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Friday, 11 June 2021

The CWB Supermarket New World Red-off

Two widely-available New World reds

Carignan and Pinot Noir both produce soft, silky wines with a delicate, supple texture.

The main difference is that Pinot is expensive to make and always carries a price premium, due to the reputation of Burgundy; by contrast, Carignan is a "wine lake" grape, historically producing high yields in hot parts of France with no classic heritage.

If you have heard of Pinot but not of Carignan, this is possibly why; it's the darling vs the ugly duckling.

Another reason is that Carignan is typically a blending wine; late-ripening and heat-loving, it provides colour, acidity and tannins but can prove difficult to make into an elegant varietal wine.

Both these wine are relative bargains, then and punch above their price tag; New Zealand makes some of the best Pinots outside Burgundy for a fraction of the price. And Carignan has the soft texture of Pinot but without the premium.

They are both drinking nicely now, but have the concentration and complexity to improve with some age.

Indomita Gran Reserva Carignan, Chile, 2019 (£7.50, Co-op)

Chile has been getting better and better for a decade or so and is finally starting to reach its potential now.

Lifted red and black fruits with florality and oaky, peppery spice, garrigue herbs, cocoa and savouriness; fresh, full and supple with a dense inky texture; very harmonious and well-made.

Good and Good Value.

Drinks nicely on first opening but can be cellared.

Match with roast red meat or barbecue foods.

Tesco Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir, 2020 (Tesco, £13)

Made by Villa Maria, New Zealand's most awarded winery and always a source of highly enjoyable, well-made, good-value wines.

Farmyardy sous-bois and complex spices; lifted dark berry fruits, black cherries and black olives with some toasty savouriness; fresh, supple, concentrated and long.

Very Good.

Drinks nicely on first opening, but will improve further with some aging.

A fresh, versatile red, match with rich, strongly-flavoured foods, from lamb to salmon steak, venison to guinea fowl, pâté to charcuterie.

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