Ever since Miles told everybody to get pinot noir, it’s been hard to find a good value. We’ve taken the plunge before and came up with several good American ones under $20. Now we raise the degree of difficulty–times two!–by bringing down the price to $16 AND heading overseas where our currency usually now needs to be accompanied by something of material value such as gold coins to make a purchase. Without further ado…
Stadlmann, Pinot Noir, 2005. $16 (find this wine)
Usually a key to finding good value is finding words that people can’t pronounce. Usually Teutonic Pinot Noir goes by “Blaubergunder,” which is not as melodious as pinot noir and thus discounted. But this Austrian Pinot has “pinot noir” on the label! And it’s still a value! (They keep the unpronounceable stuff for the back such as the region of Niederosterreich in Thermenregion.) Great balance between fruit and acidity, this wine left Mrs. Vino asking why don’t stock more of this in the house.
San Michele Appiano, Blaubergunder/Pinot Noir, Alto-Adige, 2006. $15 (find this wine)
I tasted the wines recently from this producer (aka, confusingly, St Michael-Eppan) and they range from quite good to excellent. The entry level Pinot Noir is a steal with bright fruit, good acidity and subtle tannin that made me crave some fried food — I actually enjoyed it more than their riserva, which had too much oak. Their Sauvignons blancs are excellent but we can talk about those another time.
Ninth Island, Pinot Noir, Tasmania, $15. (find this wine)
I’d like to know more about the island of Tasmania–with global warming, it’s probably the terroir of the next few decades for Australia. I had a sparkling wine from there recently that was quite interesting; this pinot has straight-forward, tart cherry character of the grape and gets off easy in the oak department. Don’t save it for junior’s graduation from college; rather, drink it soonish, with dinner.