2012 Rippon Pinot Noir Mature Vines of Central Otago – New Zealand’s Very Best

New Zealand’s Finest!

 

I first began drinking Rippon’s phenomenal Pinots with the early 2000s, continuing my enjoyment and the consumption of their finest juice a few years ago with the release of their 2010s and sensational 2003s. My adoration is well documented in these pages.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is on record as well, referring to Nick’s wines as

“…Pinot Noirs that rekindled memories of those glorious 2005 Burgundy’s”.

I was also quite impressed to hear the news a few months back that Nick Stock, Senior Editor for James Suckling.com, in the New Zealand issue of “The Top 50 New Zealand Wines of 2016,” ranked Rippon’s 2012 the #7 Top New Zealand Wine for 2016!

The fruit for Rippon’s Pinot Noir Mature Vines is culled from an ancient parcel on the estate’s north-facing, steep, eroded slope. It’s a meeting point of glacial deposits: ancient soil, rock and coarse gravels, all based in schist, where Central Otago’s earliest vines were planted. Rippon’s Mature Vines cuvee is issued from all of the fully developed Pinot vines growing in this expansive parcel. This is where it all began for Rippon, and the fruit of the vine from this parcel bears witness to the perfectionist style Nick Mills (and his father Rolfe Mills before him) is renowned for.

For those new to these pages, I like to remind everyone just how vital Nick’s training has been to the continuity of these world class Pinot Noirs. Not only are these the oldest plantings in the region, but they are tended by a man who spent his formative years working the soil and terroirs of Burgundy; he knew how vital his understanding of such things would be. To that end, Nick tenured with de Villaine (Domaine de la Romanée Conti) , and spent time with Jean-Jacques Confuron, Lucien Jacob, Alain Meunier, Nicolas Potel and Domaine de la Vougeraie as well. His are truly the wines of a master craftsman.

2012 Rippon Pinot Noir Central Otago Mature Vines

This is the mature-vine assemblage of the entire property and has a more granitic, schist, wet-stone and rock edge as well as delicate perfumes and hints of pepper, not to mention poached raspberries and cherry fruit. Great depth and weight and good phenolic concentration. It’s all saturated in dark cherry flavors and plenty of tannins. No compromise in detail. Best from 2018, but will grow well past that.

96 points, Nick Stock for James Suckling.com

Advertisements

Brunello di Montalcino 2010 & The “Best Ever” Wines of Mastrojanni

Brunelli 2010 - "Vintage of A Lifetime" JS

Brunelli 2010 – “Vintage of A Lifetime” JS

The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino hosted the Benvenuto Brunello event this year on January 22 in San Francisco at The Fairmont – an indispensible opportunity to taste (first hand) roughly 40 producers and more than 80 bottlings. The most important offers by far were the 2010 Brunelli, Rossos and older Riservas went virtually unnoticed. With much anticipation, I made my way through the crowd, tasting diligently and critically – determined to build the case for (or against) these much-hyped Sangiovese beauties.

In the end: I was floored! These are quite possibly even better than originally billed. And the top wines? So much perfection… Allocations are going to dwindle; prices will soar… What was the recipe for so many successes?

More than one winemaker I spoke to echoed the sentiments of Francesco Ripaccioli the young winemaker of the historic Canalicchio di Sopra estate:

“2010 is a success as a result of the rare combination of power and elegance, which are two qualities that are seldom found in a single vintage of Brunello.”

Of all those tasted, one of the most sought after, nearly impossible to acquire wines of the 2010 Brunelli campaign, Mastrojanni took my breath away. Offering multiple crus – all stellar – Mastrojanni has long been the darling of classicists. Perfectionists to their core, Mastrojanni will declassify a vintage (sending it to the distillery) if conditions fail to meet their standards. The 2002 vintage, with its universally green tannins and under-ripe conditions is an example. Mastrojanni maintains their enviable placement and reputation, willing to sacrifice harvests in their search for perfection.

Two 2010 crus – unique, individual – topped the charts (professionally and for yours truly) Chez Mastrojanni :

  • Brunello – Traditional barrel aging for 36 months (larger barrels: Allier oak barrels of 16-33-54 hl). Finished in bottle for 6-8 months.
  • Brunello “Vigna Loreto” – Cement fermentation before traditional barrel and bottle aging as with the Brunello. The newest (ca 2007) Cru for Mastrojanni. Built to age.

2010 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino

What a tightly knit wine this is with so much fabulous character of dried meat, orange peel, berry and spice. Dried and dusty earth too. Full body, sweet fruit character and ripe tannins but loads of structure and intensity. Structurally intense and dry at the finish. It goes on for minutes. Best ever. Better in 2018. ~ 98 points – James Suckling

2010 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Loreto

I love the savory character and silky texture to this wine. Full body, chewy tannins and a juicy and delicious finish. A baby still. Needs three to four years to soften. Better in 2017 ~ 97 points – James Suckling

These are among several darlings of the vintage, their scarcity speaks to the trend for 2010…

2010 Pietradolce Etna Rosso “Archineri” ~ Sicily’s Hottest Wine!

Etna Rosso

Hello fellow wine lovers ~

Having now personally tasted several vintages of this truly unique and utterly engaging Sicilian beauty, I fully agree with Galloni’s recent review of the 2010:

“The 2010 Archineri Rosso is striking from start to finish. Sweet, red cherries, flowers, mint, anise and sweet spices are some of the many notes that emerge from this deceptively medium-bodied wine. Although moderately structured at first glance, the 2010 has plenty of depth and equally notable persistence in reserve, qualities that are typical of the great Etna reds. With time in the glass, the wine’s intense structure becomes increasingly apparent. Savory herbs, sage and rosemary add lift on the gracious, refined finish. The 2010 Archineri Rosso is flat-out beautiful today. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2016″
~ Galloni, Wine Advocate
, 92 points

Adding additional fuel to the fire, Italian wine guru James Suckling further praised this delicious Etna born treasure:

“This is delicate but very deep with strawberries, spices and cedar. Full body, with a dense palate, beautiful fruit and a firm tannin structure. This is really corseted with beautiful acidity. Wonderful length. Turns to plums and cedar. Wonderful. A blend of grapes from two sites: one with 40 years of age and another with 80 years of age. Latter is pre-phyloxera. Drink now or hold.”
~ James Suckling, 94 points

~ 2010 Pietradolce Etna Rosso “Archineri”
$34.99/btl + Ground Shipping included on case purchases

For more details regarding the native grape of Sicily – this Nerello grape used in today’s wine – we turn once again to Galloni for his professional review of the grape as well as the region:

 

“The most exciting region in Sicily, and perhaps Italy, is Mount Etna, where a small number of producers have re-discovered the very unique terrains that lie below this storied volcano. These are the highest-altitude vineyards in Europe. The late-ripening native Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio produce medium-bodied, aromatic reds that stylistically and texturally share much in common with Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Readers who haven’t spent time yet with the wines from the Etna owe it to themselves to do so. The top wines will challenge long-held assumptions about what Sicilian wines can be all about.
~ Antonio Galloni

To order simply reply to this post, or call me at my office number below.

 

All the best in wine & life,

Christopher Massie, CS

Wine Country Connection

510.749.0325

cepagenoir@gmail.com