Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Wow! Presentable Pinot Noir at £7 – Yes £7.

With many wines, the hierarchy is clear.

We usually know which parts of the world provide the superstars and, alternatively, where great value versions can normally be found.

Being realistic, though, we also accept that those affordably priced versions seldom match the complexity, balance and longevity of iconic versions.

That is why they are star dust.

However, those “good value” choices do often provide broad hints why the variety is prized, but offer them at something closer to everyday prices.

Nothing revolutionary about that simplistic, broad brush analysis – but then there is pinot noir!

Obviously Burgundy and Central Otago provide top of the range choices, but sources of everyday priced alternatives are elusive.  

Eastern Europe can sometimes provide good choices but, increasingly, Chile can also do so.

Today’s red is an example of that point, and – even better news – it is currently on offer.

By contrast, its partner white is wine with a fairly wide choice of kindly priced examples.

However, this is a version I particularly enjoy because it demonstrates the variety’s  typical (and impressive) characteristic so well.  

Adopting my traditional format, images and (where possible and helpful) hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.

Reduced price pinot noir

2021 Irresistible Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir (£7 – instead of £8 until 21 February – at the Co-op):

Water shortages may be driving Casablanca winemakers towards other parts of Chile, but the region still produces excellent wines like this.

Those producers work so well with cool climate varieties – but do remember that the current offer expires tomorrow.

Until then, enjoy its floral and slightly smoky raspberry, cranberry and plum flavours at a great price.

Those components are skilfully coupled here with good acidity, modest tannin and hints of allspice, slate and cocoa.

Dependable Italian White

2021 Taste the Difference Verdicchio Classico (£6 – down from £7 until 28 February – at Sainsbury’s):

This reliable Italian white is perfect for anyone seeking a “safe option” in a supermarket or restaurant.

Versions from Central Italy like this certainly bring out the best in the variety, especially when yields are controlled.

The result here is a well-priced, entry point version centred on brightness and freshness with traces of minerality too.

It is also full of citrus fruits (lemon, lime and grapefruit) but, in addition, encompasses crisp green apple components and suggestions of pear and of dried herbs.

The next post (on Thursday) reveals my suggestions for a Friday Night treat to ease you into the weekend along with the latest Sunday Best choice.

Subscribe for FREE!

Do you want every review I write, direct to your inbox, absolutely free?



Richard Wyndham

Hi Brian, your headline caught my attention!
But I groaned when I saw it was a co-op wine.
In the past I have used to find a recommended wine, and when the wine is found online, have input my post code or town to find a stockist. The stores listed have never been near my Suffolk location – I assumed my local demographic was not considered promising enough to stock good wines! But tried again today for this PN. It listed 10 stockists, the nearest was 19 miles away in Colchester. However, as I was going to nearby Felixstowe, popped in anyway – and they had good stocks of this wine, plus a pretty decent range of other bottles!
So knowledge is a dangerous thing – in future I won’t get clever and search, but just pop into Felixstowe.
Look forward to trying the wine.

Brian Elliott

Co-op’s structure does cause difficulties for wine fans. The business has a number of semi-autonomous operations in several locations so wines stocked there (and promotions) do not always line up with the national picture. That also means that the website can sometimes show different prices to the one quoted here (although mine are verified by Co-op HQ). Glad you found the wine though – and hope it fully measures up ….

Richard Wyndham

Just tried it – most importantly, smells like Pinot Noir! Good acidity, and fruit (but not jammy), some grip. I find lighter PN take a touch of chilling really well. I think this could, but has sufficient weight to serve at cool (thanks to energy prices!) room temperature. Lovely wine, a steal at £7. Thanks for putting me onto this.

Brian Elliott

Glad we are in harmony on this – and even more pleased you have found a Co-op near you. They do have some great wines.

Hermann Hruby

Hi Brian I love co-op wines but I can never find a press recommend wine anywhere near me in devon. Something is not working. Love your recommendation.

Brian Elliott

As I often mention, regional strctures do complicte recommendations in respect of Co-op wines but I have passed on your comment to Co-op HQ to see whether they can suggest anything to help. Thank you for the nice words too – always makes the sun shine a little brighter for me …Brian

Paul Davies

Try Pringle Bay Pinot Noir Western Cape Majestic mix price £7.99.A juicy rather refined Pinot Noir by Duncan Savage.
Probably one of the best value Pinot’s out there.

Brian Elliott

Thanks for the heads up Paul …. I will try to seek some out.

Julian Cowburn

I’ve never really been a Pinot Noir fan finding it too light, but a winemaker friend swears by the grape variety, and given your recommendation, I had to try this one. I’m now converted! Very pleasant wine. Thanks for the tip.

Brian Elliott

Pinot noir can be enigmatic. Its light colour and texture are at variance with the depth and range of its flavours and, at its zenith, can be both superb and very expensive. It is hard to find inexpensive examples that get close to the raspberry, clove, beetroot style earthiness, herbal influences and balance of the superstars but one or two (like this example) do take you some way down that road.

Chris Barclay

Pinot Noir is a challenge especially for the poor guy making the wine! It is also a challenge for the consumer however follow your gut or perhaps your nose and palate and sometimes things work out.

I did a year ago find a few cases of a 2019 Pinot Noir from Chile which was rated at 90/100 by James Suckling. We are de-risked because JS tastes great wine every day and I only find it once a month.

Brian our host tastes it every week.

This Pinot was lurking a year and a half ago in a Lidl Wine Tour and if you are into bargains then I am happy to mention that this one is now starting it’s downward trend.

The wines tilted glass edge is turning from red towards dark orange. The 13.5% alcohol is manfully resisting decay however for me it’s drink up time!

The wine is Cigar Box “Old Vine,” Hand Harvested Pinot Noir and knowing me it was remaindered to £3.99. It’s still a fabulous mouthful of delish strawberries however now yielding a savoury chocolatey herby dry edge. I’d say it is just clinging to the 90 points provided you enjoy dry wines.

If you ever see the brand “Cigar Box” ignore the tobacco connection and give the wine consideration. Well, inexpensive 90 point Pinot is rare as Hen’s Teeth. Especially lush ones like this!

Brian Elliott

Yes indeed “tasty”, “inexpensive” and “pinot noir” are not words that often appear in the same sentence. You make an important point too about wine colour which often runs from purple (while young) through brick red (when mature) to brown (when aging). The orange colour you mention is a good “drink up quickly” indication of wine just past its peak but not yet circling the drain. The best place to spot this is on the rim of the liquid as you mention. My old physics master (Harry Wallace) called it the meniscus I think.

Chris Barclay

Thank you Brian and another key to Pinot’s “Drink it now” is the blood orange becomes dark Marmalade which strangely is quite yummy!

I heed the warnings and will be extra nimble! Procrastination can be brutal in wine cellars.

Brian Elliott

I had not noticed the development into marmalade influences – I will try to seek out suitable examples.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.