I seldom write about Pinot Noir because it’s expensive and usually there’s not much of it around. You cannot just go out and get Pinot the way you can Merlot or Shiraz. I often think Pinot is a concept as much as it is a wine. Yet most wine experts admit that Pinot is their passion.
The Pinot grape is hard to grow and vinify, hence the shortage and high prices. But winemakers worldwide never give up and right now there is a bit of Pinot flurry happening — a window of opportunity for the fan. The best news of all is that some good everyday (and not so everyday) Pinots are coming right of our own backyard. Ontario can rock the Pinot world.
Oddly enough, Pinot Noir is everything that most hate in red wine. It’s light in colour and body and has dainty, berry-like flavours — a delicate drink. But Pinot seems to bring out people’s sensual side, especially at this time of year. The wine has the feeling of a fall stroll in the woods, or just being in the countryside in September or October.
If you’re new to Pinot, I suggest you have your first bottles with an herb-roasted chicken and oven-roasted potatoes. Lightly chill the wine to accent its lively, refreshing feeling. Have a glass or two before supper as Pinot is also a delicious wine on its own.
From Niagara, Henry of Pelham, Cave Spring and Inniskillin offer refreshing, lightweight ’04 Pinots.
Next month in Niagara sees the first release of Pinots from the Le Clos Jordanne winery. The proposed Frank Gehry showpiece hasn’t happened yet, but the vineyards are up and running. These are stunning Pinots and mark another chapter in the evolution of local wine. I’ll let you know about availability soon. P.S. This Saturday’s Vintages release recommendations are now posted at www.billysbestbottles.com. Cheers!
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2005. Visit www.billysbestbottles.comfor information about his in-home wine-tasting seminar.
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• HENRY of PELHAM ’04 Pinot Noir, Niagara
• INNISKILLIN ’04 Pinot Noir Reserve, Niagara
• CAVE SPRING ’04 Pinot Noir, Niagara