This was the very first wine club ever hosted by the Vino Enthusiasts. An intimate group of wine lovers got together to explore Pinot Noir as a single varietal. Four wines were tasted over the evening from Ontario, Sonoma, Central Otago and Burgundy. All four of these regions are known for making killer Pinot Noir and although there are many regions delivering on quality when it comes to the heartbreak grape, the group was limited and chose to represent some of the more popular wine regions.
The food pairings for the evening included a full, baked duck with an orange-ginger sauce, cranberry goat cheese, 4-year old cheddar, smoked gouda and basil spiced mushrooms.
The first wine tasted was the 2012 Earth and Sky Pinot Noir from Château des Charmes in Niagara, Ontario.
A fruity aroma of cotton candy, sour cherry, raspberry jam and red licorice. On the palate, the wine is light in body, but had a pleasant acidity that would make the wine more appropriate as a food-wine.
For $15, this is an easy, local wine. Best paired with cranberry goat cheese to balance the acidity.
The 2012 Macrostie Pinot Noir was the group's pick-of-the-night. From Sonoma Coast, this wine had an aroma of black cherry and flowers. On the palate, red cherry, earthy mushroom characteristics and a leather/ tobacco after-taste.
The balance on this wine was really impressive and when paired with the basil and mushrooms, the earthy complexity was really able to shine. For $25, this is a great-value Pinot Noir.
The 2012 Akarua Pinot Noir, from Central Otago was an interesting representation of Pinot. With confectionary cherry, cranberry and sugard rhubarb on the nose, the fruit dominated any earthy characteristics. The palate was jammy and had more weight than the previous Pinot Noirs, and a palate of strawberry-rhubarb pie.
Everyone liked this wine, but for reasons other than what was expected from a traditional Pinot Noir. Retailed at $36. This wine paired best with the duck and cranberry goat cheese.
Finally, the group tasted the 2011 Gevrey-Chambertin Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France. This wine had a nose of ripe cherry, wet rose and earthy terroir. The palate was incredibly balanced with layers of delicate tannin, solid acidity, present fruit-character and a long, spicy finish. If you're willing to spend $55, this Pinot is on-point as far as quality is concerned.
This wine was an excellent pairing with the duck.