It's not easy to find good pinot noir for a modest outlay. Perhaps it's because the pinot noir vine is fussy about where it's grown, and the wine is easy to "mess up" in the winery. It has to be grown in a relatively cool climate if the wine is to display the innate charm of the grape variety. Shiraz, by contrast, is a forgiving grape and there is always plenty of very good inexpensive shiraz in the shops. The Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills are happy hunting grounds for decent, affordable pinots. Here are three.
Hardy's HRB Pinot Noir 2019, Yarra Valley, $35
This pinot has very good depth of colour and a clearly defined smoky bouquet thanks to the type of oak barrels used. It's intense and full in the mouth, with the deep fruit flavours backed by ample tannins with the right touch of firmness. The smoky-bacon character is rather obvious but varietal cherries come forth the longer it's in the glass. It's a very smart wine. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 10 years.
Stockists include: Dan Murphy's stores
Tomich Hill Pinot Noir 2019, Adelaide Hills, $25
The colour is medium-deep ruby/brick-red and it has an aromatic bouquet that combines some greener herbal or stemmy notes with background red fruits. The palate is lean and sinuous with tannin firmness. There's a generous weight of flavour for a modest price, and pleasant varietal character. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to five years.
Stockists include: tomich.com.au; Dan Murphy's stores; The Melbourne Wine Store (Vic)
Yering Station Little Yering Pinot Noir 2020, Victoria, $20
This is a Yarra winery but it's not all Yarra fruit in this good value entry-level cheapie. With its bright medium red-purple colour, it has a foresty, earthy and dried autumn-leaf bouquet, with reserved plum and cherry and a trace of mint. Light to medium weight, and quite intense, although the tannins are a mite on the firm side for an early-drinking pinot. It will be better with food, no doubt. Screw-cap; 13 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to six years.
Stockists include: Como Wine & Spirits (Vic); Strand Cellars, Sydney; Dan Murphy's stores