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Pinot apprentices should start here

Come on savvy shoppers here are two impressive pinots – one under a fiver – and a tasty Italian blend that will most certainly brighten the last few weeks of winter.

Tesco’s Spring Drinks Festival starts a fortnight today and reports suggest that it will contain something a bit special – just in time for Easter.

While you wait, take at look at three reds currently on Tesco’s shelves I can thoroughly recommend as value for money.

Because inexpensive but respectable pinot noir is rare, it is not on everyone’s radar but here are two that most newcomers will enjoy; neither wine wins prizes for gravitas or richness yet both point plainly to the delights the variety can exhibit.

[su_highlight]Two of the three commended wines are on promotion (until 22 March) while the price reduction on the third – from £9.75 – forms part of Tesco’s EDLP initiative – Everyday Low Prices.[/su_highlight]

Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.

Two Italian grapes working in harmony

Nero D'Avola Sangiovese
Nero D’Avola Sangiovese

Sangiovese (literally “blood of Jove”) is at its best in Tuscany but can form workmanlike blending partnerships elsewhere and, here, joins forces – in Sicily – with that island’s own superstar grape – nero d’avola.

Enjoy then the dark, ripe and perfumed 2014 La Piazza Nero D’Avola Sangiovese (£5 – instead of £6.50 until 22 March) with black cherry and mulberry fruit, firm acidity, modest levels of tannin and suggestions of cinnamon, raspberry and cedar wood.

Presentable pinot noir for £4.50

 I Heart Pinot Noir
I Heart Pinot Noir

Burgundy, of course, gives us pinot noir at its lofty and awesome best – with prices to match – but slowly other countries (Hungary in this case) are taming this fickle grape variety to produce inexpensive but very palatable versions.

No one suggests 2014 I Heart Pinot Noir (£4.50 – instead of £4.90 until 22 March) is a rival to Beaune but it is an appealing example of light, floral, clove influenced pinot noir with delicate strawberry, red plum and cranberry fruit and a neat savoury twist; for sure, it is light and undemanding but it does illustrate clearly what pinot noir can do.

Grown up pinot at a great price

Marlborough Pinot Noir
Marlborough Pinot Noir

Cool climate areas on both islands of New Zealand are also producing excellent pinot noir with pinnacle versions attaining very high quality levels; few examples from Marlborough are in that league quite yet but real progress is being made.

Mellow and rounded 2013 Finest* Marlborough Pinot Noir (now at an EDLP of £7) has lively raspberry and red cherry fruit, blueberry depth, limited tannin but nice hints of cinnamon; a genuine snip at this price that represents a great entry point for New Zealand pinot.



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