Wine Review of 2015 Brancott Estate Chosen Rows Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand
Famous Kiwi winery Brancott Estate has been working on the ‘Chosen Rows’ project since 2009, with the aim of making a top-end wine, using all their savoir-faire (know-how), especially when it comes to making Sauvignon Blanc wines.
After a few years of selecting the very best vineyards to produce the best Sauvignon Blanc they could assemble, Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc was born with the first-ever-released 2013 vintage.
A few years later, to further demonstrate the potential of Marlborough in also crafting Pinot Noir wines, Brancott has just released this first vintage of Chosen Rows Pinot Noir, the 2015.
Chosen Rows Pinot Noir was crafted from the most select Pinot Noir fruit on Brancott Vineyard’s Terraces blocks, where the winery has gone as far as identifying the best individual rows. After fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in oak barrels, before a further selection of the best barrels to make the final blend.
So how good is 2015 Brancott Estate Chosen Rows Pinot Noir?
This Kiwi Pinot Noir comes in a very intense and dark red color for a Pinot. It is surprisingly dark indeed for the grape. Even just at pouring it, it looks more like a relatively light Cabernet or Merlot rather than you average Pinot Noir. Dark to the core it is, nearly black although you can slightly see through, with a vibrant youthful red to the rim.
The nose also features great aromatic intensity. It is pungently fruity, oaky, and spicy, clearly dominated by these 3 elements.
The fruity aspect comes through dark ripe cherry and strawberry jam aromas mainly. Perhaps a touch of tart cherry, but it is mainly ripe and opulent, to the point that fresh blackberry is an accurate descriptor for it, even though it is more often used on Cabernet and other rich red grape than for Pinot.
The aromatic spiciness though is typical of Pinot Noir. White pepper and a slightly vegetal fennel aroma clearly reminds of the grape.
Add intense notes of well-integrated oak, vanilla, clove and caramel, and you do end up with a warming, powerful and comforting, somewhat appealing wine.
The palate follows suit as far as opulence is concerned. This is indeed a generous, warm and ripe Pinot Noir, bursting in ripe red berry and berry jam flavors, further lifted by pungent white peppery spiciness and abundant oak.
The finish is also long, layered and warming. The alcohol is being sensed.
A very concentrated, opulent, pungently-aromatic Pinot Noir, that delivers an outstanding concentration of aromas and flavors, in a layered and warming complexity.
Oak, spices, and ripe fruit characters are the main features, brought to your senses with a punchy feeling of comforting warmth, testimony to the winemaker’s selection of grapes that were packed-full of flavors and Marlborough goodness.