Thursday, July 13, 2017

Power and Glory

Most Burgundy and Pinot Noir aficionados agree that the old and now un-PC description of ‘feminine’ is apt for the wines, especially when comparing them to the firmer and more powerful Bordeaux-variety wines.  Pinot Noir and Burgundy wines can indeed be beautifully ethereal and aromatic with their florality, and the palates delicate and velvety.  This is their sensuality that appeals to the soul rather than the mind.  Clarets can be majestic and of course appeal to the intellect.
However, the distinctions do get blurred.  Powerful Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanee and Pommard verge on the masculine side, and the wines of Margaux in Bordeaux can be hauntingly fragrant and perfumed.  In the New World, the overlap can be greater, and of course, much more acceptable.  Many of us thoroughly enjoy an elegant Merlot with finesse and suppleness, along with beautiful aromatics.  And likewise, there are Pinot Noirs which are bold, firm, structured and ageworthy.  These styles are in many instances decided by man, but site and vintage can also have a significant hand in how a wine will turn out.
A wine that could polarise wine folk would be the 2006 Martinborough Vineyard ‘Marie Zelie’ Martinborough Pinot Noir.  Most of the wines from 2003 to 2013 when released have certainly showed the elegant and beautiful side of Pinot Noir.  Old and mature vines from the Martinborough Terrace lend a firmness and core, with savoury complexity.  But the wines are always refined, and capture the beauty of variety and location.  The 2006 vintage is rather special to vignerons.  The wines that have resulted show richness, ripeness, opulence and structure.  A purist might say they have gone beyond the normal parameter of Pinot Noir expression.  But no, they retain the essence of what Pinot Noir is.  Finesse of floral detail at the heart.  The finest of tannins, that may have been quite firm at the outset.  But there’s no denying its power and glory.  A true product of vintage, variety and location.  Sumptuous and opulent, but big and accessible.  And the taste of maturing Pinot Noir, rather than any other variety.  What a great wine.     

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