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.
Price £8.49 from Marks & Spencer