Wine Talk - Pinot Noir

Hans Herzog Pinot Noir

The fashionable red burgundy grape can produce divinely scented, gorgeously fruity expressions of place. However, is sensitive to the size of crop. Pinot’s exquisite sensitivity to where and how it is grown, and the techniques used in its production explain why Pinot is continuing to fascinate. What is amazing with a high-quality Pinot Noir, it is fragility and elegance but showing so much focused flavour authority. The ‘power without weight’ palate impression that a fine Pinot delivers, differs to any other red wine. Reflecting the terroir strongly, Pinot’s can taste very differently, and it is no wonder the Pinot neophytes are rapidly seduced by the grape’s siren call. Few of us can resist.

Pinot Noir was the wine we started our wine drinking career with. Once our taste was sophisticated enough by imbibing our different regional Swiss Pinots’, we wanted to explore the famous Pinot Noirs in Burgundy. A drive of only two hours brought on an abrupt awaking. As young wine lovers our budget did not stretch wide enough to satisfy our evolving tastes. You could not just knock on the doors of such wineries and cellar doors were (still are) non-existing. Meals at the many good restaurants were quite reasonable but enjoying such wines meant to apply for a loan.

It is a fact that inexpensive, high-quality Pinot Noir is almost non-existent. Low yields, much attention in the vineyard and careful handling in the cellar followed by maturing the wine in barrel tend to make good Pinot an expensive wine. Though there are many reasons that contribute to the high prices, the primary explication is that good-quality Pinot does not come from high yields.

No wonder Pinot Noir was one of the first varieties we planted in the mid-90ties. It is the grape variety which runs in Hans’ blood and of which he made countless vintages in Switzerland. Marlborough offers a long growing season, producing Pinot Noirs with a more subtle, authentic fruit profile that suits our European palate more. Our diverse and challenging terroir is allowed to speak clearly through our Pinot Noir, giving the wine its unique transcendent beauty. Hans’ meticulous and natural approach allows him to produce Pinot Noir’s of undisguised purity and maximum expression of the unique characteristics of our vineyard.

By the way, do you know that the most expensive wine is a Pinot Noir? And it is from Hans’ legendary Hero Henri Jayer. A man Hans could relate to, a man at home in the vineyard. Henry Jayer said rightly so, “a great wine is crafted in the vineyard, not in the cellar”. Curious to try?  I can tell you, his were the most charming and elegant wines imaginable, however his Richebourg Grand Cru’s sets you back between US$16,193 to US$24,473.

In the meantime, why not try Hans’ Pinot Noir? He learnt a lot from Henry Jayer, has the same yields and puts the same effort and love into his Pinot Noirs. For a very decent price…

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