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.
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