Stewart Plant is a gregarious Australian wine retailer at Fine Wine Merchant.
And when it comes to the pointy end of the pinot world he is the “man” to aggregate the finest worth tasting in one easy swirl.
Brisbane’s newly-opened and chic Malt in Market Street was the venue of three flights of the pinot stars (served blind, wines known).
I write about these in order of preference – a habit when the better wines rock my socks.
And even for fear of being a little Francophobic, it was the Burgundies which split a clear division between their New World cousins but only on the basis of completeness, restraint and savoury feel. New World sticks out from fruit.
This is not a depth of flavour discussion because wines of Oregon, New Zealand and Australia have it in spades: oozy primary fruit, whole bunch character, oak charm, preserved fruit which eschews engagement, lots of juicy bits.
One New Worlder crossed the divide into the savoury and painfully understated arena – Beaux Frères from Oregon.
Plant also brought wines to back-up or for spare drinks in case of cork failure or calamity – which did not eventuate, so we drank the two regardless, and not to my surprise these were rippers.
Richebourg Grand Cru (Domaine de la Romanee Conti) 2007 Vosne-Romanee; 13%; (USD 1500); +++++; 13,635 bottles; quite ethereal, shows significant oak aging as an aromatic character, shows some age yet the fruit is still primary, hints of pinot sap, palate concentrated with a mix of whole bunch, fruit juice, red fruits, then tight, fine, close tannin with great line, zippy acid and time for aging longer.
Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru(Leroy) 2006 Vosne-Romanee; 13%; (USD 1500); +++++; 6900 bottles; washed colour does not detract, cherry fruits and lots of it, oak cedar yet to settle down, fruit concentration sits beside the oak tannin, lots of long, lingering flavours as well as a very tannic palate, high acidity, still closed on the finish.
Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (Dujac) 2006 Morey St-Denis; 13.5%; (USD 335); ++++1/2: pale but purples; feint nose, candy, just so restrained, feline, sleek, fine, subtle, still in retreat after bottling, not forward at this stage, coiled.
Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru (Bernstein) 2007 Gevrey-Chambertin; 13.5%; (USD 375); ++++1/2; 591 bottles; very restrained, spice, fragrant red fruits, hint of time in barrel, no more, very tight, very fine, shows lean and long, very clean finish which is complete, keep aging it.
Beaux Frères Upper Terrace 2008 Willamette Oregon; 13.5%; (USD 250); ++++1/2; medium purple colour good, restrained nose, smells savoury, compact, not effusive, palate well flavoured but into savouriness and balance, tight, warm with lots of red fruits, pretty muscular at the end, a delight.
Musigny Vieille Vignes Grand Cru (Comte de Vogue) 2007 Chambolle-Musigny ; 13% (USD 750); ++++ ; 13,500 bottles ; youthful, closed up, damp earth, almond kernel, oak cedar, perfume, sap, then very tight palate, high acid directs it to fineness, powdery tannin takes it to minerality, very fine.
Richebourg Grand Cru (Hudelot-Noellat) 2007 Vosne-Romanee; 14% (USD 1500); ++++; maturing colour, meaty, lots of whole bunch, stems too, very aromatic and signs of additional barrel time, savoury nose, spice on palate, soft and silky, rather light bodied so alcohol not a worry, long finish with fineness.
Bonne Mares Grand Cru (Bernstein) 2007 Chambolle-Musigny; 13.5% (USD 350); ++++; nose of the heavens, approachable, not, barrel ferment, new oak sweets, a really butch wine, layered with flavour and muscle, chewy but not tough, keep, all the weight necessary, add an extra half point.
Bindi Block 5 2006 Macedon; 13.5% (USD 125); ++++; 1800 bottles; best Aussie, clearly New World from the juicy primary fruit, jubey, probably whole bunch, highly toned oak sits, very bright on its freshness, fruity, palate has leanness and closure, still needing time no doubt, acidity subtle, red fruits skim the finish.
Pyramid Valley Angel Flower 2007 Waipara; 13% (USD 150); ++++; 600 bottles; best performed Kiwi, dense colour, almost unnatural; barnyard smells, best call it complexity, the natural yeast aroma too, herbal, whole bunch, plurality of winemaking, fine, wood weight, warm on the alcohol.
Ata Rangi McCrone 2006 Martinborough; 13.5% (USD 100); +++1/2; 720 bottles; very dense, lots of whole bunch, massive wine, sap pinot aromas too, complete, oak, fruity, big and masterful yet still fruity and under-developed.
Evesham Woods Cuvee J 2008 Eola-Amity Hills; Willamette; barrel selection, 13% (USD 100); +++1/2; lots of sap and inky aromas, primary fruit to the fore, has lots of nose interest, profound, compact fruit and concentrated, oak cedar, quite closed, drying from oak. A favourite American.
Bell Hill 2006 Waipara; 14.5% (USD 200); +++; 1956 bottles, is this really pinot with the monster colours, or are there steroids around, monstrous fruit preparation so over-the-top; could be shiraz; tarry oak and a massive final warming taste. Be patient here.
By Farr Tout Pres 2008 Geelong; 13.5% (USD 105); +++; light colour, whole bunch, perfume, leaf component too, nose pumps up to big things, palate still closed, sweet fruit but edgy on acid, is asleep.
There were three slim wines: Main Ridge Half Acre 2007, Bass Phillip Reserve 2007, and Chambertin (Bouchard) 2008 was too bretty to enjoy.
Peter Scudamore-Smith is a Brisbane-based Master of Wine, winemaker and educator www.uncorkedandcultivated.com.au
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