2019 Principia Altior Pinot Noir
Principia was founded in 1995 by Darrin Gaffy. A passionate, intelligent, quirky winemaker and vigneron, Gaffy allows terroir to shine through his wines through hand-picking of the vineyard, wild yeast fermentation and vinification without the aid of any pumps or machinery. Gaffy also believes in a long time on skins to give the wine structure and a savoury feel. The Altior (meaning even higher in Latin) was matured in French oak for 18 months, all Burgundian coopers of which approximately 66% was new oak. Gaffy regards the 2019 Altior to be his finest yet and we wouldn’t disagree.
Deep dark red core with black tinged edges and a bright light red hue. Showing a perfumed like intensity, alluring scents of violets, ripe dark cherries, strawberries and anise intoxicate the olfactory senses with notions of forest floor, fresh herbs and spice adding complexity. Light to medium bodied with a very supple feel, rich seductive red to dark cherry and strawberry fruits flood the mouth with a magnificent power wave of flavour. Ensuing are anise, smoky cedar, forest floor, dried herb and spice elements. Silky smooth tannins, concluding with a beautifully balanced freshness and a long moreish aftertaste.
Drink over the next 5-6 years.
With Principia, not least Altior, it’s fair to say this winery likes a bit of Latin. Could we get much higher? So high.
Dark cherry, raspberry, cinnamon sticks and liquorice root, a little vanilla and a dusting of pepper. Ripe cherry, orange peel, plush fruit flavour with a spicy amaro twist, the tannin is fine and swept with emery and pumice stone, fresh and savoury, dried mint and roses, silky and opulent, exotic and still ‘minerally’ despite the broad brush strokes of flavour. Long too. Finishes with some sweet damp earthiness, orange peel and gentle grip. Yes. Drink 2022-2030.
Gary Walsh – The Wine Front