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“I’m Not Drinking Any Fucking" Pinot Noir!

Have you’ve seen the movie Sideways? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. This is a movie about wine, and at the same time, not about wine. If you have seen it, you should remember this part of the movie.  It helped boost sales of Pinot Noir in The States and of course decrease Merlot sales. I witnessed this phenomenon first hand. I vividly remember drinking a glass of wine at Lavanda Restaurant & Wine Bar in Palo Alto when this movie hit the screens. I also remember that the movie was showing right next door to Lavanda and after the movie let out, people often wandered in and ordered a glass of Pinot Noir.

It’s been 6 years since the release of this movie and everyone still talks about Pinot Noir. In fact, to most wine connoisseurs, there is no more seductive grape than the Pinot Noir.  We knew this before the movie, and we still know it today. I too am a sucker for the great Burgundian Pinot Noir.  It’s a grape that can truly seduce with aromas of raspberries, cherries, forest floor and even flowers.  The Pinot Noir’s high acidity gives the wine freshness and longevity.  When you drink a truly great Pinot Noir, it can make you smile.

This being said folks, it’s time to move on and say “I’m not drinking any fucking Pinot Noir!” It’s time to give other (red) grapes a chance. Other grapes that I often look to to seduce me and make me smile!  Even getting me to jump out of my chair!  So what grapes am I talking about? Which grapes am I drinking most often these days?? Read ON!!

What about Gamay? Gamay finds it’s home in a few areas (mostly) in France and in the hands of the right grower, can seduce.  Clos Roche Blanche in the Loire.  Jean-Marc Brignot , Jean Foillard, Clos des Vignes du Maynes &  Jean-Paul Brun (to name only a few) in Burgundy.  I’m told that Edmunds St. John also makes an interesting Gamay in California, though I have not yet tasted it.  The Gamay-based wines are incredibly fresh, dominated by red fruits and hints of spice. Thanks to the low(er) alcohol often found in these wines, their drinkablility is beyond compare!

What about Pinau d’Aunis? Found in the western parts of the Loire Valley, this once noble grape is slowly making a comeback thanks to Domaine Griottes, Clos Roche Blanche (try their Rosé!) & Jean-Pierre Robinot to name a few. With it’s truly seductive (and unmistakable) aromas of pencil lead, grapefruit and incense-like aromas, these incredibly fresh and light wines seduce me every time and this grape is quickly climbing to the top of my favorite (red) grapes list.

What about Schioppettino?  Found in the far reaches of Friuli (near the Slovenian border), and until more recently,  an unheard of grape for me. Then along came Fulvio Bressan with his “little firecracker”, the Schioppettino.  Dominated by black pepper, minerals and black fruit while remaining fresh, this certainly is a grape to put on your top list of grapes to try!

What about Poulsard?  Mainly found around the town of Pupillin in the Jura (just east of Burgundy), this thin-skinned red grape produces light colored wines which can be a bit reductive at first.  Once open, brilliant, high-acidity and red fruit mark these delicate wines.  These wines are a great fit for the local charcuterie & smoked sausage.  Try the wines of Jean-Marc Brignot, Tissot and Overnoy to get a good taste for what this red grape can produce!

And let’s not forget the Nerello Mascalese! This Sicilian (Mt.Etna) grape is responsible for making wines like Frank Cornelissen’s Magma and Munjebel Rosso.  Aroma’s that fit nicely between the Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo grapes. Aromatic wines with loads of freshness and solid tannins. Certainly not a grape to pass up if you have the opportunity to taste it. Great potential for aging – if you’re into that.

So, it time to starts saying “If anybody orders Pinot Noir, I’m leaving!” and time to start tasting some new grapes!  Tell me about your favorite red grape(s)?

Category: "I'm not drinking any fucking Pinot Noir!", 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine)

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3 Responses

  1. FH says:

    This is a very important piece since it illuminates the power of the media and shows how you are likely piggybackying this concept into shining light upon those grapes that deserve more attention. However the challenge is that many of these grapes you mention are not widespread varietals. Pinot Noir is the core of the Central Coast California. It would be nice to hear about more of these autocthonous grapes that you mention. Your descriptions are vivid and it would be nice to hear of other for example—Nero Mascalese producers from the Etna area, since they are not all in the same frame of winemaking realm as the producer you mention. Nice job……

  2. vinosseur says:

    FH

    Thanks for your comment. The Nerello Mascalese is a grape with only few examples available in Norway currently. I have tasted some good examples of this grape also from Murgo and Benanti here in Norway. A grape with a great potential in my opinion and a grape not to overlook.

    Of course, the Pinot Noir is not only an important grape for California, it’s also important for Burgundy and Northern Italy, where it’s known as the Pinot Nero (and can make some rather interesting wine). I love the Pinot as do most wine lovers.

    cheers,

  3. Finn Robberstad says:

    There are obviously lots of other more-or-less obscure red grapes, some of great general intererest, and some of more specialist charm.

    I find the Rossese, especially in its core DOC/DOP of Dolceacqua in Liguria, very interesting, It is a low-tannin red grape that in the right hands can also achieve high concentration and complexity. It has taste and aroma nuances that wll be familiar to many Norwegians; wild blueberries, cranberries (tyttebær) and krekling (no idea what this berry is called in English). It is a wonderful red wine to pair with fish and shellfish, but is extremely interesting also with game. The best producers of the highly concentrated variety are probably Giuncheo and Gajaudo, while the most filigrane, elegant Rossese of them all is probably from the microscopic producer Anfosso.

    At the other end of the tannin spectrum I think many would love the Fumin, if they could find it. This grape indigenous to the Aosta valley has very potent tannins that are ususally rounded off by “diluting” the wine with Cornalin, another autoctonous variety of the valley. Of course, one can age the edges off the wine, and be rewarded with a hugely interesting red a bit like an odd Nebbiolo with lots of colour, or a mountain-grown Sagrantino. Some producers, however, vinify the Fumin pure, drying part of the grapes for some weeks before pressing (as if for Amarone or Sforzato). My favourite made this way is Elio Ottin’s. Only a few thousand bottles are made, and it is difficult to find outside the valley.

    Obviously, there are also the relatively rare Friuli varieties (apart from the Schioppettino) of Pignolo and Tazzelenghe. Both of these require at least 10 years ageing to show their best. If one can find them at this age, or has the patience to keep them for so long, they are rare treats.

    Finn.

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Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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