Exploring Signuradi Part 2: The Mature Middle-Agers

Last month I started to explore the grandeur of Grisons Pinot Noir with the adolescent entry level. This time I'd like to continue with a few mature middle-age'ers from 2005 and 2006. Apart of the aged ones I also had the pleasure to taste two other rather adolescent Pinots from Fläsch. One entry level from Andrea Davaz and one big shot Pinot from the Gantenbeins. As if that was not enough two other Pinot Noirs, one from Lake Constance region (Thurgau) and one from Burgenland in Austria had to take the role as possible counterpoints. Let's check them fellows out ….

The first Grisons Pinot Noir was the semi-seductive Pinot Noir Barrique 2005 from Annatina Pelizzatti in Jenins. It seemed relatively bright, murky and already a bit tanned. The perfumed nose convinced me with fresh and light bright berry fruits and maybe a hint of too much oak. The taste was by far the lightest and most fruit oriented one (compared to all the others). It seemed really lively, a bit delicate, dominated by bright berry fruit (mainly strawberries) and well equipped with very suitable acid. Again, the oak influence seemed a bit too much. Eventually the gentle, not really elegant though, fruit prevailed and tempted me to score a very decent *****. One more thing: drink up, I don't think it will get better!

The next Pinot Noir was also produced by anthor very well known lady. The Eichholz Pinot Noir 2005 from Irene Grünenfelder showed the best evolution and structure of those mature middle age'ers. Its colour looked pretty dark and hardly struck by age. The nose was spicy, earthy, full dark cherry scents (profoundly impressive ones) and did not really try to conceal its oak'iness. In this case it was a rather subtle oak influence. The taste was manly, firm, spicy, reflecting (in terms of meditative - I just don't like to use this expression), definitely far reaching and mineral driven wine. It had a lot of dark cherry fruit and was not as alluring as the first Pinot, but rather elegant and noble in its own particularly "butch" way. Due to its density it appeared a bit exhausting (a bit wearing out at least). In this case – no problem at all. To me by far the best Grisons Pinot Noir of the evening. Absolutely and undoubtedly a very decent ***** (an in the future maybe even more) Pinot!

Another Pinot came from Weingut Donatsch in Malans. The Pinot Noir Passion 2006 seemed a bit more streamlined and conventional than the others. To me it was a strong, fleshy, showed plenty of extract, was a bit slightly slick and of course absolutely well produced Pinot without too many edgy or individual characteristics. The taste showed a lot of dark fruit flavours (dark cherries and hints of plums), some earthy impressions and maybe a bit too much fruit sweetness. The alcohol (13,6%) seemed not as well integrated as it should be. It had a little obstrusive touch! Anyway, for sure a decent **** Pinot with prospects for the future.

The last mature middle age'er was the Pinot Noir Reserve 2005 from Weingut Christian Hermann in Fläsch. This one seemed to be the most reserved and reluctant to perform Pinot of the tasting. It was dark all over the glass: colour, nose and taste! Apart of its reserved and maybe a bit rough character, I got underlying impressions of a vibrating and butch-elegant structure. Right now it showed flavours of dark cherries, dark and really tart earthy components, cola and unpretentious oak flavours. The tannin structure and alcohol influence (13,5%) seemed a little bit vigerous. A bit of a savage fellow, which will balance in given time (I am pretty sure about that). At the moment a pretty though cookie to score and savour. In perspective a most definitely decent **** Pinot Noir with complexity and outstanding demand.

Unfortunately the Fläscher Pinot Noir 2009 by Andrea Davaz was flawed by cork nastiness. It was hyper transparent without being exessivly bright (?). Except the cork influence it seemed comparable with two of my adolescent entry-level Pinots from last month. It showed tons of dark berry flavours, a lot of freshness, traces of lime and a bit too much alcohol (pretty present 13,5%). I guess it should be a nice Pinot with a lot of drinkability now and over the next years! 

The last Grisons Pinot Noir came from the most influencial winery in Signuradi. It was  Daniel und Martha Gantenbein's Pinot Noir 2010 from Fläsch. I am not really sure what to write about this wine. That evening it seemed really heavily oaky and a bit clumsy! However a couple of days later I had the exact vintage once again. Then it was totally different. Still some present oak, well - after all it was still a very junvenile wine, but far better integrated. This 2010 was a subtle and totally convincing Pinot Noir! I don't have any explanation for this phenomenon! Hence, no more assessment today! But a to be continued in Part 3!

Let's get away from the mountainous regions of Switzerland and into the fair hills around Lake Constance. The 2006 Pinot Noir No. 2 from Schlossgut Bachtobel (Hans-Ulrich Kesselring) was a totally different kind of Pinot Noir. It was far more cool, less concentrated and most certainly far more playful than the Grisons Pinots. The colour was super bright and transparent. Nose and taste showed cold bright berry fruit and a bit too much rough smoke. Besides that I was under the impression to taste (and partly smell) quite a lot of aged brown grass, cucumber water and nasal impressions with slight manure-associations. After some hours these unfortunate impressions eased (not vanished) and more earthy and mild coffee like flavours evolved. The fruit seemed to evolve towards a more ripe stage as well. Oak or alcohol (12%) did never interfere with the nice and rather quiet fruitful flavours. The acid was fresh and frisky. After all it was a nice, semi-concentrated and surly decent **** Pinot Noir. 

Before I continue with the last Pinot Noir, let me tell you: I was shocked. Shocked by the heavy style of this very last wine and even more shocked by the pleasure it caused. Normally I am not into rich, warm and heavy weight Pinot Noirs with a lot of strength and without an elegant structure. The Weingut Paul Achs Pinot Noir 2006 from the lovely Burgenland in the very east of Austria was exceptional. The colour was really dark, vibrant and really young. Nose and taste convinced me with very dark and very very ripe cherry (and dehydrated) flavours without being kitsch'y, jam-like sweetish, alcoholic, hot or whatsoever-nasty. They stood firm, well evolved (however still rather juvenile), very concentrated, huge and full of mineral impressions which I'd rather locate more in the direction of a hardly known viticulture area alongside the Gironde River. The main aspect which I liked was the balance of this wine. It was huge and balanced at the same time. Somehow, I can't explain it, it was really appealing! 

I wonder why those strong Pinots were my favourites of the evening!?! First the strong Grünenfelder Pinot and then the huge Achs Pinot. Why? I guess it was the overall impressions concerning balance of fruit sweetness and alcohol combined with good compelxity. These aspects made the difference. I assume ...!  Anyway, The Paul Achs - absolutely very decent ***** stuff. Maybe the best wine of the evening! I am still shocked (a bit)! 

Summary: Great Pinot's from Grisons, with a lot of strength, character and sometimes slight alcohol issues! 

To be continued ...

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