The Great Pinot Noir Region of...Moravia?
Pinot noir is a fickle grape. Anyone who is familiar with it, knows pinot noir is one of the most versatile grapes and will present itself quite differently depending on the terrior, winemaking, or various other factors. It is one of those grapes that no matter how familiar you are with it, no matter how well you think you know the grape, there will always be a pinot noir wine out there that can completely surprise you.
Speaking of surprising. As I feel I need to constantly be learning about this grape and its many personalities, we recently attended a blind tasting of pinot noirs. And if you happen to live in southern NH and have not been to WineNot Boutique - shame on you. Svetlana and her staff are extremely knowledgeable and the selection can’t be beat in the area. Stop reading this and go now.
At this blind tasting, we sit and chat with the neighbors as we start to peruse the list of wines we’d be tasting that night. I expected the usual regional suspects - Burgundy, Oregon, California, etc. But I stopped in mid-sentence when I read a selection on the first flight…
Komtur Ekko Templar Pinot Noir 2013, Moravia, Czech Republic.
Yes! OMG!! I was trying really hard not to squeal with delight among these very nice, polite people who just wanted to learn more about pinot noir from such a wine expert like Svetlana. But - “SHE HAS A MORAVIAN PINOT ON HERE!” was screaming in my head. I just couldn’t contain my excitement.
I’m sure that sounds like I went a bit overboard - just a little too excited for something so simple. But while Moravia is becoming more and more discovered and popular, it still is for the most part a huge unknown to people. And I want everyone to know about it - and hopefully love it as much as I do. So seeing it on a tasting list - well, it was like Moravian wine made it to the big game.
Then came a quick realization. Could we tell which in the flight was the Moravian Pinot? I went from excitement to anxious in a hot second when I realized I was kind of getting put to the test. Without anyone knowing of course - but stressful nonetheless.
Luckily, the Templar was indicative of the terroir of Moravia, a great example of Moravian Pinot Noir. Moravia is cool climate and has a terrior that shows beautifully through its wines. The wine was a lively shade of ruby with a bit of garnet, with fresh aromas of red fruits like cranberries and currant. While the aromas started to bring me back to our trips in Moravia, the taste quickly brought me right into the vineyards. The light bodied wine brought bright cherry flavors with earthy notes and a wonderful acidity that provided a perfect balance. Ahhhh….it was like coming home again.
Once I brought myself out of my happy place, I looked around and took in how others were reacting to the wine. And that made me smile. As a blind tasting, no one was sure which of the three in the flight we were poured. But as people inhaled, sipped, and savored the wine, faces lit up with intrigue and delight. Mutterings of “Mmmm this is quite good,” or “Wow I quite like this” were heard all over the room. Music to my ears!
Luckily, the Moravian wine was the first poured, so I quickly was able to concentrate on the rest of the flights and did what I came to do - learn more about Pinot Noirs of the world. The selections were creatively distinct and flights were matched in a way to help us identify terriors or styles. Best of all, as people were leaving and purchasing bottles from the flights, I noticed quite a few picking up the Templar Pinot Noir over the Burgundy or Oregon bottles we tasted. It is great that people are open to new experiences and seeing pinot noir in a different light!