Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bouchard Finlayson 'New World Pinot Noir' Tutored Tasting at the 12 Apostles Hotel

An invitation to a New World focused Pinot Noir tasting with Bouchard Finlayson winemaker Chris Albrecht sounded intriguing
It was held at the 12 Apostles Hotel 
Our welcoming drink was the Blanc de Mer blend of Riesling with some Viognier, Chardonnay and "a few other varietals",
made to be a perfect match with sea food. It is also a rather good quaffing wine
Guy McDonald, Gosia Young, Michael Bampfield Duggan
A long table was set for the wine tasting,
which was to be accompanied by sushi from ex-Nobu chef Sarawut Sukkowplang of the hotel’s Sushi Bar
We take our seats
This tasting was put together by well-travelled Bouchard Finlayson winemaker Chris Albrecht
He has assisted in cellars in California, France, South Africa and New Zealand and wanted to see what style we preferred
He is a confessed lover of Pinot Noir
The sushi pairing menu
We tasted blind, so did not know what the wines were until the bottles were revealed. We began with four white wines, all unwooded. The 2014 Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique Chardonnay has Elandskloof fruit and is buttery, leesy and full of crisp citrus flavours. The 2017 was similar but younger and more zesty. No malolactic fermentation on these wines. The third wine was the ringer, the 2017 Bon Vallon Chardonnay from De Wetshof in Robertson and is perfumed, herbal on the nose, crisp & zesty, with notes of orange and other citrus The unlabelled bottle is the pre-release 2018 Sans Barrique. Still shy on the nose, but with a nice zing of crisp acidity. This is already shaping up well and can be relied on to be a good vintage of this wine
Glistening chardonnays
The sushi to pair with the Chardonnays: on the left, Seared Yellow fin tuna roll; so fresh, with avocado, a mirin aioli, Teriyaki sauce and topped with a spicy mayo and chopped chives. On the right, deep fried and rather large (3 bites a piece) Futomaki (translation: "fat rolled sushi"), filled with yellow fin tuna, Norwegian salmon, farmed prawn and avocado, spring onion, cucumber and drizzled with teriyaki. The fast deep frying adds a good crisp layer of light tempura batter on the outside, but doesn't cook the fish. Two perfect matches for the lovely chardonnays
Head Sommelier at the 12 Apostles, Gregory Mutambe, pouring the first flight of Pinot Noirs for us. He joined us for the tasting
Here, he pours for FIVESTAR PR owner Jani van der Spuy who organised the event
Most would be New World wines, with a ringer or two in each flight
One of the staff members pours for Leanne Beatty
The first four Pinots revealed. The first one foxed us (and this is NOT New World) a German Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) from Schloss Ortenberg in the Baden Area. 2013. Shy with incense wood, concentrated and older with notes of balsam. Crisp, peppery, full on fruit with stewed plums. Then from the same vintage, the 2013 Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak with pink edges, pretty raspberry & cola on the nose, clean red fruit, nice length and minerality on the end. Next the Bouchard Finlayson 2013 Tête de Cuvée in 86% new oak - we knew this was local, from the fynbos on the nose, rusty edges, jammy but lighter fruit, clean, long with mint on the end, an older wine. The fourth was from New Zealand, Te Muna Road Craggy Range Pinot Noir from the Martinborough area. Dive-in red fruit on the nose, raspberry strawberry, lovely fruit, dark toast and still youthful. Much favoured in the room
The sushi pairing for the first flight of Pinots was a cured Tout sashimi, with miso, a Korean spicy chilli Gochujang sauce and spring onions with, on the right, a seared Norwegian salmon roll. with a mirin aioli, Teriyaki sauce, avocado, spicy mayo and chives. Both were so good with the red wine that we think this has added this varietal to our ordering of wine in good Sushi restaurants
The final flight began with the Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. Pretty rose and raspberry on the nose, full on fruit, grippy tannins and wood follow. Then another German, 2016 Kreuzberg Silberberg GG Pinot Noir from the Ahr region. Roses, fruit on an exceptionally sophisticated nose; on the palate, fruit first, sour plums, sharp fruit acidity with some salt. Needs time. Next was the 2016 Galpin Peak with wood, roses and red berry fruit on the nose and, on the palate, berry fruit, plums, chalky tannins, dark wood on the end. Made to last and very enjoyable, it is our Wine of the Week this week. The final wine was Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2016 from the South Island in New Zealand This was rather French in style, with maturity on the nose, cherries and berries, wood tannin and fruit on the palate
The two flights of Pinot Noir
And the final sushi pairing. A seared beef Teriyaki roll, with Teriyaki sauce, spring onions and toasted sesame seeds showed us how we can use meat in sushi when the fish runs out. It works as long as the beef is tender and this was. The Norwegian Salmon Tacos were unusual and fun; they came with a spicy miso, shredded cabbage and toasted sesame seeds. One for Lynne to copy at home as a starter, she thinks
With thanks to winemaker Chris for putting this very educational tasting together. We came with no pre-conceived notions and we all learned a lot about the different styles of Pinot. Lynne is finding roses on the nose of many good Pinot Noirs and it is becoming a pointer to her of good quality
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1 comment:

Mark Herd said...

Wow - this looked like an awesome pairing and Chris is so knowledgeable. Luckily he also has a great coach.