How often do you make seasonal wild mushroom risotto and how many times do you come home to duck or game and a fridge in which someone has considerately placed a bottle of not very affordable Burgundy to chill for two hours at the connoisseur recommended 12˚C?
Probably about the same number of times you have ordered a Chassagne-Montrachat in a Michelin restaurant and read the words Gevrey-Chambertin appellation on the label brought by one of your supper-on-a-knee guests.
But hopefully far less time than you have popped an Intrepid Brown Bear or twisted the neck off a light and fruity Californian.
And far less times. Hopefully still, than you have heard yourself talk about “funky, earthy wines with vibrant black cherry pie jostling for recognition along with dried strawberries, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.”
Burgundy is very expensive and New World much easier to pronounce than Patrice Rion Nuits-St-Georges Clos Saint-Marc Premier Cru.
According to Vivino and its 60m+ customers, Pinot Noir drinkers go more ‘old world’ the more they spend. The most popular (most scanned) Pinot Noir on the Vivino on-line marketplace is Napa Valley’s Bread and Butter Pinot Noir 2019.
The most popular (most scanned) Pinot Noirs amongst UK drinkers in the over £40 category is its Louis Jadot Beaune Premier Cru 2014 (£45).
Vivino was founded in Copenhagen in 2010 by Heini Zachariassen and Theis Søndergaard. Vivino has a wine database containing more than 12.5 million different wines. It is based in San Francisco.
Also recommended is 2019 Cave des Vins de Sancerre Les Marennes, New Zealand’s 2020 Nanny Goat Queensberry Single Vineyard, 2018 Prophet’s Rock Home. And 2019 Mt Difficulty Bannockburn, Australia’s By Farr Pres 2017, Argentina’s 2018 Nieto Senetiner Cadus Signature Series and, from the UK, 2000 Simpsons Rabbit Hole.
The art of Pinot Noir is being honed in England by Chapel Down, Gusbourne and the lesser known Nutbourne in Pulborough, Sussex where the Gladwin family make 100 per cent Pinor Noir still as well as sparkling and blush. All with labels with “sentimental, meaningful and frivolous” paintings by Bridget Gladwin.
Vineyard owner Peter Gladwin says:
“Pinot Noir is a wonderfully versatile grape. It is the varietal that we have most. We have both Champagne and Burgundy clones and use Pinot Noir in all three of our sparkling ‘Nutty’ wines. Also, when the year and the sunshine is on our side, we make a single varietal still red. Any remainder is added to our estate’s field blend Sussex Reserve where it adds body to our renowned aromatic still white.”
In South Devon, Oz Clarke OBE has just opened Sandridge Barton, home of Sharpham Wine. The new visitor centre, winery and restaurant is on the east bank of the River Dart. It produces good, home-grown Pinot Noir wines.
In the north of the county, the Lyme Bay Winery is the first English producer to scoop a prestigious IWSC Trophy for its still Pinot Noir. Devon holds up against California’s Trinity Oaks and Hyde and anything Oregon can produce.
Burgundy may be the home of Pinot Noir, but the New World are its second and supermarkets third.
In time for Pinot Noir Day on August 18th, Bollinger has released the latest edition, PN TX17, showcasing the expression of 2017 Pinot Noir from Tauxières.
The Champagne is a blend designed to showcase the distinctive features of wines from the Tauxières terroir, which make up the majority of the blend.
Charles-Armand de Belenet, GM of Champagne Bollinger, says of the £85 treat:
“This cuvée made entirely of Pinot Noir is ingrained in what had become the very essence, the DNA of our House – an inimitable vision of an iconic grape variety and uncompromising efforts to fulfil the mission we started in 1829 as creators of taste.”
Once you might very rarely have come home to an explosion of dominating red cherry fruit laced with herbal and muted florals, all woven through an allspice-laden matrix and rarely a profile allows complete integration of fruit, acidity and subtle structure.
But now Pinot Noir is accessible. The wine grape will make a great impression on your palate as you make one on your sofa. You don’t need a special occasion or restaurant. You can now enjoy at home a great grape with a touch of toastiness and refreshing acidity.
Sit and watch the news with Pinot Noir. Forget fripperies like pan-fried whole Dover sole and herb-crusted pork loin. And don’t even mention “grippy, svelte tannins”. Pinot Noir pairs well with a chair.
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His humour, travel, food and drink work appears worldwide and he has been published in over 800 titles.
Photographs courtesy of Nutbourne Vineyards and Lyme Bay Winery