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Cellar Club – July 2017

By July 11, 2017Cellar Club

Pinot Envy

Pinot Noir: everyone’s favorite grape variety next to Cabernet Sauvignon. Its bright red fruity aromas and flavors, low tannin profile, paired with a little French oak and you have a crowd-pleasing red begging for any scenario. Pinot Noir is the chameleon of wines in that you can pair it with an array of food including salmon or duck or enjoy on its own! The one downfall: unattractive price point. Luckily for you, this wine of month is focusing on other varieties related to this noble grape that also come at a more everyday-drinking price tag.

Darting Pinot Meunier- Pfalz, Germany
One of the three noble varieties used in blends of Champagne, Pinot Meunier is considered to be vital in adding fruitiness and freshness to the power of Pinot Noir and the grace of Chardonnay. In this instance, we are tasting a still red version from the Pfalz region in Germany. Darting has a history of grape growing dating to 1780 and it was not until 1989 that the winery began to sell all of their grapes as wine under their own label. The family also maintains a highly regarded vine nursery, selling their grafted vines throughout Germany. Current winemaker Helmut Darting believes firmly in minimal-intervention winemaking as he feels that “everytime you handle a wine, you diminish it”. These practices include fermenting as slow as possible at a cold temperature in stainless steel, using only natural yeasts, and avoiding the introduction of oxygen in the winemaking process. This pinot meunier is fermented on their skins in stainless steel and then transferred to large oak casks. The only time the wine is handled is after racking, transfer of wine from one storage container to another using gravity, is to finish the wine by bottling.
Warwick Pinotage- Stellenbosch, South Africa
Pinotage is a grape crossing of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir. It was first crossed in South Africa in 1925 in the gardens of scientist Abraham Perold. Perold observed how Pinot Noir struggled in South Africa’s climate, so he crossed them with a very productive species: Cinsaut (called Hermitage). Perold’s goal was to create a wine that was as delicious as Pinot Noir but grew as well as Cinsaut. The result of the crossing between Cinsaut and Pinot Noir was unexpected. The Pinotage grapes were extremely dark in color and the wine they created was bold and high in tannin and anthocyanin —nothing its the progenitors. Despite the difference in flavor, Pinotage would eventually become the 2nd most planted grape in South Africa. Warwick Estate is a family-owned and run winery. Managing Director Michael Ratcliffe is the 3rd generation family member to oversee this high quality boutique operation. From 1771 till 1902, Warwick was known as the farm ‘De Goede Sukses’. After the Anglo Boer war ended in 1902, Colonel William Alexander Gordon, Commanding Officer of the Warwickshire regiment bought the historic farm. He renamed it ‘Warwick’ as a tribute to his regiment and the rest, as they say, is history. In this months feature of Pinotage you’ll notice red and black cherries, tobacco, barnyard, coffee, and a chuggable palate.

Koehler- Ruprecht Pinot Blanc- Pfalz, Germany
Koehler-Ruprecht has existed since the 1700’s, but Bernd Phillipi’s hard work over the last 30 years has solidified the winery’s world class reputation. In the vineyard, no irrigation, fertilizers or herbicides are ever used, and systemic treatments against pests or fungal illness are kept to a minimum, only in the rare cases when necessary. In the cellar, long spontaneous fermentations occur in large, old German oak barrels with extended lees contact. Nothing is ever added or subtracted to the wine, and sulfur is only added moderately after alcoholic fermentation and before bottling. This 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Pinot Blanc is sourced from two of their three single vineyard sites, Stenacker and Saumagen, mostly comprised of limestone soils. This particular vintage airs more on the drier side for this varietal and harvested from older vines between 40 and 50 years old. Loads of savory orchard and tropical fruits on the nose paired with a round and creamy palate and a touch of acidity.

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