I’ve often heard people say you can’t find good, low-cost pinot noir. I beg to differ.
Most pinot noir lovers I know tend to fall into one of two camps: 1) California pinot noir fans, or 2) Burgundy pinot noir fans. Now there are going to be some stylistic differences between the two, which may lead individuals to prefer one over the other. But in my opinion one thing they have in common is the good ones tend to be over priced. There are plenty of delicious pinot noir wines from both California and Burgundy, but the demand for those wines drives the price up. Therefore, if you’re a bargain hunter you may want to look into other regions.
One of my favorite pinot noir regions, which is often overlooked in the US, is Germany. Of course the Germans make it hard for us monolingual Americans by calling pinot noir by a different name: spätburgunder. But if y0u can embrace this linguistic difference, you can get some fantastic pinot noir.
This one from Weingut Becker Landgraf is a great example. This pinot noir, or spätburgunder, is from the Rheinhessen region, the largest wine region in Germany where a balance of both red and white wines are produced. Stylistically, this one is a little closer to Burgundy pinot noir than California — although even within California or Burgundy the styles can vary.
The nose on this wine is beautiful. Intense cherry aromas lay the foundation and layers of caramel, nutmeg, violets and plums give plenty of character and complexity. It’s equally fabulous on the palate, where rich cherry, plum and vanilla flavors blend perfectly and linger for a relatively long finish. The acidity is sufficient and the mouthfeel is nice. Overall it’s a very good pinot noir, particularly for the price.
Wine: Becker Landgraf, Gau-Odernheim Spätburgunder
Variety: Pinot noir
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.