With general wine awareness at an all time high, you are more and more likely to be heavily influenced in your wine choice by grape variety. And rightly so, as it is one of the biggest influencers of what your wine will taste like.
Facing the endless wall of wine in a supermarket or being handed a wine list as thick as the bible can make you feel like you’re picking your way across a minefield. No wonder you end up sticking with the safe bets of Pinot Grigio, Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc. It is ok to venture out of your comfort zone though, and I’m happy to be your guide…
In order to do so I’d like to introduce a new page: Grape Dates.
Here’s your chance to speed date your way to the right grape. Will you find your Mr or Mrs Right?
Our first contender vying for your attention and one of my personal favourites too is…
I am a seductive temptress, full of enchanting fragrance, plump lips and soft curves. I am quite thin skinned so you need to treat me with care. I will admit that sometimes I do have the tendency to be a little aloof and quite particular, but I’m definitely worth the wait. I age elegantly and I’m a great match for anyone who likes their reds smooth and aromatic.
Name: Pinot Noir
Nicknames: They also call me Spätburgunder in Germany and Blauburgunder in Austria.
Age: I’m one of the oldest, most noble grapes around
Country of Origin: Burgundy, France
Location: As well as spending time in my homeland, I quite like living in both Oregon and California in the USA, and also New Zealand. I cannot stand anywhere too hot.
Likes: Cool climates, being handled with care.
Dislikes: Heat, bad weather, poor winemaking techniques.
Body type: Light and smooth
Children: I have many clones and mutations, including Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio/Pinot Blanc
Smoking: Only if you use oak, but generally I’m more spicy
Drinking: I am one easy drinking wine
I am all about red fruits like red cherry, strawberries and raspberry too. I often have a hint of spice about me, like vanilla, cinnamon and clove. With age I am like the eccentric grandmother, distinguished but a little bit quirky. You’ll find things like game meats, wet leaves, mushroom or even ‘farmyard’.
Similar to: How dare you try to compare me to anything: I am truly unique!
I would never pair up with another grape variety, except for in Champagne. Generally, I’m great enjoyed alone, but if you want a threesome with me, I’m very partial to a bit of duck. Here’s a recipe that you can try out.
Met your match?
Well, here’s the good news – below are some examples I would certainly recommend. The bad news? You can’t find cheap examples of Pinot Noir that are any good. As a rule of thumb you need to pay around the £10 mark to get anything that will show this noble grape variety off to its advantage.
Wither Hills Pinot Noir £13.99, Waitrose
Cristom Mt. Jefferson Pinot Noir, £29.99, Selfridges
Nicolas Potel , Nuits Saint Georges, £24.99, Waitrose