I’m a Pinot fan. In particular, I’m a fan of Burgundian Pinot Noir. Yet, I love Pinot Noir from all over the globe. And, I do like all the Pinot family. In fact, I enjoyed a remarkable glass of Pinot Blanc from Meyer-Fonné just the other night. I’ve encountered some mind-bendingly good Gris along the wine route. But, of all the Pinot clan, it’s Noir I seek out most often.

Given my affection for Pinot Noir, and Burgundy, and given the fact I’ve spent an incredible number of hours evaluating the quality of wines in order to pass the Master of Wine exam, I take quality references very seriously. However, within quality designations, there’s wiggle room. Last night provided a perfect example. I was drinking a Grand Cru red Burgundy from one of the Côte d’Or’s tiniest Grand Cru parcels. The wine was young and pleasing and balanced and layered. But, as I agreed with my dining companion, a well-established wine industry player, we would have classified it as a “good Premier Cru” rather than a Grand Cru. This is why producer trumps all, regardless the plot, regardless the vintage.

This quality determination has nothing to do with personal preference. I am often asked if I can really evaluate wines from all over the world. The answer is yes, as it has absolutely nothing to do with my personal preference. Wine quality is inherent. As Master of Wine Candidates are told over and over: leave your opinion at the front door.

With this as an introduction, I look forward to sharing with you my findings in Pinot…usually Noir.