Longrow Red 11yo “Pinot Noir” (53.1%, OB, 8 years Bourbon & 3 years Refill Pinot Noir Casks, 9.000 bottles, 2019, 19/003)

I have to admit that the first few releases of Longrow Red weren’t my favourite Longrows on the market. I’ve tasted quite a few by now and from the first few releases, starting in 2012, I believe I liked the 2014 Port version best. However, even that one didn’t really impress me that much back then, since I didn’t go out of my way to buy it. Even today I still proceed with caution when a Whisky, in general, has had a Wine treatment, especially when the cask previously contained Red Wine. Fast forward several years later. On one occasion someone, probably Nico, shoved the 2020 edition of Red under my nose (The Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon), and that one did impress me a bit, so I got half a bottle in a bottle share, but more about that next time (spoiler alert). In the mean time, I visited Nico one day and saw an open bottle of his 2019 Pinot Noir edition, and with half a bottle of the 2020 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon edition already sitting at home, and thinking of Master Quill and a comparison between both, I asked for a sample of his 2019 edition and the rest, as they say, is history…

Color: Copper gold. No pink or red hue.

Nose: Soft peat. Initially hints of classic red fruit from good Oloroso Cask matured Whiskies from yesteryear. Aroma’s working well together with the soft peat. Please bear in mind, no Sherry casks were used for this edition, so this can only come from the Pinot Noir casks. Appetizing stuff. A very hidden, tucked away, organic and deep sweaty and Winey note. Mild wine gums, soft wood bordering on cardboard and water based paint. Peated mocha with some smoke. Give it some more air, and the fruity and the (sometimes acidic) winey notes exert themselves some more, retaining throughout, the soft peat and the little bit of smoke. Salty toffee. Fresh, fruity, with an almost summery feel. Citrus notes (lemon) and floral hints, but also some milk chocolate and caramel. It smells sweet, acidic and salty, all at the same time. The peat gets softer and softer, as if it is a much older distillate. Receding peat leaves some more room for the smoke and a new flinty note emerges, as well as, some pencil shavings. Bad breath and soft moist wood. The Winey note gains some plastic along the way. Nevertheless, having smelled other Longrow Reds, the aroma profile comes as no surprise, although this is a particularly good one. This is what you get from peated Malts combined with different Red Wine casks. For instance, Gordon & MacPhail’s Ledaig Hermitage moves in the same direction. More about one of those later (another spoiler alert). For now, this Pinot Noir edition smells quite sophisticated and well balanced. Much better than earlier Red’s including the first outing of Pinot Noir in 2015.

Taste: A sweet and fruity entry. Sugary sweet mixed with the fresh notes of lemon juice. Soft and chewable peat. Slightly bitter wood. Almonds, full on toffee, caramel and only slightly fruity. On the sweet and fatty body, the winey acidity is there, but slides off quite quickly, noticeable yet not overpowering. Nice soft lingering peat and some prickly smoke. Amazing balance right from the start and again amazingly likeable. Next, some more fresh wood, which at times is quite spicy. The red fruity bit comes to the fore. Hints of fresh almonds. Very appetizing. I’m sure the Red series was a learning experience for the people at Springbank, but they are really getting the hang of it. The Red’s seem to get better and better as time progresses.

Wow, this is much better than the Red’s I know to date, especially the nose, which is this Malts strong point. I was wrong, because I’m human and not a bot, to have lost focus on this series after the first few expressions. Should have sticked with it. I’m reviewing this one from a sample, Nico kindly provided. He says this expression was at its best right from the start, so this does suffer a little bit from oxidation. So don’t take too long finishing this bottle. I haven’t tasted them all yet, but this might very well be the best of the Red’s.

Points: 89

Domaine Dupont-Fahn Auxey-Duresses 2011 Cuvée Rosée Bourgogne

Michel Dupont-Fahn is a wine producer from Burgundy. He makes modern wines like ​​Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and some other wines. Michel makes modern wines that are meant to drink young.

As rumour has it, some ten years ago, Michel used part of the Pinot Noir harvest to make this Rosé Wine. Dad was not happy! Obviously red Burgundy Wine fetches more money than a Rosé would.

The grapes are harvested manually and quite late, pressed lightly and fermented in oak barrels that previously held, for ten months, Michel’s Meursault.

Color: Pink salmon, grapefruit.

Nose: Fresh, half acidic, citrus fruits, but also a brooding darker meaty element, that funnily enough, makes the whole very elegant. This smells the business! Perfect fruit-perfume nose (strawberries and blood oranges) and some most. There is actually a lot happening here. Fantastic balance.

Taste: Slightly more acidic at first sip, but that quickly is counteracted by some sweetness (not a lot) and a hint of wood. Taste wise it’s more in the vicinity of a red wine (Pinot Noir) than other Rosé wines. It still keeps its refreshing traits (without the tannins). No off notes whatsoever. The sweetness of the Wine that emerges near the finish is of a deep maple syrup nature, very classy! Great as an aperitif, with fish and salads. This goes down nicely, bring on the sun, I say!

I have to admit, I never was a big fan of Rosé wines, probably that so much of these wines are tampered with, or just not good enough. It’s treated as a sort of B-product after red’s and whites. This one however ticks all of my boxes. Maybe from the tasting notes it is not quite clear why I like this one so much, but I find this a real find! At this time by far my favorite Rosé. I know it’s a bit more expensive than the usual suspects, but in my opinion well worth the money. Recommended! By the way, the ABV on this one is 13%.

Points: 86

Thanks to Richard for the Wine!