All my wine blogs, All wine reviews, Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Red wine

D’Autrefois Pinot Noir 2011

When you say Pinot Noir – it sounds so nobles. It is also (in most cases) fine, nobles wine. It took me few years, after being impressed with all those power houses, to find my humble way to appreciate the finesse  of this unique grape variety.

pinot-noir1Pinot is some of the most difficult varieties to cultivate and transform into fine wine. This wine is truly hard to deal with. Compare to other grape varieties, Pinot Noir grapes are sensitive to almost everything.

Vines are sensitive to unstable weather, frost can kill it, it doesn’t like the wind, the certain soil, and it must be kept low yielding, in order to produce any quality wines. Back in the winery, it is still sensitive to a certain fermentation methods, it might not like the kind of yeast you used and being highly reflective of its terroir  – the different regions can produce completely different wines. In other words, this wine is demanding plenty of hard labor.

Pinot Noir’s thin skin also makes it easier for a number of different diseases, such as mildew, bunch rot or infection by leaf roll, to attack. All these “prospective problems” that winemaker has to deal with, makes a production of a fine Pinot Noir a very risky business. It is a challenge, literally.

All these risky factors also drive the prices of the final product up. Therefore, when I come across cheap Pinot Noir, I am more than suspicious.  Unless it comes from Burgundy. There, in the origin of  this noble black grape, I am willing to take a chance with an unknown wine. Simply because those French just know what they are doing.

dautrefois Pinot Noir1Comp

So, I grabbed the bottle of 2011 D’Autrefois Pinot Noir without hesitation. Simply because I know that Pinot Noir from Burgundy tastes like Pinot Noir supposed to taste. And this one wasn’t different. Although, it only costs $10.99. Seriously.  Yet it didn’t lack any quality of the true Pinot Noir – light – to medium body, delicate, a delicious crisp cherry undertone in the taste, great freshness and acidity. An excellent match to my seared salmon and sauteed spinach.

It might be tough for some, who believe that Pinot Noir wines are fruity and full body. Very much like Beaujolais that is sometimes confused for Pinot Noir. Intentionally or not. Seriously, I had people asking me: “Just show me your biggest, fruitiest Pinot Noir.” Ouch. What do you say, when “customer is always right”.  No, these wines are none of the above. They are supposed to be “thin” as one of my customers once referred to a Pinot Noir I showed him, with an open  disappointment.

But back to D’Autrefois Pinot Noir 2011. Seriously. If you want a gem, and know what Pinot Noir is all about, this is an incredible deal. I just loved it and will buy it again.

“Adored by critics, prized by collectors, Pinot Noir is one of most tantalizing yet temperamental varietals in the world. For many wine enthusiasts, this is part of the appeal of Pinot — it doesn’t reveal its charms easily. Pinot Noir’s virtue also stems from the unique characteristics of the grape. The skins are especially delicate, which accounts for the lighter color and body of finished wine. But, despite the delicacy, the best wines have excellent backbone and length, providing aromatic intensity unlike any other grape.…” as the subscription of variety on the Wine access website accurately said. Cheers to that!

Oregon, Pinot Noir, Red wine, Villamette Valley

Adelsheim Pinot Noir 2006

Winemaker: Dave Paige
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Region: Villamette Valley, Oregon

Adelsheim family makes Pinot Noir since 1970. I personally love Pinot Noir from this particular region the most. To me, that’s how the true Pinot Noir supposed to taste like (aside of Burdgundy, of course). Most of the grapes, sourced for Adelsheim Pinot Noir, came from their seven estate vineyards and about 25% from nine vineyards in other parts of the Willamette Valley.

The secret to complexity of their wine is in blending several different clones of Pinot, (originally brought to Oregon from Burgundy) and several different soil types and appellations. Since each lot has vine of different age and sun exposure, it produces a different style and flavors of Pinot Noir as well. This diversity allows the winemaker to create a very unique blend.

Since all the grapes weren’t picked at the same time, the final blend was created after each lot was destemmed, macerated, pressed and underwent a 7 – 10 days fermentation in open vats. After that the final blend underwent a malolactic fermentation in small French oak barrels. Wine was estate bottled and released after a few additional months of aging.

The portrait of Diana Lett on the Pinot Noir label was created by Ginny Adelsheim. It is a tribute to special woman, that together with her husband founded a first Oregon Pinot Noir winery (The Eyrie Vineyards) and as a thank you for her friendship.

Tasting notes:
Beautiful light ruby color. Rich aroma of freshly crushed cherries and blueberries, mixed with oak spices and dust of cocoa. Just the right amount of acidity and soft tannins cause the desire for a second glass. Nice, long finish. Blending different flavors and styles of Pinot Noir as Adelsheim does, successfully competes with many single vineyard Pinot Noirs, carrying much higher price tag.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 30.00

Ideal food pairing:
salmon, grilled sea bass, veal dishes, hearty vegetarian dishes, duck or dark turkey meat, medium aged cheeses