A long-term contact (from Canada) was in Beaune this week, he and his compatriots enjoying a more than enviable week of tastings, but on Friday evening he thrust into my grubby hands a couple of bottles – “I’m saying nothing, just tell me what you think of these.”
They are both 2009 pinot noirs from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. They sport heavy ‘sommelier’ bottles – particularly the Blue Mountain. The Foxtrot has the longer, more impressive looking cork. So here goes:
2009 Foxtrot, Erickson Vineyard Pinot Noir
Ooh – quite pale – approaching the colour of a Côte d’Or rosé or maybe a pinot from Alsace! It’s a pretty nose with a faint sous-bois, a suggestion of salinity and Marsala – both clean and interesting. Fresh, a little depth of good texture that ends with a modest point of tannin and a flavour that’s suggestive of some whole clusters. Like a salted caramel in the finish with a faint barrel-toast effect. Hmm – this is easy drinking, quite delicious wine with a lovely width of finish.
2009 Blue Mountain, Reserve Pinot Noir
Just a little deeper colour – not by much though! A nose of much more volume, freshness and a more pronounced sous-bois – I find this really attractive, though anyone who doesn’t know older pinot will just say ‘it’s stinky’ (and did!) Nice depth of flavour here with a decent freshness and a caramel/bitter oak-toast tannin – never too much though – and there’s a growing accent of florality to the flavour. Ultimately the Foxtrot is the easier drink today, but this has a little more youth, a little more intensity and weight of flavour, but the modest bitterness in the finish means the first wine is the more delicious today.
I’d happily drink either (or both!) of these – they show a little more overt age to their aromatics than a typical 7-8 year-old from the Côte d’Or, but the aromas and flavours are delivered with the cleanliness and panache of well-made pinot. In another 3-4 years the Blue Mountain might pull ahead of the Foxtrot, but, today, that latter wine wins by a neck chez nous…