Price-friendly Pinot

Pinot Noir is my desert island wine. I’d twist the top of a Pinot Noir from Monday to Sunday if my wife didn’t insist on a couple of wine-free days. The problem with Pinot Noir is price. Really good wines seem to start at around $35 with some spiralling out of control above that figure. My favourite wine of the moment carries a scary tag of $49.95 (it’s Craggy Range Calvert Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 (tastings) if you really must know). There is life below $35.

Vavasour Awatere Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2008 – $30

This wine has all the charm I seek in good Pinot Noir … and much more. It’s more elegant than blockbuster in style with the sort of flavours that gently seduce rather than force their attentions upon you. I wrote “floral, red cherry and mineral” which hardly does justice to the array of very subtle and very appealing characters in this delicious wine. I like the wine’s edgy acidity. It’s a versatile food wine that’s irresistibly drinkable at a price that won’t break the bank. – view on

Allan Scott Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2008 – $26

The difference between this wine and a good burgundy is that you’d pay more than twice the price for the French label. This elegant and, by New Zealand standards, relatively austere Pinot Noir reminds me of a young burgundy, and a good one at that. It has red cherry, plum and mixed spice flavours supported by classy oak (French, of course). Like the Vavasour Pinot Noir it’s not a blockbuster red and all the better for it. First Division Pinot Noir at a Second Division price. – view on

First published in KiaOra Magazine – Apr 2010.

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