I see that newly released Domaine Chandon’s Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2012 is a mere 12.5% alcohol. It reminds me that Coldstream Hills, back in the days when James Halliday owned it, produced some Pinots of 12.5% alcohol. And I recall Jancis Robinson reviewing them positively and noting the low alcohol with a statement along the lines of “good on them, Pinot Noir isn’t Grenache”.
I’d encourage a few Kiwi winemakers to take note. There are quite a few 14%+ fruit bomb Pinots coming out from the South Island. They remind me of young Australian Sparkling Shiraz without the sparkle.
Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia. 12.8%
One bottle was partially oxidised. This review is of the 2nd. Both had crumbly corks but the better bottle had better fill.
Warm, deep red flavours, quite a lot of fruit sweetness. Smooth and rich but not cloying. Food friendly.
A bit more spice, even a touch of greeness would have really made thus wine. But then I can hardly accuse them of picking too ripe at a mere 12.8%. Fascinating wine.
Might have lived another decade under screwcap.
Sauternes, Bordeaux. 13.5%
Not a tightly wound fruit style, more loose knit, with some formic acid, not dirty but not ultra modern. Not hugely sweet. Drinking well now (Sauternes drink so much earlier today now that minimal levels of sulpher are used).
Champagne, France. 12.5%
Surprisingly youthful, excellent acidity. Tight concentrated. Hints of almond essence. Long future ahead of it.
Barossa Valley, South Australia. 14%
Not as exciting as the 2006 by a long shot. Warm bordering on over-ripe fruit balanced by hefty added acid.
Margaret River, Western Australia. 14.5%
This is a very good wine but I’m marking it down a few points because it’s just a bit to showy. The oak is obtrusive, dry and a bit raspy. And the alcohol is too high. I know it is young but I have major doubts that this will properly knit together, at least into something fine.
So breathe the wine now and enjoy it young as a showy wine. Nice flavours even if it lacks mid palate density.
Adelaide Hills, South Australia. 12.5%
Light colour. Pleasantly savoury. I’m at a loss to know where this wine might go, I’m not used to drinking such young reds.
I suspect it’s not for very long aging.