Why do we love pinot noir? It can be seductively juicy with cherry fruit flavours, soft tannins and smooth, lush textures – but so often cheap pinot noir can be mean, thin and disappointing. Here are ten great pinots under £12 from around the world.
Estevez Reserva Pinot Noir 2014 - VALUE BUY
I’m not sure how Aldi have managed it but they have a couple of very decent pinots at this price (the other is French). Expect robust, hefty, cherry fruits and a sweet, jammy palate. This hails from Chile’s Central Valley and proves what astounding value Chile can offer.
Casa Silva Cool Coast Pinot Noir 2012 - STAR BUY
This has liquorice and pomegranate with a hint of spice on the bouquet, plus a lovely smooth, ripe fruit palate with an elegance and refreshing acidity rarely found in Chilean pinots. Matured for a year in two year French oak, this is the face of modern Chilean pinot noir – attractive label and weighty bottle – an all-round winner.
£10.95, WoodWinters, Edinburgh/Bridge of Allan; Michael Jobling Wines, Newcastle; Averys
Concha Y Toro Marelo Limari Pinot Noir 2014
Another popular wine with tasters who usually prefer restrained Old World pinot noir styles, this had more mineral, and less overt ripeness than other Chileans.
£7.95, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com
Hang Ten Pinot Noir 2014
This affordable Californian pinot is made by the Kautz family in Lodi’s Sierra Hills, but it is – curiously – bottled in the UK. Plenty of ripe raspberry and cherry aromas, and a succulent, smoky palate with a hint of vanilla spice. Bring out the sticky ribs.
Ca Di Alte Pinot Nero 2013
A refreshing change from the raft of sweet, jammy pinot noirs in our tasting, this Italian example from Colli Berici near Vicenza (hence the Palladian label) really surprised our tasters – it has a lovely richness, plenty of deep cherry fruit flavours and a bit of structure on the finish.
£9.99, Valvona & Crolla, Edinburgh; Harrisons Fine Wines, Crieff; Kirkness & Gorie, Orkney; Fine Wine Co, Musselburgh
Soli Pinot Noir 2012 Edoardo Miroglio - STAR BUY
This is a very pretty elegant pinot from Edoardo Miroglio with light morello cherry fruits, a dash of liquorice and coffee, and a hint of French oak – serve this to your wine-loving friends and see if they can guess its origin.
£9.95, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com
Taste The Difference German Rheinhessen Pinot Noir 2014
I was thrilled to see Sainsbury’s listing their first German red at an affordable price. It’s light in colour, but has a gentle ripe, raspberry flavoured palate with a soft and silky texture. M&S also do a light-styled pinot noir from Pfalz region (Palataia pinot noir, £8).
Most Wanted Pinot Noir 2014
Many Kiwi pinots under £12 tend to have a sweet jamminess. This is a little drier and a touch more elegant. It has lots of lush, cherry fruits, with vanilla oak notes from its short ageing, but is more restrained – a good match for duck.
£10, Sainsbury’s; www.Tesco.com
Puy De Dome Pinot Noir 2012 Cave de Saint Verny
This robust £8 pinot noir comes from the heart of the Auvergne. There are rich morello cherry fruits, and quite earthy, prominent, acidity – it reminded me of a good Beaujolais Cru.
£7.99, Majestic Wine
Frunza Pinot Noir 2013
This would suit those who like a light style of pinot noir.
It is not as complex as Burgundy, but it is a bargain at £7. Made by top Romanian winery Cramele Recas, this is a very pretty, soft textured, juicy, simple pinot noir ideal for quaffing on its own or with a light salmon dish.
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