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wine of the week 29/03/2009

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   Hans Nittnaus (Austria) Pinot Noir 2004
Now Austrian Pinot Noir is a rare and expensive creature, seldom seen in the UK. So what's the story here? Well, Patrick Sandeman of Lea and Sandeman explains that his company sold out of this wine last year at £12.95 per bottle, but thanks to a Japanese client reneging on an order with Hans Nittnaus, L&S have just received another sizeable parcel which they have decided to sell at just £8.95 - or only £7.95 if you buy by the case. It has a delicate, cherry-fruited nose with a touch of cranberry and something nutty too. There's a nice PInot background of gentle smoke and damp earth. On the palate it is medium-bodied and fresh, with modest fruit but a nicely-balanced character where a touch of spice and smoke mingles with good cherry acidity and a fine tannin structure to give a bit of length and finesse. At this price, a bit of a bargain. £8.95 from Lea and Sandeman's London stores or website.