Palataia Pinot Noir 2009 Review

… won’t blast you with fruit & veg like some crazed pyromaniac greengrocer. No; it’s lean, discrete, introverted. And in disguise.

A closeup of the label of Palataia Pinot Noir from Marks & Spencer

A little illustration of wine marketing, here. Look at the label above. Notice something? Or, rather, don’t notice something?

Yeah. We don’t know where this wine comes from. Sure, we know it’s made of Pinot Noir. But nowhere on the label (no, not even in the blurby writeup on the back) does it state its country of origin. No: this is a wine in disguise. It’s adopted a generic, vaguely South American-sounding brand name; our only clue is a mention of the region: Pfalz.

That’s because — yep — it’s a red wine from Germany.

And this fact, alas, is apparently a stigma to rank alongside infection with pneumonic plague.

That’s a shame, that is. Because — on the evidence of this wine — we have nothing to fear.

This is very much an Old World-style Pinot Noir. By which I mean, it’s lean, discrete, introverted. It won’t blast your gob with salvos of fruit and veg, like some rampaging pyromaniac greengrocer. Which is a relief.

Instead, it’s bitter, herbaceous, intensely savoury. It tastes — and feels — distinguished.

It’s not bereft of fruit, by the way. Indeed, to an unusual extent, this is a wine that actually tastes grapey. But I’m talking the whole package: grape skins, grape pips, grape stalks.


Not at all bad, then. The wine’s downfall, as far as I’m concerned, is its lack of length: a mouthful is over relatively quickly; it doesn’t linger much. This gives it a tendency towards emptiness on its own, so I’d pair it with food (something simply-cooked, not too bolshy).

But Pinot Noir isn’t easy to produce. Especially in this (far more unforgiving) style. Especially at this price.

Credit to M&S, then, for carrying an unusual, serious, good value wine like this. It’s just a shame it has to appear in disguise.

Rating ★★★ (3 stars)
ABV 13.5%
Price £8.49 from Marks & Spencer

6 thoughts on “Palataia Pinot Noir 2009 Review”

  1. Old Parn,
    I think you should do video reviews/tastings on youtube. You would be superb. You could even impart some of your knowledge on how to taste wines properly and identify different characteristics that we should be looking out for, particularly when matching with food. As I have said time and time again, you could give your counterparts over on Saturday Kitchen a run for their money!

  2. Christine, I am surprised, overwhelmed and a little moved by your suggestion.

    Perhaps you should get other, like-minded, souls to join you in a campaign to bring video reviews to Old Parn.

    If the people speak, Old Parn will answer.

  3. @billicatons Glad you’re up on this wine. Was pleasantly surprised by it when I tried it last. Think Germany has a serious future in Pinot.

  4. Interestingly, I’d probably never have picked up this bottle to buy, myself (my sister bought the one I reviewed) — because the generic nature of the label wouldn’t, I suspect, have caught my eye. Had it been clearly labelled as a German Pinot Noir, on the other hand, I’d definitely have been curious to try it.

  5. Hi,
    I watched Saturday Kitchen and was curious about the German Pinot Noir mentioned. I believe it is made by Weingut Gaul in Grünstadt-Asselheim, just about 10 miles from where I live. The label on the bottle shows their Winery. See for youself at

    Kind regards

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