Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pinot With A Difference

I adore pinot noir of all stripes, be they from Oregon, California or the heart of Burgundy. I even like some of the simple but gregarious pinots I've tried from New Zealand. But I confess I'm having a tough time getting my arms around the pinot noirs I've tasted from the Loire Valley.

Everyone knows the Loire produces sensationally crisp white wines (sauvignon blanc) in Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. They are just so enjoyable. How could I possibly pass up a pinot noir from this unique area of France? Well, I now have tried red Sancerre (pinot noir) several times, and each time I've been unimpressed. I may have to take a pass next time it's pitched to me.

This week I had a Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy 2004 Sancerre Terre de Maimbray with dinner. It came highly recommended. I knew from past experience not to expect too much fruit, and not too much body, with its 12.5 percent alcohol. But, from the first taste, I knew it's not a wine for me. It's not a bad wine but not one that most Americans would embrace. I've just come to expect so much from pinot noir that I can't get excited by this ultra lean version of the grape.

The Sancerre was a little light in color and a little bit thin on the palate with tart red cherry flavors and just a bit of earthy complexity on the finish. But there was also just so much acidity on the finish that this earthiness was quickly lost. It was not especially good with our grilled chicken as well.

Pinot noir doesn't have to have rich ripe flavors, ala California, to be good. I'm completely in love with the dry, complex flavors of good Burgundys. But pinots just don't seem well suited to the flinty Loire soil to me. Maybe some day I'll try some that will change my mind, but I'm not sure how long I can keep going to that well. In the meantime, I'm sticking to the places that do pinot noir justice.


Anonymous Martin Hill said...

You can also try pomela or lachini. i like pomela in particular. It is actually devoid of unripe New Zealand suav blanc. Your grilled chicken can also go with it. Lachini, is also a nice one. It has a nice mouthy feel and is quite balance. You can buy cigars and go with it.

1:55 AM  

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