Cheers to International Pinot Noir Day!

In time for International Pinot Noir Day on Friday 18 August, Times Drinks Editor James Viner has tracked down a tasty selection of this influential (relatively) low tannin, early budding, early ripening, fussy, ancient red grape. Here are six humdinger bottles that are packed with flavour and possess the coveted Pinot magic that stimulates unqualified dedication in this finicky, food-friendly Burgundy grape’s devotees, which include champagne lovers.


  1. Doudet Naudin Pinot Noir 2022, Languedoc, France (£8.65, Co-op,, 13%)

Languedoc is the place to go for affordable French Pinot. Crammed with juicy plum fruit, cranberries and a dusting of herbs, this one is a whizz with boeuf bourguignon, meatier fish, pâtés and cold meats. Nicely done in an easy-drinking style. Serve lightly chilled.


  1. Errazuriz Estate Reserva Pinot Noir 2022, Aconcagua, Chile (£6.99 offer until 22 August, Waitrose,, 13.5%)

Look to Chile for some of the finest (and finest-value) Pinots in the Americas. Nab this picnic-ready, pretty example from the NE slopes of the Coastal Range in Aconcagua with a red fruit and floral duo that provide the heart of both bouquet and palate. It’s on offer at Waitrose and would pair well served slightly chilled with seared tuna/salmon or roast beef.


  1. Asda Extra Special Pinot Noir 2020, North Canterbury, New Zealand (£10.25, Asda,, 13.5%)

Asda’s fine ‘Extra Special’ own wine brand now has a solid emphasis on sub-regions. This one comes from the dominant sub-zone of Canterbury, New Zealand’s fourth-largest wine region, and has attractive notes of dark cherry pip, forest floor, violets, baking spices and blood orange. Brilliant, captivating stuff with a flying finish. Pour with crispy duck or butterflied lamb. Bravo!


  1. Tapanappa Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021, Parawa, Fleurieu, South Australia (£27.99, Roberts & Speight,, 12.5%)

The quality grapes for this accomplished, youthful Pinot, which bursts with primary red fruits, herbs, violets and smoky cedar oak, were sourced from a cool, NW-facing vineyard planted with Dijon clones at the highest point of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula (just 8km north of the Great Southern Ocean). What a wine – and what a bargain for this pedigree! Such polished winemaking. After 5-10 years in the cellar, it will unravel into a masterpiece. Just 12.5% abv.


  1. Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2022, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa (£41.00, Amathus Drinks,, 13.5%)

Made from low-yielding vines, this is a superb South African answer to red burgundy. Pioneering Hemel-en-Aarde estate Hamilton Russell was founded in 1975 in what was once sheep-farming country in the cool hinterland of the whale-watching seaside resort of Hermanus on the Cape South Coast.

Savoury, earthy, subtly spicy, pure and delicious, this classy Pinot has bolshy length and will cellar beautifully – but my goodness it is fascinating to drink now.

A gorgeous rendition.


  1. Volnay 2011, Les Angles, 1er Cru, Domaine Louis Boillot & Fils, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France (£60.50, Berry Bros & Rudd,, 13%)

Transmitting complex differences of terroir, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or is renowned for producing the finest, most sensual Pinot. This is a mature (2011), hauntingly perfumed example, with a seamless palate of thrilling intensity, finely-honed tannins and silky length; no Pinot aficionado would be disappointed to secure a bottle of it. Such intellectual vigour, unbridled joy, age and charm here! Dances on the tongue. Serve coolish (15-16ºC).


Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine


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