogne 2005
Overall, the only one I’d go for is the Santenay Gravieres and only if I was specifically on the look out for a Pinot Noir from Burgundy. And at €24, it’s a little pricey. However, it’s not pricey when compared to a decent Burgundy from the Côtes d’Or or New Zealand’s Felton Road, both starting from 50 yoyo.
Where were these wines tasted?
All wines were tasted in Enowine in Dublin’s IFSC. They have an “enomatic” tasting system which means they have over 50 wines open for tasting at any one time. You can taste a load of wines for between 60c and €1.50 a pop. Nice way to try before you buy.