Published On: Mon, Aug 28th, 2017

Spicy, herbal and vibrant: The best pinot noir wines | Food | Life & Style

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Pinot noir’s calling card is reds with elegance: wines with beauty and attractive aromatics, often lighter in colour but with a gorgeous delicacy. Pinot can have lots of flavour, but it’s delivered in a smooth, almost sensual way. It’s not an easy grape variety to grow, so for every great pinot noir there are a few ordinary ones. Here are seven well worth celebrating. 

From left: Neudorf Vineyards Tom’s Block Pinot Noir 2014, Nelson, New Zealand £25.95, bbr.com (0800 280 2440), 13.5% alcohol

New Zealand excels at pinot noir, and this one, which comes from the sunny region of Nelson at the top of South Island, offers juicy red cherry and plum fruits and has real elegance.

Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2015, Martinborough, New Zealand £14.99, Waitrose, 14% alcohol

This is a delightful example of a New Zealand pinot noir, and it comes from one of the true masters – winemaker Larry McKenna. A vivid, fresh and juicy red, it has flavours of cherry and plum fruits and a bit of meatiness. It is supple and wonderfully appealing. 

Meyer Pinot Noir 2015, Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada £20, Marks & Spencer, 13.5% alcohol

Canada is increasingly making impressive table wines, and this is one of them – a pinot noir from the beautiful Okanagan Valley. It is sweetly fruited with fresh red cherry fruit and some fine spice and herbs.

Tesco Finest Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2016, Australia £11, Tesco, 13.5% alcohol

This is delicious: it has a rounded, spicy, slightly savoury personality, with some juicy raspberry and cherry fruits. There’s a hint of cedar, too. It has a good balance of sweet and savoury. 

Kumeu River Village Pinot Noir 2014, Kumeu, New Zealand £9.95, thewinesociety.com (01438 741177), 13.5% alcohol

Pale cherry red in colour, this is a very fresh pinot with a leafy, sappy edge to the red cherry fruit and nicely integrated spicy, herbal notes. It’s the taste of fun with a vibrant red fruit character.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctor’s Creek Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand £21.99, Majestic, 13.5% alcohol

Floral red and black cherries are joined by a touch of raspberry jam and tarry spiciness in this stylish wine. It has a good concentration of fruits and a smooth texture.

Mr Noir Pinot Noir 2016, South Australia £11.99, virginwines.co.uk (0343 224 1001), 14% alcohol

This is a fresh and supple pinot with a sappy edge to the sweet cherry and raspberry fruits. It’s ripe and generous but also has some complexity. 

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