Today’s post contains something of a paradox.
On one hand, I am urging you to spend a little more on the pinot grigio grape while, in the same post, showing you how to spend less on cabernet sauvignon.
But, let’s investigate more fully.
Pinot grigio frequently gets a bad press these days.
Lightness, blandness, scarce acidity or commercialisation are often cited as reasons for the lack of love it has to endure.
However, that broad brush is grossly unfair to producers of top-level pinot grigio, as well as to numerous examples of the variety’s alter ego labelled as “pinot gris”.
Same grape but totally different style, as today’s recommendation reflects – and the downside of a slightly higher price.
Speaking of price, cabernet sauvignon is often recognised as dear wine.
Heavy demand, high land values in its prime sites (Bordeaux and Napa for instance) plus lengthy (and, hence, costly) aging processes all push up bottle prices.
However, skilled winemaking in less expensive locations can sometimes allow tasty yet inexpensive versions to surface, and today’s Friday Treat is one such example.
I hope you enjoy both wines.
In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
Cabernet Sauvignon from further south than usual.
2020 Ordinal Cabernet Sauvignon (£8.95 at Aitken of Dundee)
- From Cȏte de Thau in Eastern Languedoc.
- Less savoury than many cabernets.
- Intense plum and bramble flavours
- Good acidity but with typical cabernet firm tannin.
- Suggestions of baking spice, chocolate and thyme.
Cabernet sauvignon (rather than Languedoc’s more usual varieties) is the chosen grape for this option – and it pays off handsomely.
It is from France’s Cȏte de Thau region – just west of Montpellier in eastern Languedoc.
Dark, but without the savoury hints cabernet often displays, its intense bramble and red plum flavours are, consequently, nicely elevated.
These are supported by firm tannin and good acidity along with suggestions of baking spice, chocolate and thyme.
Lucky chance – just as I recommend it, the price drops.
2020 Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris Reserve (£8.99 – instead of £10.99 until 7 March – at Waitrose):
- Pinot gris from Alsace differs from most pinot grigios.
- It’s the same grape, but a very different style.
- This is gently perfumed with a trace of honey.
- Rich pear, orange and melon are its primary flavours.
- Lime and grapefruit acidity adds zing and freshness.
As almost a mirror image of many pinot grigios from elsewhere, Alsace pinot grigio can be rich, complex and spicy – and even include mineral elements.
If you doubt me, try this excellent Waitrose version while it is on offer.
The even better news is that Alsace pinot gris often weighs in at cheaper prices than better known options from the region (riesling and gewurztraminer for instance).
Dense but with mildly perfumed aromas, it features rich pear, orange and ripe melon flavours.
All those elements are harmoniously combined with lime and grapefruit acidity and a trace of honey that adds appealing complexity.
Tune in again on Monday when value at budget price points is, once more, the theme of my latest Top Tips post.
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