Pinot Noir Three Ways
(from France...but not Burgundy)
The vaunted Pinot Noir grape is probably the most revered varietal on the planet and the great region of Burgundy is its spiritual home.
Today we're going to talk about three tremendous examples of this storied grape from regions that aren't Burgundy (the Jura, the Loire and Alsace), because they're really fantastic and offer totally unique expressions of one of Earth's most, well, expressive varietals.
Not every meal this time of year calls for deep, powerful reds and, when that's the case, these are three perfect choices.
Vallée Moray Pinot Noir Les Figurines $27
In the Loire Valley, Cab Franc is king, but Gamay, Côt, Pinneau d'Aunis and, Pinot Noir all do great things as well. Today's is one of the best Loire Pinots I've had in quite a while. 2014 is a great vintage for the Loire and it shows here. When you think of reds from this region, the medium-weight, pepper-laden dark fruit comes to mind. It shows all of those peppery/herbaceous notes you expect from a Loire Red but, being Pinot, it's broader and softer than what you'd normally get from, say, Cab Franc. Given the grape and place, it's a fairly substantial wine with the nice structure that 2014 is known for. It's just begging for some roast chicken.
Domaine Saint Pierre Arbois Pinot Noir Cuvee Saint Pierre 2014 $31
The Jura is home to some of the most delicate, ethereal red wines on the planet and, while its native Ploussard and Trousseau grapes get a bit more attention, some of the coolest, airiest Pinots you'll find originate from the Jura. Case in point, this Cuvée Saint Pierre 2014 from Domaine Saint Pierre. It's got a perfectly weightless purity of red fruit and impossibly subtle earthiness underneath. I've tasted this wine over the course of the last year and it's gotten better and better each time I've had it. Right now it's beautiful. This is Pinot Noir in its most feminine form.
Marc Tempé Pinot Noir Zellenberg Alsace 2013 $35
Of the three wines here, it's probably fairly safe to assume that this is the least familiar for most people. Alsace, even for its great whites, is largely off the radar in America and the reds get even less traction. This Zellenberg from Marc Tempé is as good of an introduction to Alsatian Pinot as you'll find. Reds from Alsace are definitely known for their vegetal undertones and, for me, that's what makes this wine so compelling. It's also dark, smooth and shows great underlying savory notes and wet earth as well. For a red from this region and of this style, it's also surprisingly rich. It's another drink that is just waiting for some warming French comfort food.
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
237 West 13th Street
New York 10011
MCF Rare Wine Ltd.