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Pinot Celebration 2012

Pinot Celebration 2012 – Queenstown

www.pinotcelebration.co.nz

One of the most exciting Pinot events of the year is nearly here. 26th-28th January is Central Otago’s annual Pinot Celebration (Well, annually except when the three yearly NZ Pinot event is on, next in 2013 www.pinotnoir2013.co.nz).

35 leading Central Otago winegrowers gather to enjoy current and past vintages of Pinot Noir with Pinot lovers from NZ, Australia, USA, Asia, UK and anywhere in the world that Pinot Noir lovers live.
These are relaxed, very social and insightful days. Where else can you get to immerse yourself in Pinot with so many world class Pinots and Pinot winegrowers, and world class cuisine?

Where else can you get the chance to taste all five vintages of Grasshopper Rock over two days?
One of this year’s highlights will be the tasting of Pinot Noir from the 2006 vintage of Burgundy. (More on this later)

Grasshopper Rock has been involved in 2008, 2009, 2011 and now 2012. Every celebration is better than the previous as the quality of Central Otago Pinot continues to rise. Often the old vintages at the lunches are highlights and the quality of these wines continues to rise in line with the increasing viticulture and winemaking skills of the time.

For Grasshopper Rock, we will have more vintages on show than ever before. If you are at the Pinot Celebration, check out ever vintage of Grasshopper Rock ever produced at these events:
Friday morning’s Grand Tasting: 2009 and 2010 vintages (first showing of the 2010 vintage)
Friday night Winemaker’s Party: 2008 vintage
Saturday night The Grand Dinner: 2006 and 2007 vintages

There are a number of winery lunches on Friday. Grasshopper Rock will be at Mt Edward winery with Terra Sancta (was Olssens), Burn Cottage and of course Mt Edward. We will have our award winning 2008 vintage with lunch being prepared by Saffron of Arrowtown. It will be a very special lunch.
A Formal Tasting of Burgundies

I am really looking forward to the formal Burgundy tasting on Saturday morning. Six premier cru Pinot. In anticipation I have made a few notes and share these below. The notes are taken directly from Jasper Morris’ excellent book Inside Burgundy published by Berry Bros & Rudd Press. Words in italics are direct quotes with page number for reference. The hectares shown are the size of the vineyard holding for that domaine (also sourced from Jasper Morris). Wine notes are not vintage specific.

Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot, Pommard 1er Cru, Les Rugiens, 2006 (Cote de Beaune)
The most sort- after of the Pommard vineyards-though this hides the fact there is a dramatic difference between the two halves. The lower part is arguably Pommard’s greatest vineyard, with only Clos des Epeneauux otherwise in contention. (0.15 Ha). P.344.
It is not clear which part of the vineyard the grapes come from. It will be fascinating to compare Les Rugiens and Clos des Epeneaux

Domaine Comte Armand, Pommard 1er Cru, Clos des Epeneaux, 2006 (Cote de Beaune)
Ownership in the Comte Armand family since 1826. This is not a premier cru in its own right, but a walled clos crossing the border between Grands and Petit Epenot. P. 340 (both premier cru).
If Pommard can be an elegant wine then Clos de Epeneaux is the vineyard to demonstrate it. (5.25 Ha) P.348.

The following two wines are both Nuits-St-Georges, Les Saint-Georges premier cru. Again, it will be a fascinating comparison not only as a pair but also compared to the other premier cru.
Today most opinion agrees this is the finest (vineyard in Nuits), but perhaps only narrowly when shown alongside neighbours Cailles and Vaucrains, with competition from the best vineyards at the Vosne end of the village. This is certainly the fullest and richest of the Nuits premier cru wines. P.250

Domaine Henri Gouges, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Les Saint-Georges, 2006
Amazingly dense with extraordinary wealth of fruit. (1.08 Ha) P.258.

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Les Saint-Georges, 2006
This is typically a rich succulent wine with blackberry fruit as well as more traditional plums. (2.10 Ha) P 261.

Domaine Amiot Servelles, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, Les Amoureuses, 2006
When young it is almost ludicrously charming, yet it does not age quickly. (0.45 Ha). p182.
Many believe this vineyard should be grand cru and I am particularly looking forward to this wine

Domaine Sylvie Esmonin, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Clos Saint-Jacques, 2006
The wines are extremely stylish with typical Gevrey firmness, but displaying a silky elegance. (1.60 Ha) P.151

We will be very privileged to enjoy these wines, all from library stock and usually made in small quantities.

Maybe the tasting will say most about the 2006 vintage which seems to have been a mixed bag in terms of weather. The Cote de Beaune seems to have come off worse with the wet weather and ripening was more of a challenge. Whereas the Cote de Nuits and especially Nuits-St-George achieved much better ripeness (more fruit and structure). This variation may be obvious in the tasting.

As much as I resist it, the last question always on my mind at these tasting is where does Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir fit in the line up? May be these 2006s are a long way from Grasshopper Rock, but based on past tastings I am always surprised. Most importantly, I will enjoy these wines for what they are.

It is all shaping up to be a great few days. Hope to see you there.