Wackus Bacchus was not keen on doing yet another Pink Fizz Valentine’s Day feature, despite noting that it can be a potential marriage made in heaven and that thousands of couples out there will be celebrating with Cartland-hued bubbles.
Nothing wrong with it at all but let’s try something different…
“How about Pinot Noir?” suggested our Editor
Turns out to be spot on.
Never has a grape in the history of oenology been better described as seductive, silky, voluptuous or velvety. Throw in a few swoons and you’re well on the way to a fine vinous romance.
Swooning is said to occur when someone tastes their first truly great Pinot, perhaps a Fine Cru from Burgundy, its spiritual home. Enraptured by an ethereal, elusive perfume and then seduced by its voluptuous, smooth texture.
Pinot is particularly picky, about where it will grow. It favours a climate that indulges it a long slow ripening period to enable it to develop complexity, Burgundy, New Zealand, Germany and Chile, but not confined. To winemakers the world over, the ultimate challenge.
What’s not to love ? .. .we found out
Pinot Noir Madame Claude Parmentier 2016Pays D’Oc France Waitrose £7.99
Light ruby red, genuine Pinot aromas, berry fruit and a touch of rusticity follows through to palate in a good way. Combination of cherry fruit and earthiness on the finish. A really good starting point.
Domaine Mandeville Pinot Noir Pays D’Oc France 2016 M&S £9
Deeper ruby colour. Slightly more restrained, clean, fruity nose. Hints of cherry but opens up on the palate to a sweet fruit and velvety character. Well made, simple but authentic Pinot.
First Class Pinot Noir Bio Bio Valley Chile 2016 Majestic £7.99, £5.99 Mix Six
Tawny rim showing a little more development. Clean but slightly quirky umami character on the nose, well rounded attack and smooth fruit finishes nicely with bitter cherry on the tail.
Pinot Noir Le Village Domaine de La Metairie d’Alon Limoux 2015 France Majestic £15.99, £13.99 Mix Six
Deeper, developed ruby, discretely seductive nose. Chocolate cherry. Lovely rich attack, gorgeous textural complexity on the palate. Rich concentrated flavours and long sweet, very light coconut finish. Lovely.
Stepp Pinot Noir ‘S’ Pfalz Germany 2016 M&S £15
Deeper, ruby red. Wonderful purity and typicity on the nose. Cherry and undergrowth combine in a silky combination of this devilish grape at its very best. The flavours are very intense but it’s so restrained it’s not even trying. Effortless. (If only!)
The Edge Escarpment Pinot Noir Martinborough NZ 2016 Waitrose £14.99
Deep ruby. Pinot aromas fair burst out of this NZ red. Berry fruit and clean forrest floor shows hallmark varietal character. Lovely weight and flavour, with matching silkiness across the palate show why this is New Zealand’s best red grape.
‘You get what you pay for’ is especially in this case. The last three wines show that it’s worth investing a bit more to see true quality emerge.