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£7 Pinot Noir to Relish – but Only Until Mid-Month.

A tale of two relative newcomers today, both with great (but subtly different) stories to tell.

From at least the century before last, the landward end of France’s Loire Valley was the “go to” place for quality sauvignon blanc.

Then in the 1970’s, along came New Zealand.

They wondered whether sheep grazing land made redundant by the UK joining the (then) Common Market might support grapes.

The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

Now, fast forward to this century to see a significant change in another country.

Reconstructing the Romanian wine industry after the Soviet Union’s collapse precipitated a strategic change.

As well as the Bordeaux style wines Eastern Europe previously exported, pinot noir became a focus.

Growing conditions in Romania suggested that would be a good idea; so did that variety’s increasing prices elsewhere.

While that old “rest is …”  cliché doesn’t apply yet, sales and quality are pointing very much the right way.

So, try this pair of tasty examples from those countries.

In the usual way, pictures – and sometimes hyperlinks – are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.

First, then, that New Zealand example.

2022 Extra Special Marlbororough Sauvignon Blanc (£7 – instead of £8.75 until 4 October – at Asda and 12.5% abv): 

Fifty years ago Marlborough sauvignon blanc was unknown, but it emerged precisely when white wine drinkers were seeking something different.

Its wines’ boldness, intensity and consistent standard met their needs perfectly and, as this example confirms, still does.

Textured but with tropical fruit aromas, it delivers concentrated apple and peach flavours supported by sherbet and grapefruit acidity.

Those constituents mingle agreeably with touches of green pepper and lemongrass that, together, lead into a long finish.

NB:- Although stock seems to be reducing online, it should still be available in many physical stores.

Now, we switch to Eastern Europe.

2021 Zana Pinot Noir £7 instead of £8.25 until 17 October at Sainsbury’s and also 12.5%):

Another brilliant Romania pinot noir, and one that is a steal at its current, discounted, price.

That country is fast becoming the approachable and affordable option for pinot enthusiasts.

Reasons for this include their wine’s vibrancy, attractive fruit “taste-alikes” and – above all – terrific value,

Here, inviting fruit aromas lead into smooth cherry, loganberry and blood orange flavours accompanied by good acidity – but little tannin.

Suggestions of clove and chocolate complete the picture, as does a pleasing overall sense of ripeness.

See you again on Thursday when we consider how to react to surging wine prices.

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Dave Cronin

Hi Brian, I like the sound of the Zana Romanian Pinot, I remember when the Sorcova came out a few years ago, there were many, including me singing its praises, as you say Romania is the go-to country for cheap good quality Pinot.

Brian Elliott

Funny you mention Sorcova – it is scheduled to be a Top Tip later this month.

Eddie Walker

Hello Brian

Now here’s a thing. That price drop on the excellent Zana Pinot Noir just gets better if we are sharpish in to Sainsbury’s before the end of October 4th, this Wednesday.

Their 25% off buy 6 bottles still runs so there’s a double-dip to be had here, coming in at £5.25. I can hear the scamper of feet now, mine included, as your readership hot-foots it for some decent retail therapy. What great value for superior quality.

Like the elusive good-claret-for-under-a-tenner, even more, good, cheap, Burgundy is the other rare beast. OK, all pinot noir doesn’t taste like Burgundy, especially Chilean offerings for example, but I’ve always thought that the Romanians came a close second with what they serve up.

Amazing to think about Romania’s massive wine production, that so little of it makes its way here for us to enjoy! Anyway, I’m in Sainsbury’s early doors tomorrow. Great call Brian …Cheers for now ….

Brian Elliott

Good call Eddie and exploiting those bulk buy offers, when and where available, is mentioned in this Thursday’s post

Eddie Walker

Would have been Brian if they’d had any Zana Pinot Noir in stock!! Damn!!

Brian Elliott

That’s frustrating – hope they re-stock soon

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