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Author Topic: TNs: Supermarket Pinot Noir
Andy Butt
Jeroboam
Member # 2301

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Held a tasting of supermarket examples of Pinot Noir with a few friends, mainly in honour of the recent M&S 30% off on six promotion.

NV Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Champagne (Waitrose ~£15)
Deep and creamy on the nose, with a robust but well-structured palate. Average mousse and overall quite full, as you might expect for a 100% Pinot Noir from the Aube. It pulls it off well though - plumpness with elegance, like a 'curvy' ballet dancer. Excellent value, I felt. 14/20

2006 Les Ruettes Sancerre Rosé (M&S £9.99)
A fresh and fruity nose with elements of cut grass (just my imagination?) and leafy redcurrants, though with a slight underlying hint of manure. On the palate I have strawberries and some more substantial red fruit. Quite nice, though the fruit and the secondary notes didn't quite match up for me. 13.5/20

2006 Secano Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley, Chile (M&S £6.99)
Producer – Viña Leyda
We were tasting the six reds together, semi-blind (knew the grape, obviously, just working out country). This was an easy start, with ripe fruit, medium-high alcohol and green capsicum notes a dead giveaway. Rather simple, with straightforward fruit and not much else besides a touch of earthiness and the green notes, but perfectly drinkable. 13/20

2006 Clocktower Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ (M&S £9.99)
Producer – Wither Hills
A mixture of ripe black and red fruits on the nose, with a pronounced earthiness. Well made with good balance and a nicely powerful feel. The earthiness and power put us in Nelson with this, which I think is a fair guess as this isn't the typical Marlborough style. Very good for the money. 14.5/20

2005 Côte de Nuits Villages (M&S £9.99)
Producer – Nicolas Potel
On first taking a sniff of this we thought it might need a little time in the glass to open out. Slightly cardboardy, with very earthy and rather green blackberry fruit - 'sous-bois' taken a step too far. On the palate, a bit thin, but overly grippy tannin, with out-of-balance acid and oak pretty much un-integrated. Sadly aeration didn't seem to help it. No surprises that it was French, but it didn't seem like a 2005. Perhaps it will improve, but so might the Clocktower, and that's nice now. Not great - remainder of bottle was relegated to risotto. 10.5/20

2006 Ninth Island Pinot Noir, Tasmania (Waitrose £9.99)
The lightest wine in colour in the flight. Nose was very much focussed on red fruits, with a hint of undergrowth and some lovely floral overtones. The delightfully ethereal nose was matched with a balanced and seemingly delicate red fruit dominated palate concealing decent power and leaving a good finish. My favourite of the night (just). 14.5/20

2005 Home Ranch Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, US (M&S £9.99)
Producer – Fetzer
On the nose, I was immediately struck by a huge whack of overly toasty oak. A none-too-pleasant aroma of cinema carpet - think caramel popcorn, sticky spilt Coca-Cola and more than a hint of vomit. Underneath that, some ripe red fruit and a touch of something darker, and a tractor-load of manure. Palate was surprisingly inoffensive after that. Drinkable, but I'd prefer not to. 11/20

2006 Earth's End Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ (M&S £9.99)
Producer – Mount Edwards
Fairly light in colour. The nose is pure ripe red fruit and manure, with just the slightest hint of leafiness. Palate is similar, with nicely handled oak becoming more present. Fairly straightforward, but it does have some interest and is certainly very drinkable. I also love the label, which has instructions on how to do the haka, should the mood take you. 14/20

2005 Willi Opitz Pinot Noir Beerenauslese, Burgenland, Austria
Something a little different to finish with. I can't say I'd ever had a sweet Pinot Noir before, and going by this I haven't been missing much. Strawberries and cream on the nose, although possibly ones that have been served in a bowl that hasn't been washed for a while. These continue on the palate, with the sugar seeming to balance out the acid initially but then becoming completely overwhelmed by it. Lacks anything behind the initial fruit, so rather one-dimensional, and the completely out-of-balance acid leaves the impression of drinking strawberry and cream flavour sherbet. Interesting to try, and perhaps age would improve it, but that's quite a gamble. Also hugely over-priced. 12/20

So to conclude, joint winners were the Ninth Island and the Clocktower, with the Tasmanian stealing it for me as I was in the mood for a lighter wine. To be honest, I’d be more likely to buy the Clocktower again. The Secano wasn’t bad by any means, just a bit simple, although there’s nothing wrong with that if all you want is a glugging wine. I wouldn’t bother with the other reds again, but I liked the Champagne.

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Hugh Millar
Solomon
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Interested to note that your poorest wine of night was from Marks and Spencer. I've been very disappointed in anything I've had from them so far this year. We've a new 'food only' M&S locally, so I've been trying a few of their wines, but don't think I'll be going back after the last dreadful Chablis.

I'll give the Ninth Island a go, though. Thanks for notes.

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Mark Temple
Primat
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Their Lone Range PN is a winner. Best NZ Pinot I've ever had under £15 (and especially at the offer price I got it at, about £8.50).

Does seem to have been a very disappointing tasting!

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Graham Kemp
Balthazar
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I used to be a fan of the Hautes Côtes de Beaune from Tesco, around £7, earlier vintages offered value and character. I had an '05 recently and was disappointed, acidic, thin, drab fruit.
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David Bennett
Nebuchadnezzar
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Fickle stuff Pinot!

I've always been impressed with the Ninth Island stuff - is it still Pirie i/c the winemaking?

Sounds as if he Potel was a bit off? and I agree about the Optiz, daft stuff and he ought to stick to his other excellent sweeties from grapes that grow well in burgenland!

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Gu yDennis
Nebuchadnezzar
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I think the Tesco finest oak-aged red burgundy isn't bad for the price.
But when you can buy Denis Mugneret et Fils Hautes Cotes de Nuits 2002 for just over £8, there's really no point buying other cheap Burgs.
The Mugneret is simply stunning for the money.

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GD

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Damien Carter
Nebuchadnezzar
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quote:
Originally posted by GuyD:
I think the Tesco finest oak-aged red burgundy isn't bad for the price.

I had the 2006 recently when it was on sale for £5, and it was pretty good. Nice earthy notes. And very good QPR.

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Damien Carter
"I hope we're not too messianic or a trifle too satanic. We love to play the blues." Mick Jagger

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Andy Butt
Jeroboam
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Hugh - to be fair, most of the wines were M&S, so it wasn't a huge surprise the worst one came from them. The Clocktower is well worth a try.

Mark - I'll try to find a bottle of the Lone Range, sounds interesting. Don't suppose you know where it's from or who actually makes it?

David - yes I did suspect the Potel might have been a duff bottle, but cheap Burgundy can be distinctly dodgy. Ninth Island is the second label of Pipers Brook, which was indeed started by Andrew Pirie. The company was bought by the Kreglinger family and Pirie subsequently shown the door, around 2003 I think. So no, he's not involved with this, but he makes wines under the label Pirie and at Tamar Ridge, both of which get exported to the UK.

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Mark Temple
Primat
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It's made by Craggy Range. Haven't seen it in store recently - I got it on a website offer last autumn.
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Hugh Millar
Solomon
Member # 103

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quote:
Originally posted by Andy Butt:
Hugh - to be fair, most of the wines were M&S, so it wasn't a huge surprise the worst one came from them. The Clocktower is well worth a try.

Yes, Andy - I noticed that after I'd posted. [Embarrassed]

If the Clocktower is from Wither Hills I suspect it's pretty similar to Majestic's Fairleigh PN, exclusive to them and by Wither Hills. Not bad for the money. Probably same stuff as Clocktower. .

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Johnny Norfolk
Jeroboam
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We stopped buying wines from M&S years ago for the reasons given here. Some people are saying they are much better now, but it does not look like it.
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Alan Smeaton
Nebuchadnezzar
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At their price points I think the Secano and Clocktower are good buys. The generic Bourgogne Rouge from Potel is good for its very low price.

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