This is the second of the wines that Todd Hamina sent for Team Elitistreview to try. He says it is about half whole clusters and 25% new oak. It was included in the sample case he sent me, he says, to give me an idea of where he is going with his wines.
Bugger me, he is going somewhere really lovely and totally delicious. Ranking things at this quality level is very silly, and likely to slip one up into giving points to wine, which is bloody stupid. So let us limit ourselves to the childish outcry, “Wow! This is the best ever!”. Toddy can clearly make extremely fine wines and has some great pieces of land to work with. The note!
Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard 2010, Biggio-Hamina Cellars
Hell’s bells! This smells delicious! It has lovely, elegant, refined fruit of incredible beauty. The fruit is polished and highly attractive. This is what Pinot should smell like.
I can detect only very faint hints of new oak which are perfectly balanced as a seasoning for the scrummy, pretty fruit. There is clearly a sense of place on the nose. Given my relative inexperience with boutique Oregon wines, I would guess this was a really smart Morey-Saint-Denis if I just sniffed it.
But the palate has a totally different acid/fruit/tannin thing going on – it is more similar to the Youngberg Pinot we had the other day than it is to Burgundy. There is clearly a consistency to the terroir of the AVA, and fuck me it is a damned good terroir for Pinot Noir.
The palate bursts with succulent, beguiling fruit; it is such a charmer. The tannins and acid are in perfect harmony with the fruit and it shows itself to me a silken, svelte beauty that is so winsome you just want to grab the bottle and hide under the bedclothes so you can drink it all yourself.
This is one of the few New World Pinots I have had that merit the descriptor callipygian, it is just so perfectly formed. There is nothing out of place, it is so harmonious and shapely.
Six years of age do not seem to have harmed it in the slightest; indeed it seems to have developed real hints of tertiary characteristics. It is on the cusp of beginning to mellow into a soft, well-titted-out drinking companion. By arse, I think this is totally beauticious and beguiling and will only get better.
It has really impressive length, with fruit and a hint of wood showing on the finish. The finish is impressively complex, there are layers of flavour that reveal themselves as you swirl this around your mouth then swallow it.
There is no green character which makes arses say that whole-cluster is bad for the wines, but adding them into the fermentation tanks does seem to have had the usual effect they have on a wine – it is quite pale. I am commenting on the colour of the wine last because who in their right mind cares if their Pinot Noir is pale.
This is a stunning wine of class, beauty and style. I love it totally. Todd Hamina is a brilliant winemaker who just guides his grapes through to wines that express where they are made with a soft, non-interventionist hand. Who could ask more from a maker of Pinot?
The expression of place in the two Biggio-Hamina wines Team Elitistreview have tried have left us frankly stunned. I think our eyes have been opened to a whole new expression of the best red grape variety, an expression that we really love and will no doubt been eager to try more in the future.
Thank you, Todd! You have done our future drinking a great favour!