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Simon’s Wine of the Week - Waddesdon Pinot Noir

Good morning all, It’s a Monday morning so that must mean one thing – its’s Wine of the Week! Simon’s Wine of the Week is Waddesdon Pinot Noir. This Wednesday is International Pinot Noir Day so it would be churlish not to. Oh, Pinot Noir, you fickle thing you, promising your seductive, ethereal fragrance and your silky, sensual flavours, and yet so often letting us down. Why you do it? Well, the simple answer to that question is that when Pinot Noir is done right, there’s simply nothing like it. In fact, it’s my favourite red wine of all. If I could have only one red wine for the rest of my life, then it would be a Pinot Noir. But one that is done well. As I said before, Pinot Noir is a fickle grape – it’s one of the most difficult grapes of all to grow. It has very thin skin so is susceptible to rot; it likes very particular climates, too hot and the wine turns soupy, too cold and the grapes won’t ripen so the wines will be thin and acidic. Get it just right though and the results are perfection in a bottle. As it is a thin-skinned grape it makes wine that is usually very light in colour and low in tannin and body. It tends to have more red fruit aromas and flavours with floral, earthy and spicy notes adding complexity. Pinot Noir is justifiably famous for the wines of Red Burgundy. The thin strip of south-east facing hillside called the Cote D’Or (the Golden Slope) in Eastern France makes some of the greatest, and most expensive, wines in the world (the average price of a bottle of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is currently $26,000!). And that’s the problem – Burgundy is expensive, there’s no getting away from it. It is grown in cooler wine regions all over the world; New Zealand, USA, Germany, Chile and South Africa all make great examples but again, if you want the good stuff, you’ve got to put your hand in your pocket. So, when I come across a Pinot Noir that doesn’t break the bank I sit up and take notice. And the Waddesdon Pinot Noir really rocked my socks. It hails from the Languedoc in Southern France, a region not normally associated with the grape. It’s a warmer region but planting at altitude and careful viticulture mean it’s now making some great wines at very reasonable prices. It will never achieve the sublime ethereal qualities of Burgundy, but you’ll get true Pinot Noir character, without the price tag. The wine itself is quite dark in the glass for a Pinot Noir. On the nose it has classic varietal aromas; think violets, raspberry, strawberry. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied (Pinot Noir is never full-bodied) with the same strawberry and raspberry notes as the nose but with darker cherry and touches of vanilla and all-spice. It’s a super-silky red that is quite simply delicious. In terms of food matching, it’s very versatile indeed. In terms of pairing with meat it goes great with chicken, pork and duck. It is also one of the rare red wines which pairs with fish, but it needs to be more on the fleshy side like a perfectly seared Tuna steak. For veggie choices it is perfect with mushroom dishes. Have a great week, Simon
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