Episode 75 – 1st September 2021
Two remarkable Pinot Noirs from Swig
It’s funny how we cannot avoid judging a wine by its label. Here is a pair of Pinots, both stunning and both worth owning, where they simply have to be tasted to be believed.
2019 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Les Brûlis, Domaine de Mauperthuis, France (£19.50, www.swig.co.uk).
You could be forgiven for thinking that this week’s red Burgundy would be the more structured and age-worthy of these two wines, and the Kiwi Pinot would be fruitier, smoother and more immediately appealing. Think again. The flavours of these two wines are as unexpected as their supreme value for money, and their undeniable quality and both should set up residence in your cellar for different reasons. I have featured Mauperthuis wines before, and this fervently organic estate genuinely yields some of the purest and most mesmerising wine in the Côte d’Or. Naturally low yields and little intervention means that these wines speak of the soil as clearly as they do their pristine fruit. Les Brûlis is unoaked and therefore even more exposed and vulnerable on the perfume and palate. I would venture that this is the most direct and sonorous Pinot nose I have encountered this year, and there is not one iota of unwanted tannin here, making this one of the most delightfully gluggable Pinot Noirs I have seen, too. In addition, there is admirable depth and sheen here, so fussy Pinotphiles will be every bit as amused as gung-ho amateurs. This joyous wine swings in just under the twenty quid mark, making it a treat worth splashing out for when entertaining in style or indeed when you are spoiling yourself during mid-week sofa suppers!
2019 Cabal Vineyards, Pinot Noir, North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand (£25.00, www.swig.co.uk).
I have long since trumpeted the fact that I think the vineyards, soils and topography of the North Canterbury wine region (Waipara and the surrounds) will, in time, make some of the most profound wines in the whole of New Zealand. From memory, I wrote this in Decanter some 15 years ago, and it has not happened yet, but I live in hope. Either way, I have not changed my mind – time will tell. It is no surprise then that Cabal is a serious red wine. I don’t know this winery, nor am I familiar with its wines, but I will be stalking it from this day forwards. What makes this wine so spectacular is its balance. At 12.5% alcohol, it is built on a nimble, flexible frame. The fruit is carefully lowered into the centre of this vehicle, and it is darker and more power-packed than you would imagine and the complexity of berry notes, earthiness, spice and wild, foresty notes, so beloved of Burgundy nuts, is amazingly attractive. The tannins are firm, mineral-soaked and cleansing, and any oak notes are discreet and haunting, marshalling the fruit and giving Cabal direction. Youthful and brimming with energy, this is a phenomenally serious wine. In Kiwi terms, it is a superstar, and if you dropped it into a Burgundy tasting (blind), it would be feted as a stunning creation with classic poise and integrity. Wow, what a bottle of wine and what a pair. You cannot miss out on these two thrilling creations.