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Lightness or Fruitiness? – Today’s Tips have Something for You

Today’s recommendations open by looking at an increasing trend before going on to introduce something from that rare breed, “affordable pinot noir”.

First is the selected white with only 9% abv – lower levels of alcohol have increasing appeal to many folk; and not just for health reasons.

Such wines are often more suitable for informal drinking, pair better with lighter food dishes and are generally less dense and complex than their higher alcohol peers.

Its companion is a South African red recommended by a MidWeek Wines subscriber as great value pinot noir – and he was right!

Kindly priced pinot is something of a rarity, so close attention to that part of this post is certainly advisable.

However, whether lightness or value appeals to you most, I think you will find today’s choices fit the bill nicely.

Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.

For sunny Sunday afternoons

Por do Sol Vinho Verde (£5.25 at Tesco and 9% abv):

A gentle, lower alcohol, great value Portuguese white here, and one that is neither complex nor demanding.

However, it does include Vinho Verde’s classic prickle of sparkling aeration that neatly enhances its credentials as ideal summer drinking.

Also featured are lightly textured apple and lime flavours accompanied by floral traces.

These are enlivened and embellished by a grapefruit acidity that refreshes yet never intrudes.

And that affordable pinot noir

2021 Pringle Bay Pinot Noir (from £7.99 at Majestic and 13%):

I am indebted to MidWeeker Paul for his steer towards this tasty pinot noir.

As he suggested in his comment to an earlier post, it represents excellent value for money.

Western Cape’s warmth and geology means that its pinot noirs lean more towards ripe fruit flavours than, say, Burgundy’s classic truffle influenced savouriness.

However, the delicacy of the fruit constituents in wines like this one adequately compensates for the absence of some of those contrasting savoury components.

As an added bonus, South African examples are (as here) often significantly cheaper than their Burgundian counterparts.  

This version’s initial soft fruit aromas lead into floral red plum, raspberry and red currant flavours on the taste buds. 

Those elements – along with hints of orange peel, rose hip and cola – are attractively encased in a light bodied texture with soft tannins and sharp acidity.

News Flash: Great tidings – Majestic are reducing this wine by £1 to £6.99 for a limited period from tomorrow. That is the single bottle price in Scotland but the “mixed six” price elsewhere in the UK.

Join me again on Thursday when I consider three malbecs from the same brand but at different price points.

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tom lewis

Both wines look great value Brian – if you like the lighter, fresher VV, this Co-op Riesling is in the same style:

Brian Elliott

Agree Tom about the riesling and have indeed recommended that one in the past. The new vintage Tesco Mosel Steep Slopes Riesling (£7) has just arrived and that is another great example of the way riesling can so enjoyably combine delicacy and flavour.

Barry Hulme

The Pinot Noir sounds good I have been trying a few recently and found a Viajero Pinot Noir Reserva Privada from Lidl which had cherry, strawberry with a little spice with good acidity and minimal tannins very acceptable.
Also thanks for recent recommendation for the Guia Real Tempranillo from M&S, I will definitely be trying a few more younger Rioja’s.

Brian Elliott

Thanks Barry always good to hear from you. Not tasted that Lidl pinot noir but will try to acquire some. Glad you seem to have enjoyed that youthful Rioja since it is at a price point where M&S are not especially strong. Sadly, young Rioja often fails to get the appreciation I think it deserves.

Julian Cowburn

Thanks again Brian for some as always useful recommendations. I’m a big fan of Portuguese wines in general, but also lighter alcohol wines, so that Vinho Verde is right up my alley. In fact, we’re caravanning In Portugal right now, from where I’m sending this note. Porto in a few days, and thereafter the VV region. We will certainly be stocking up at EU prices. Also nice to see an SA wine make your list.

Brian Elliott

Glad to hear that the Portuguese white seems to tick boxes for you, Julian, and trust you will source some similarly tasty versions while you are in Portugal. Porto is a great city (and not just for its fortified wines) and I hope you encounter some great alvarinho while in Vinho Verde. Many feel it has more texture and depth than some versions from the other side of the border.

Eddie Walker

As we wait for a likely May bank holiday 25% deal coming our way eventually from the Big 4 , nearer the time, Tesco do have a limited 25% offer on buy 3 bottles from their Finest range. Today’s Vinho Verde unfortunately doesnt feature but it’s not a lot of money anyway at £5.50 and could be as low as £4.20 as and when it comes within the scope of the next buy-6 deal! I really enjoy the bit if spritz attaching to those northetn Portuguese whites.

Brian Elliott

Thanks for the update, Eddie., on the limited Tesco promotion (presumably for Clubcard holders).
Yes, the Vinho Verde folk have worked hard re-inventing themselves, giving greater emphasis to the freshness that the local grape varieties offer yet – pleasingly – have preserved that little prickle that adds even more vitality to the wine.

Eddie Walker

Got some bottles of that SA Pinot Noir from Majestic yesterday Brian, (and Paul), at the reduced price of £6.99. It’s a stunner for the money! Massive red orchard fruits and thoroughly enjoyable and worth every penny of its full price. But such value on the deal.

Brian Elliott

Yes, it was hugely impressive I thought. Perhaps I am being too optimistic but is there an increasing trend towards “affordable pinot noir”? First Romania, then Chile and now South Africa.

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