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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The CWB Pinot-Off: Burgundy vs California

Two Pinots: Burgundy vs California

Domaine Ragot, "Teppe des Cheneves" Rouge, Givry
Talbot Kali Hart Pinot Noir, Monterey

I've said it before, I'm a bit "meh" about Pinot; I like it well enough, but I never quite see what the fuss is about. Low tannins, medium-high acidity and high-to-stratospheric prices don't do it for me, it seems.

Wine enthusiasts often talk about getting "bitten by the Pinot bug", so with Cambridge Wine Merchants selling off various mature Burgundies at below-market prices, I decided to have another go at trying to acquire an expensive habit.

Givry is a village in the Côte Chalonnaise; reliable and affordable, it makes good-value wines that tend to be lighter and ready to drink at a younger age; the peak is between 5 and 12 years from vintage.

Kali Hart is a blend (across two different vineyards) from the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of California's cooler regions.

Both wines are equally well-made and cost about the same; the New Worlder is bigger and more fruited, an easier drinker and perhaps a better introduction to Pinot for anyone who is used to younger, riper, more fruit-forward wines.

The Burgundy is more savoury and, given its age, more complex; less immediately obvious, it is a more cerebral proposition.

Domaine Ragot, "Teppe des Cheneves" Rouge, Givry, 2013 (£17.99, Cambridge Wine Merchants) cherry, redcurrant and raspberry fruit with some evolved complexity; delicate, gentle and very well-made.

Improves with some aeration.


Talbot Kali Hart Pinot Noir, Monterey, 2017 (£23 - £25, Majestic) red fruits, boysenberry and spice; warming with ripe fruits and balanced freshness. Gentle extraction and very deft.


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