Want to taste the greatest pinot noirs of all from Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti? Book a table at Society restaurant in Melbourne.
Pinot noir is the red wine they drink in heaven, say those who have fallen under its spell. But it won’t come to you unbidden; you have to unravel its secrets and demands, helped by a credit card with a large limit. If you wish to taste the greatest pinot noirs of all, from Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, book a table at Society restaurant in Melbourne. The 103-page wine list includes 61 bottles of the most famous (and otherwise virtually unprocurable) grand crus of the Domaine, culminating in four vintages of the holy of holies, Romanée-Conti. These are followed closely by multiple vintages of each of La Tâche, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, Richebourg, Grands Echezeaux, Echezeaux and Corton. The most expensive bottle is 2009 Romanée-Conti ($45,000), the least expensive 2017 Corton ($1450).
From the heavens to the earth, and the fourth Australian Pinot Noir Challenge held on November 10 last year, with 227 wines judged on a regional basis. The pattern of prior Challenges was followed, with 2020 the key vintage, flanked by 2019. Theoretically it included regions from South Australia and NSW, but drought and bushfires meant there was only an unrepresentative sprinkling of wines from these two states.
After entries were tasted, the focus tightened on the best three wines from each region, the best winning its regional trophy. They were: 2020 Ossa (Tasmania, $120), 2020 Paringa Estate Robinson Vineyard (Mornington Peninsula, $80), 2020 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard (Yarra Valley, $65), 2019 Bromley (Geelong, $39) and 2020 Lonely Shore (Manjimup, $37). Tasmania dominated the challenge, sharing top billing with Mornington Peninsula (each with 64 wines entered), and winning eight gold medals. The Best Wine Trophy was awarded to Ossa. It’s not Romanée-Conti, but it’s frighteningly good.
2020 Ossa Wines Pinot Noir
Stunning crimson-magenta colour sets the scene for a perfumed wine of exceptional quality, its ever-changing aromas and flavours encapsulated in an insistent heartbeat of purity. The mouthfeel, length and balance of the red and black cherry fruit underpins a wine that is great now, spicy complexity around the corner. 13.5% alc, screwcap 98 points, drink to 2035, $120