I would certainly be remiss if I did not remember that this day, August 13, was International Left-Hander’s Day.
It is very special for about 767,000,000 of us on this planet; this island alone counts for 6,000-plus.
I received a reminder from Sarah Marquis of Mollydooker winery in Australia as its name is Aussie slang for a left-handed person, as all the winery founders are.
I will always remember the first time that we met, and I rather naively reached out with my right hand to shake hers. She politely pushed it aside and said, “Come on Michael you know better than that.”
I suggest that we all open a bottle of 2019 Mollydooker The Scooter Merlot that is named for ex big tyre scooter racer and Mollydooker founder Sparky Marquis. You will find it silky and smooth and charming to the senses with cherries and forest fruits. Nutmeg and cinnamon follow along with delicate tannins. We have quite a range from Mollydooker and for me they all rate 100 per cent on the pleasure scale. $37.90 (Stock #6093).
Now I will focus on next Wednesday as August 18 is a day to celebrate by possibly watching the movie Sideways and/or serving salmon, tuna, or game with root vegetables as you celebrate National Pinot Noir Day.
Please just wait a moment before reaching for that large balloon-shaped pinot noir glass and instead use a regular chardonnay glass or a tulip-shaped one as you pour what is one of our very best sellers which is 100 per cent pinot noir, Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne.
Connoisseurs’ Guide rates it 96/100 and writes: “Elegant and fruity at the same time with a quick invitation from bright, pure cherryish notes and then filled out handsomely by whiffs of chalky soils and well-integrated, rich and uplifting yeast-driven scents, this wine manages to be both vigorous and layered at one and the same time. Its bubbles are insistent, finely carved and add to the early sensations of lightness and energy yet also carry the wine long into a balanced, refined finish. And its latter palate grip is exactly what one should expect from the genre. While service with light foods would be our first choice, this one has the beauty to stand alone.”
Decanter magazine gives it 95 points. $99 (Stock #7168).
Before exciting France, we should stop in Burgundy, the birthplace of pinot noir, and try 2016 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin, a wine with a beautiful, bright ruby colour. Intensely fruity on the nose, the aromas are reminiscent of black cherry, wild blackberry and liquorice. The woody character is subtle and marries delicately with the other aromas. As the wine evolves, there are more complex notes, such as mild spice, nutmeg and leather. Later still, mushroom and damp earth nuances make their appearance.
Although present on the palate, tannin is never astringent but blends itself harmoniously with the natural freshness and "gras" (velvety texture) of the wine. The same aromas encountered earlier on the nose are found again in the aftertaste. James Suckling rates it 91/100 and says: “This shows a wealth of pure fruit and freshness with wonderful aromatics. Spices and dried flowers, too. Medium-bodied, round and savoury with plenty of acidity and medium length. Drink now.” $67.60 (Stock #8196).
Our 2019 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir is a fine New Zealand example with rich black cherry and plum fruit which is subtly lifted by layers of dark red florals and complex savoury aromas of dark chocolate, cigar box and olive tapenade. The palate shows a rich silky texture, which is full and concentrated and pure flavours of ripe berry fruit and dark plum fill the pallet. This fruit is supported by powerful yet fine polished tannins giving a plush yet silky texture with seamless length.
Their winemaker comments: “This wine was made with a minimalist philosophy, designed to enable the characteristics of the grapes and the vineyard to be revealed. The fruit was hand-harvested, hand sorted, gently de-stemmed and gravity-fed to tank. Fermented with a combination of indigenous and cultured yeasts, careful hand plunging was utilised to gently extract flavours and tannin.” $32 (Stock #7969).
Our 2016 Pike Road Pinot Noir is organic and from Oregon. Parker’s Wine Advocate awards it 90/100 and comments: “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2016 pinot noir gives up warm black cherries and blackcurrants on the nose with tilled earth and potpourri notions. Light to medium-bodied, it offers good concentration of black fruits in the mouth, with fine-grained tannins and mouth-watering acidity, finishing long with some spicy accents. Delicious and a great value." $29.95 (Stock #8383).
I will wrap this up by offering something rather off the beaten path, although I have heard rumours, that in the past, it was not uncommon to add a little syrah to the pinot noir in Burgundy. I have not tasted it yet, but it was highly recommended that I do try our 2017 Mark West Monterey Pinot Noir and I certainly will, but for now let me share this from the winery.
“Welcome to the dark side of pinot noir. Since Mark West’s founding in 1978, we’ve been totally devoted to crafting exceptional pinot noir using only the best fruit sourced from California’s coastal appellations. Mark West Black is a perfect example of what patience, hard work, and a passion for pinot can produce.
“Our deepest, darkest, smoothest wine, Mark West Black 2016 vintage is 80 per cent pinot noir, 20 per cent syrah. This concentrated dark purple wine is full bodied, rich, and smooth, with notes of blackberry, currant, and a distinctive vanilla and mocha toastiness. Flavours of blackberry, black cherry, and cassis stand up to intense baking spice, vanilla, and mocha notes with a slight smokiness.
“Grapes for this wine are sourced from premier, cool-climate growing regions that allow for longer hang time to produce complex, ripe flavours. Based on harvest conditions, sourcing may change between vintages to ensure we attain the target taste profile.” $25.75 (Stock #6633).