10 Top-Scoring Old World Pinot Noirs

Bunches of Pinot Noir Grapes in the Champagne region, Trepail, France.
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Pinot Noir has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. And while it’s grown around the world, France is this grape’s spiritual home.

Depending on where the wine comes from, Pinot Noir can exhibit a range of aromas, textures and flavors and are commonly light to medium bodied with red berry and earthy characteristics.

The Wine Enthusiast tasting panel is fortunate enough to taste hundreds of Pinot Noirs from all over the globe. But we wanted to focus on our top-rated bottles from France, Germany, Italy and Austria from recent tastings.

Some options might require a bit of time in the cellar to show their best, while others are ready to be enjoyed now. Either way, these are some of the top Pinot Noirs to seek out now.

Old Vines That Still Make Great Wine

Louis Jadot 2016 Chapelle-Chambertin; $295, 97 points. This wine comes from the northernmost of the Grand Crus in Gevrey-Chambertin. Immense red fruits are as immense as the tannins, both laced with intense, juicy acidity. The wine’s richness will be enhanced as it ages. Drink from 2027. Kobrand. —Roger Voss

Domaine Chandon de Briailles 2016 Corton-Bressandes; $150, 95 points. This wine currently is all about structure. It has power and weight as well as ripe jammy red fruits. The tannins and opulent fruit speaking to the wine’s enormous potential. Drink from 2026. David Bowler Wine. Cellar Selection. —R.V.

Domaine Faiveley 2016 Clos des Cortons Monopole (Corton); $300, 95 points. From one of the many divisions of the Corton Grand Crus, this wine is richly endowed with tannins and densely textured fruit. Packed with ripeness and with a sophisticated structure and texture, this is a wine for aging. Don’t even think about drinking it before 2024. Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. —R.V.

Hugel 2012 Grossi Laüe Pinot Noir (Alsace); $65, 94 points. The faintest touch of smoke and the slightest lick of vanilla mingle with strawberry compote on the nose. The palate is a little smoky, too, but reveals crisp, fresh red fruit. At six years of age this wine is now hitting its stride, still with a little crunch of tannins and enviable freshness. It is ripe but elegant. The finish suggests autumnal leaves and real Pinot earthiness. Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. —Anne Krebiehl, MW

Anton Bauer 2016 Pinot Noir (Wagram); $25, 93 points. This Pinot Noir’s aroma recalls very fine, pure redcurrant fruit and distant woodsmoke. The slender palate allows the gentle smokiness to envelope the tart, fresh fruit, making it mellow and supple. It’s resonant, fresh and elegant, with a fine grip and subtle power. Lovely. KWSelection.com. —A.K.

Albert Bichot 2016 Clos Rousseau Premier Cru (Santenay); $58, 93 points. While this wine is still very young with its dark tannins, it also has fine potential. Ripe red-berry flavors are right up front, giving a juicy character as well as plenty of acidity. The wine has weight and concentration, and is likely to be ready from 2022. Albert Bichot USA. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.

Franz Keller 2016 Vom Löss Pinot Noir (Baden); $25, 93 points. The nose of this wine is beautifully perfumed, suggesting whiffs of cherry blossom, graphite, plum and smoke. Black cherry and berry flavors seem delicate initially, but amass concentration and complexity with aeration, building layers of savory earth and tannin. A full-bodied, rich and expansive wine, it should improve well through 2030.  Schmitt-Söhne USA. Editors’ Choice.Anna Lee C. Iijima

Alphonse Mellot 2014 La Moussière Pinot Noir (Sancerre); $55, 92 points. This wine comes from the core estate in the Mellot vineyard. Rich black-cherry flavors are enhanced by the layers of wood and tannins. An intense wine, it shows the finest potential of Pinot Noir in Sancerre. Drink from 2019. Elite Wines Import. —R.V.

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi 2015 Pinot Nero (Pomino); $35, 92 points. Made with 100% Pinot Nero, this smooth, seductive red delivers juicy raspberry, strawberry compote, white pepper, star anise and cinnamon flavors. It’s fresh and elegant, with supple tannins that leave a silky mouthfeel. Drink through 2022. Shaw-Ross International Importers. —Kerin O’Keefe

Domaine Vacheron 2016 Pinot Noir (Sancerre); $40, 91 points. The entry-level Pinot Noir from this red-wine specialist reveals ripe and juicy red-berry flavors and a core of tannins. The wine has structure, density and rich fruit all within a balanced structure. Drink from 2019. European Cellars. —R.V.

Published on May 29, 2019
Topics: Wine and Ratings


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