30 Second Wine Advisor: Pinot beyond Burgundy

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Pinot beyond Burgundy

Is moderately priced, decent Pinot Noir coming back? Just a few years ago, I had my doubts about such a happy outcome, writing in the July 13, 2007, 30 Second Wine Advisor, "Pinot inflation":

"Increasing demand for quality Pinot Noir grapes is driving up prices at the vineyard, and that translates to higher prices at the retail store. More and more, we're seeing the rule of thumb that has long been true of Burgundy coming to pass in all the world's Pinot-producing regions: The good wines aren't cheap, and the cheap wines aren't good."

Recently, though, I raved about the $13 Franz Haas 2009 "Kris" Pinot Noir from Pavia in Northern Italy. And today I speak fondly of an $11 Brancott Pinot Noir from New Zealand's Marlborough region.

Assuming that in today's inflated market we can define wines under $14 as "cheap," this is good news, and it prompts me to re-examine my assumption that the wave of Pinot envy that swept the wine-loving world after the movie Sideways would push quality Pinot entirely out of the budget price range.

This month in our WineLovers Discussion Groups we're featuring Pinot Noir from every place but Burgundy in Wine Focus for May.

In the current market, we're wondering how Pinots from the rest of the world - and even the rest of France - stack up against Burgundy, the benchmark.

Join us as our friendly international crowd of wine lovers share our thoughts, questions and tasting notes on the wines of the the region. To participate, simply click to the topic "Beyond Burgundy: World Pinot Noir."

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Today's Tasting Report

Brancott Estate 2009 Marlborough Pinot Noir ($10.99)


Clear ruby, not overly dark. Interesting cool Pinot scent, plums and tomato skin and a whiff of fragrant black pepper. Good red-fruit flavors follow the nose, shaped by fresh, snappy acidity and soft, palatable tannic astringency. Good wine, real varietal character in a New World Pinot Noir. U.S. importer: Pernod Ricard USA, Purchase, N.Y. (April 30, 2011)

FOOD MATCH: Versatile at the dinner table, an amiable partner with beef or veal, poultry or salmnon, mushrooms or creamy cheeses. We paired it with a whimsical twist on Philly cheesesteaks, leftover locavore beef pot roast sliced thin with sauteed onions and spicy sharp-cheddar Mornay on warm pocket rolls.

VALUE: As a rule of thumb, I don't expect to find much Pinot Noir varietal character in $10-range wines in today's market. This one significantly exceeds that expectation. Good buy!

Here's a link to Brancott's main page. We've set up this shortened link as a short-cut to Brancott's detailed fact sheet on the Pinot Noir.

Find vendors and check prices for Brancott Marlborough Pinot Noir on Wine-Searcher.com.

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