Le Clos Jordanne winemaker Sebastien Jacquey was effusive in his praise of the 2009 vintage for Niagara Pinot Noirs when I tasted the wines with him over a year ago.
“We won’t have another year like 2009 for Pinot Noirs for probably 10 years,” he said at the time.
It was one of those rare vintages where everything came together at the end of the harvest after an uneventful and rather cool growing season.
The 2009 wines are just starting to open up to show their true potential.
Vintages, in their wisdom, has included a nice selection for release (and in some cases, re-release) this Saturday just in time for Christmas, including some of the stars of the vintage.
We offer three selections as our WIN wines of the week, all Pinots at three different prices that will do nicely on the Christmas dinner table or as a special treat for the wine lover on your shopping list.
Mike Weir Pinot Noir 2009
($20, 87 points)
A late release from Weir, the 09 Pinot is one of the last from that vintage in Niagara to make it to retail shelves.
It has an intense nose of blueberry, cassis, small red berries, mocha and oak stylings.
It’s quite savoury on the palate with fruits leaning toward dark berries, earth, cedar and spice.
All in all, a masculine Pinot with a firm backbone.
The fruit is sourced from the vineyards of Chateau des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
13th Street Essence Pinot Noir 2009
($45, 91 points)
Didn’t winemaker JP Colas say you can’t make Pinot Noir in Niagara?
Yes he did (sort of) and he explains (sort of) what he meant by that on the back label of this wonderful Pinot Noir, his first made in Niagara.
All the classic aromas to start — mushroom, barnyard, forest floor, cedar — then followed by cherry, cranberry, strawberry with a hint of spice.
Very feminine and delicate with finesse on the palate, fine texture, silky tannins and well balanced acidity.
Fruit for this top Pinot in the portfolio is sourced from the best block of fruit located on the limestone-rich western side of the Le Clos Jordanne Estate Vineyard.
It is much more classically Burgundian in style then, say, the Claystone Terrace Vineyard, and shows more elegance through the profile.
The nose displays ripe plum, cranberries, black cherries, loam, cassis, flinty minerality, violets, minty spices and toasted oak-vanilla.
It is dry yet persistent on the palate, still super-tight and waiting to open up, but still delivers wonderful red and black fruit intensity and balanced with wonderful spice and the elegance of fine oak.
Wait on this, and it will return huge dividends. Potential for seven or more years in the cellar.
Rick Vansickle is a veteran journalist, wine reviewer and publisher of Wines in Niagara. His reviews appear each Friday in Bullet News. Previous reviews are archived under “Grapevine” tab on the Bullet News home page, under Wines in Niagara. Rick can be found on the web at www.winesinniagara.com.
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