From Chablis in the north to Beaujolais in the south, humble Burgundian vignerons have farmed the century. Climates vary from inclemently continental to mild and agreeable; soils, from Jurassic limestone through alkaline clay and manganese-rich schists. Through this mélange of elements, the passing centuries have given rise to unique voices, each proclaiming their autonomy: spicy, cherry-laden Beaujolais; generous, minerally Maconnais, and austere, chalky Chablis. But invoking the most adoration and lining the walls of applauded cellars are the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of the Côte d’Or. Complex, silken and evocative at their best, they incite wonderment in those enlisted in their doctrine.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
While Pinotphiles have keenly monitored Oregon’s evolution for decades, it seems the greater wine world has just awakened to regard its temperate climate and ancient soils as a hotbed for one finicky variety. Sheltered from inclement weather by the western Coastal Range and the eastern Cascade Range, the idyllic Willamette Valley blesses the vines calling it home with gentle conditions, imbuing complex flavors and spirited acidity from a long growing season. Its namesake, the Willamette River, crisscrosses an ancient volcanic and sedimentary seabed overlaid with gravel, silt, and rock. Stewarded by family vignerons with an intimate knowledge of their land, and a new generation of eager winemakers, many are tipping their hats to Burgundy’s dynamic, new-world counterpart.
Staying true to Tasmania’s pristine nature, this Pinot Noir is vinified with minimal, gentle touches to achieve a faithful expression of site, vintage and culture. Wild ferments with both whole bunches and destemmed (but not crushed) fruit takes place in oak vats and small open fermenters with minimal drain and returns and light plunges. Maturation involves judicious use of French oak after which the wine is bottled unfiltered by gravity.
Maison L’Envoyé’s approach in the vineyard combines tailored viticulture and vigilant diligence. Each growing season and unique block is taken into account. The site, specific soil characteristics, elevation, aspect, rainfall, and vine age are considered. The growers that they choose to partner with lean heavily towards organic and biodynamic regimes, with a strict mindset of growing Pinot Noir rather than farming grapes.