Ripe fruit expression matched with a food-friendly sharpness are what characterise New Zealand's wines; historically famous for its grassy pungent Sauvignon, the country is also becoming a second spiritual home for Pinot - and this Oyster Bay, Marlborough Pinot Noir from The Co-op is a textbook entry-level example.
A translucent cherry red in the glass, it has aromas of ripe red fruits with hints of Burgundian farmyardiness.
The palate is full of ripe sour-cherry fruit, red berries and good savoury underpinnings; well-structured and soft textured with some persistence on the finish.
It manages to be both crowd-pleasing and serious; it's also well-made and balanced and at this price point you can't ask for more than that from as fickle a grape as Pinot.
Match with roast duck, lighter game or beef stew.
Lightly chilled, it would makes a good garden sipper on a hot day and being screw-capped, is also a perfect picnic wine.
£11.99 from The Co-op (reduced to £8.99 until 16th July, 2013).
The CWB Pinot-Off (#2)
I decide to put it up against a similarly-priced red Burgundy we brought back from a holiday in France last year.
Domaine Chopin Gautier, Cotes de Nuits Villages 2010, "Les Vignottes"
A similarly translucent red, this is more savoury and less fruit-forward - and, like the Oyster Bay, it is softly textured.
It lacks the "Burgundian" farmyardiness of the Oyster Bay and has less crowd-pleasing overt fruit generally - instead, there is more savouriness and concentration; it is more European, less New World.
Structurally, however, it does not feel quite so well meshed together as the New Zealand wine - the fruit, acidity and tannins are not entirely seamless.
We bought it for around €8 from Auchan, equivalent to around £15 retail in the UK.
I would, if I could, take the concentration and savouriness of the European wine along with the seamless structure of the New World one - and looking back, that is more or less the conclusion I came to on my last Pinot off.
Other related articles
On Not Loving Pinot Noir
The CWB Pinot Off
Villa Maria Pinot Noir
The Co-op - website, twitter
Oyster Bay - website