We had some friends pop over for dinner recently and they brought with them a couple of bottles of 2011 Stonier Mornington Peninsular Pinot Noir. It was funny how the hand-over of said bottles went… “We weren’t sure what wine to bring over. You used to be just the guy into wine, now you’re a wine wanker, so in the end we just decided to bring wine we like” lol. There’s some confirmation in that, but aside, I’ll drink any wine a guest brings over and if it’s a wine they like then that’s an added bonus. Actually, I’d be a bit worried if they brought a wine they didn’t like, but hey, I’d drink that too!
Our friends are fans of light red wine and this was the perfect light red evening, a balmy 27 degrees or so (in proper Celsius that is, and sorry to our friends from Canada and the US who are currently suffering living in an iceberg, and to those living in the recent cold wet swamp conditions of the UK and Ireland, you poor people… 😛 ). So we decided to set up out on the deck and enjoy an array of cheeses from goats to sheep. Mmmmmm.
Seeing as we had some Pinot fans on our hands I decided to pull out a couple of 1970 Burgundies that I’d picked up from auction for about $35 or so each. I’d been waiting to compare a modern light Aussie Pinot against an age-old Frenchy. To be honest, I didn’t hold too much hope for the 43 year old wines but it was a gamble I was always willing to take because success would make these are bargain.
First up was the Stonier Mornington Peninsular Pinot Noir, a wine that sells for around $27 and was awarded a very honourable 94 points by James Halliday. The Mornington Peninsular, east of Melbourne, is known for producing some of the best examples of Aussie Pinot. This was an extremely light red in the glass and the comment was made that it even looked like a Rosé. It gave off wonderful floral aromas and the berries were well there and inviting you to tuck right in.
On the sip the lightness was confirmed with it being very easy to drink and quite inoffensive. Even though it was very light it handed over enough flavours to make it enjoyable, with hints of cherry and currants along with a very obvious backdrop of spice on top of oak. Although not anything overly special at all it fitted in perfectly with the ambience of the balmy evening outdoors. I’d happily drink it again.
So sitting back enjoying the cheeses, but being out of Stonier, I poured us all a glass of the 1970 Prosper Maufoux Beaune 1er Cru ‘Les Greves’ Red Burgundy. Looking at the condition of the label, the capsule, and the level of wine in the bottle, surely this wine would be no good? On the nose there was no hint of oxidation at all, none! Yes it was a little musty, and probably could have done with a little longer in the decanter so as to throw that off a bit, but there was so much fruit aroma still apparent.
Sipping it was a joy. There was lots of fruit left in the wine but it had become quite complex and nutty… almost Christmas cake like. And in there was the spice along with an enjoyable smoky backdrop. Strangely, it was a rather heavy wine but the flavour just lasted and lasted. It was an amazing match with the cheeses, especially the spicy sheep’s cheese. Yummo!
Even if the other Burgundy was to let us down we’d already been rewarded! Maybe luck was to be on our side?
Sadly we fully drained the first bottle of Burgundy so I poured us all a glass of the 1970 Bouchard Freres Mercurey. This bottle was in much better condition with a perfect capsule, one of the thickest and strongest I’ve seen, along with a cork in top condition and a high level of wine still in the bottle. In the glass it smelled so similar to the ‘Les Greves’ and was the exact same very dark red. Again, no vinegar smells, a good sign! Amazingly it also tasted very similar to the first bottle only a little spicier but not quite as long-lasting. We savoured this one and sipped it slowly enjoying just how well it too went with the cheeses.
Both of the Burgundy Pinots were so far removed from the Stonier but there was a common connection that several of us could sense, and that was the background of spice and tang that was very similar in nature across all three wines, and very enjoyable in both styles of wine. It was the distant family connection, the hint of the Pinot clan!