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A Big Pinot That’s Worth Finding

There’s Not Much of this Wine, But It’s Worth the Effort to Search Out

BY // 08.14.17

A dinner party a few days ago featured two bottles of New Zealand Pinot Noir, a 2014 “Block 3” and a 2015 “Block 5” from Felton Road. Wonderful wines, expressive beyond belief, taut, rich, and elegant. My only regret about drinking them is that I’ll never know how they would have aged — based on how they are drinking now, they would both make for a fine evening come 2020.

The dinner, and those wines, spurred me to open another Pinot Noir this week, one from California — the Anderson Valley to be exact — that has a lot going for it. It’s the 2014 FEL Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir from Lede Family Wines. It’s fruit-forward, and began in the Ferrington Vineyard, a 70-acre south-facing expanse named after the dermatologist who first planted it, in the 1970s.

The 2014 harvest was an early one in the Anderson Valley — bud break took place in March, a few weeks earlier than usual — and the summer was a warm one. The vines matured quickly, and come harvest time, the heat cooperated by remaining steady: There were no heat spikes, and the grapes benefitted from the stability. (The clones here are Wädenswil and Dijon 115 and 777.)

I said this Pinot Noir is fruit-forward, and it certainly is. On the nose, you have bright raspberry and cherry, backed by a slight spiciness. On the palate, this wine gives cola and tea. It’s a big Pinot, and should appeal to those stuck on the Cabernet Sauvignon train. Though it would benefit from a few more years in the bottle, we found it paired nicely with lamb chops. Duck breast and hamburgers are other food options for this wine. As we dined, the FEL’s finish balanced the deepness of the meat in a satisfying manner.

Alcohol here is 14.3 percent, and 241 cases were produced, so there’s not a lot of it around, but if you want some, expect to pay around $65. Tip: Buy two, drink one now, and open the second one in 2021.

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