Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Pinot Primer

Pinot Noir is one of my favorite wine grapes. So this recent article in the Los Angeles Times caught my eye.

Nebbiolo is a notoriously fussy grape. The Barolo region of northern Italy is just about the only region of the world in which Nebbiolo seems to ripen well and produce consistently good wine. Pinot Noir, according to the LA Times article, can be pretty finicky too:
Pinot gets expensive because much of the winemaking required to tweak its distinctive features is risky and high-flying.

"We have to do some pretty nutty things," (DeLoach winemaker Greg) La Follette says, reciting a long list of interventions, including long, cold soaks; stem additions; wild, indigenous yeast fermentations; and impossibly gentle handling. "You have to roll up your sleeves. You need a smart, nimble crew."
The article also quotes an Oregon winemaker who says, "Single vineyard wines can be really good, but just because you only make 300 cases, it doesn't mean you should charge $75 a bottle. So many come right out of the gate with prices that are not reflective of cost — they're reflective of ego, or what the market can bear, or of what their neighbors are charging."

Amen to that.

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