Painting a picture of the perfect pinot noir wines

IF pinot noir grapes were teenage girls, they would constantly be told off by their mums.

They prefer cool, moderate  conditions but they aren’t really dressed for it to be honest. Their skins are thin, like flimsy little cardies and at the first sign of bad weather  all sorts of temper tantrums can be had, with many  harvests damaged.

Saying that, these grapes are at the heart of some of the world’s best wines. Burgundy reds. German pinot noir – spätburgunder – can be a dream.  Germany is the world’s third largest pinot noir grower.

The grapes are also cultivated in the New World.  Molly-coddled  might be a better word, as   winegrowers    take all care to pander to these  grapes’ special needs. Teenage girls indeed.

It’s worth it though.

Because pinot noir grapes are thin-skinned, the tannins in the wines can be low – no gummy  teeth-sticky dryness.

Young pinot noir can be full of strawberries, raspberries and cherries. Older wines can have earthy, savoury aromas. A damp, grassy puddle in the autumn.  Herbs and wet wood.

Talk about a wine for all seasons – I enjoyed pinot noir with  Crimbo dinner – but  a couple of nights ago  as the sun set it was a spätburgunder with me in the garden.

The  wine  which inspired this pinot reverie is Salwey Spätburgunder 2010 (£13.49 Salwey Spätburgunder 2010 German pinot noir winewww.laithwaites.co.uk)  made by  Konrad Salwey, who I met  in Baden.

“Most joy and attraction” he   exclaimed. I’d presumed he meant his pinot, not me.  But yes, it is. Spicy cherries, redcurrants, smooth, long-lasting velvety complexity.

Or try Asda’s Extra Special Marlborough  Pinot Noir 2011 (£11) and  from Chile, the 2011 Undurraga T.H. Pinot Noir Leyda  is  £15.99 from Majestic, or  two for £12.79 each.
Both displayed vegetal savoury notes on the nose, the New Zealand wine more so, but they were also packed with  summer fruits worthy of a pudding bowl. Chile – lighter acidity than the NZ – but both   lingeringly  fruity juicy.
Also in my glass
With The Ashes coming up I was tempted by Wirra Wirra The 12th Man Chardonnay 2011  (Ocado, £16.99)   and it  bowled this maiden over. Sorry.
Greg Trott’s dream was to play  cricket for Australia. Instead  he produced a beautifully rounded chardonnay with wicket (wicked) undertones of creamy oak. If you’re stumped for a wine to match a powerfully sauced chicken or fish, it could be this. It certainly passed my Test. That’s enough cricket  puns. Over and out.