Mature Pinot Noir Tasting

19 February 2013
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee

Mature PN_0 (1)


Mature Californian Pinot Noir is always a treat and this evening was a celebration of how well this thin-skinned grape with little colour can age. Gaunoux’s Pommard Epenots which I had never tried before was a pristine bottle with such purity of flavours and detail that it brought tears to my eyes. I could have just nosed the wine all evening. Among the four Californian Pinots, the Chalone 1978 was by far the most impressive. Consumed together with Zhejiang cuisine which is similar to Shanghainese, the wines worked really well especially with delicate seafood dishes.


1. 1969 Domaine Michel Gaunoux Pommard 1er Cru Les Grand Epenots, Burgundy, France
This is the most beautiful, impressive Pommard Epenots I have had the fortune of tasting. Impressive depth and layers of flavours including a sweet pot pourri palate that takes your breath away. Enjoy it alone or with an array of Cantonese seafood dishes. (96)


2. 1969 Domaine Leroy Echezeaux Grand Cru, Burgundy, France
The wine has evolved into a beautiful, elegant, confident and mature woman. Sweet spices and lovely floral notes come forth on both the nose and palate. The tannins are silky, lifting an array of flavours to the fore. Long finish. (92)


3. 1978 Chalone Vineyards Monterey County Pinot Noir, California, United States
An amazing array of sweet dried flowers and lovely perfume. The palate is equally enticing and powerful – dried red fruits, prunes and dried rose petals. A lovely Pinot that has withstood the test of time – 35 years old and still going strong. Impressive. (92)


4. 2007 Calera Wine Jensen Vineyard Pinot Noir, California, United States
Youthful, vibrant and tasted alongside some mature Burgundies, this Calera was ripe and tasted too forward. A lovely young Pinot that will certainly age well but it needs at least 5+ years. (89)


5. 2007 Kistler Vineyards Pinot Noir Cuvee Elizabeth, California, United States
Tasted alongside some great Californian Pinots including Chalone, Calera and red Burgundies like Echezeaux, this wine could not hold its own – the flavours were fat, broad, lacking in precision. This is a big, bold, sweet Californian Pinot that is obvious and powerful. From my past experience, the wine gets fatter, not better, with age. Drink soon. (87)


6. 1979 Calera Wine Reed Pinot Noir, California, United States
The fruit is fading here and the palate has already started to dry out and the tannins have softened. This is an elegant Pinot that would have been better at least 10 years ago. There are still hints of sweetness here but the palate is fragile and weak. (84)