Fanagoria – Cru Lermont Pinot Noir 2015

Russia and wine are not two words oft spoken in the same breath. So while judging at the Decanter Awards in April, in a seriously mixed and exotic flight, my table found themselves presented with a Pinot Noir from the Krasnodar region. For the tastings, you judge in groups of four usually and of us, three were solidly Silver on the wine and one was more Bronze but the majority rules in these instances and so the wine was awarded Silver in the end with my actual score being 91.

How did we come to this conclusion? Once receiving my final scores in June (we taste blind so we have no idea what we’ve sampled) I saw that this wine was from a very, very large producer in Russia called, Fanagoria. The wine in question came from their “Cru Lermont” line named as such in tribute to poet, Mikhail Lermontov. Branding aside, the wine is quite good. I’d actually be interested in tasting the rest of their line to see if they live up to the same as these wines come from the Taman Peninsula which is right next to the “borrowed” Crimean Peninsula, a place that has shown itself to be an excellent region for grape cultivation.

Of course the question remains, why the hell did they have to do a Pinot Noir? There are less than 10 locations in the world in which Pinot Noir has been shown to excel and this was the point of the lone dissension in our table who was fairly pointing out that this is not a Burgundy-level wine. That much is a true, but it was so surprising to us given that it was the first in the flight, we all went back and tasted it and came to the same conclusion. The fact that a winery with 2,300ha of vineyards is producing a wine like this and priced very reasonably was definite cause for the medal, especially as past vintages found the wine to have a heavy green quality to it or otherwise be less than appealing. If this encourages them to produce more and better in this region then I say do it.

Cru Lermont Pinot Noir 2015
Peppery, red cherry, bright and cheery with a bit of herbal notes at the fringes. Crisp and lively in the mouth, fresh with excellent clean finish although with the alcohol peeks through a bit.

100% Pinot Noir 13% 12€
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