Le Cafe Jazz in Jazz Town

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Wines Talk 101   Pinot Noir

 

There are few grapes that are as complex and fascinating as Pinot Noir. I’ve often heard it said that there are very few winemakers out there who don’t consider it the Holy Grail of winemaking – making good Pinot Noir is a challenge. Unlike Chardonnay, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir doesn’t seem to accept mediocrity well. It is a grape that is very demanding – some even call it the “Heartbreak Grape.”

What makes Pinot Noir so finicky? Well, for starters, it is a bit of a temperature sensitive grape. It prefers cooler climates and it tends to like limestone soils – two reasons why it does so well in Burgundy. It is also a thin skinned grape which can make it susceptible to some of the diseases and viruses that can affect grapevines. The thinner skin of Pinot Noir is part of why the color of many wines made with Pinot Noir are lighter than wines made with grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. The paler color isn’t a sign of inferior quality – it more has to do with the fact that there is less pigment to be extracted from Pinot Noir grapes.

Pinot Noir has a pretty interesting history. It is an extremely old grape – one that we think dates back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. There are some indications that it was grown in Burgundy by the 4th century AD and we do have 14th century records from Burgundy that mention a vine called Pinot. Due to its advanced age, Pinot Noir is prone to mutating – since it has been around for so long, vines of Pinot Noir with variations have developed. That’s how we have gotten Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier to name a few. Pinot Noir is also (and we know this through DNA analysis of Pinot) one of the parents of Chardonnay.

So what are the characteristics of Pinot? The color can range from a very pale to moderately intense cherry red and it tends to become garnet in color as it ages. Notes you might find on the nose range from herbal and spicy aromas to fruity aromas of strawberries, red cherries, and black cherries. You can also find hints of violets, black pepper, beets, prunes and plums. Pinot Noir can sometimes have a nose that can smell earthy, gamey, mushroomy or even like a barnyard. I tend to find that Pinot Noir grown in climates that are too warm makes for wines that smell like tomato plants (have you ever smelled your hands after handling a tomato plant? It is a very specific smell that is hard to describe). It is almost an under-ripe and over-ripe aroma that makes me think that the heat didn’t give the grapes the time they needed to ripen (Pinot likes a long growing season).

On the palate, Pinot Noir tends to be described using very sensual language. The body can range from light to full and the tannins are frequently described as being fairly firm, but silky and velvety textured. Acidity is usually fairly high with moderate to moderately high alcohol levels and Pinot Noir is usually very ageworthy. Besides being the main grape of Burgundy (just about all red Burgundy is made from Pinot Noir), you will find Pinot grown in Champagne, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Germany, Oregon, California, New York, Italy, New Zealand, Australia and Canada to name just a few.

If you are looking to sample a few Pinot Noirs, there are several on my top picks to choose from including: Burgundy Hills Pinot Noir, Chamarré Grande Réserve Pinot Noir, Domaine Faiveley Bourgogne Rouge, Fat Bastard Pinot Noir Vin de Pays d’Oc and Maison Joseph Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir. To taste it in sparkling form, look for Lucien Albrecht’s Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé, Moet & Chandon’s White Star and Taittinger’s Brut La Française.

From the blog of Sheri Sauter Morano, Master of Wine

Sheri Sauter Morano, Master of Wine

My interest in wine was initially sparked during a trip to Italy when I was 17 years old. Then I began my formal wine education at the International Wine Center in 1997 following graduation from Duke University.

At the IWC, where I was later an instructor, I completed courses designed by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust to educate members of the wine trade. I was awarded the Intermediate Certificate in 1998 and the Advanced Certificate in 1999. In October 2000, I became one of the youngest Americans to complete the rigorous Diploma and the following year passed the Certified Wine Educator exam designed by the Society of Wine Educators to promote higher standards among wine educators in the United States.

In November 2003, I earned the title Master of Wine. Originally created by the wine trade in the United Kingdom, the title Master of Wine as designated by the Institute of Masters of Wine is generally recognized as the highest credential that can be obtained in the wine trade. I joined the Institute as the youngest of 20 Americans at the time (of whom I was the second female) and then 239 Masters of Wine worldwide. Currently, there are only 24 American Masters of Wine and 265 in the world.

In addition to my role as a wine educator, I also work as a consultant with Strategic Insights, a full-service marketing research firm.

Written by: Sheri Sauter Morano

Sheri Sauter Morano, Wine Master

 My interest in wine was initially sparked during a trip to Italy when I was 17 years old. Then I began my formal wine education at the International Wine Center in 1997 following graduation from Duke University.

At the IWC, where I was later an instructor, I completed courses designed by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust to educate members of the wine trade. I was awarded the Intermediate Certificate in 1998 and the Advanced Certificate in 1999. In October 2000, I became one of the youngest Americans to complete the rigorous Diploma and the following year passed the Certified Wine Educator exam designed by the Society of Wine Educators to promote higher standards among wine educators in the United States.

In November 2003, I earned the title Master of Wine. Originally created by the wine trade in the United Kingdom, the title Master of Wine as designated by the Institute of Masters of Wine is generally recognized as the highest credential that can be obtained in the wine trade. I joined the Institute as the youngest of 20 Americans at the time (of whom I was the second female) and then 239 Masters of Wine worldwide. Currently, there are only 24 American Masters of Wine and 265 in the world.

In addition to my role as a wine educator, I also work as a consultant with Strategic Insights, a full-service marketing research firm.

The Cast of Players:

By Popular Demand...

Dion True Blue Returns to Le Cafe Jazz

 

National Jazz Appreciation Month 2017

DTA

____________________________________________

The amazing

Kit Lyles, Bassist, returns for NJAM

Come join us for 30 days of live jazz music !

__________________________________

Le Cafe Jazz

Roatating House Band Includes:

Skipp Pearson on Sax

Chris Andrews on Sax

Sidney Mitchell on Sax

Dave Brown on Piano

Jonathan Lovett, Piano

Shannon Pinkney on Piano

Terry Harper on Piano

Dustin Retzlaff  on Bass

Brian Parmeter on Bass

Leland Rayner on Bass

Travis Shaw on Bass

Sam Edwards on Bass

Zee Slaughter on Sax and Bass

Amos Hoffmann on Guitar

Jeff Patterson on Guitar

Daniel Harper on Trumpet

Mark Rapp on Trumpet

Guest Artists:

Pete Neighbour on Clarinet

Skipp Pearson Jazz Foundation's New York Tour

Lincoln Center  in 2009

Note: The music on this page is from

The Skipp Pearson Jazz Foundation's

Seeing Eye Productions Music Vault

CD is entitled:

Vintage Years with Skipp Pearson and Friends, Part II

Coined the "Benny Goodman of the South"

Pete Neighbour plays the Clarinet solo

Please visit the main website: skpfoundation.org to purchase

your copy of this CD

Fred Wesley (Master of the Trombone) joins the

house band whenever he is in Jazz Town.

NATIONAL JAZZ APPRECIATE MONTH...APRIL 2017 is Coming!

Programming t be announced!

For additional information please call  (803) 400-1879.