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18 April 2015

Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon: 'reds of the moment'

A few words about a pair of Pinots and a couple of Cabernets, pitching the US against South Africa and Chile against Argentina, which I selected for a 'classic grape varieties' tasting held in Belfast a few weeks ago. All different and all good.

Primarius Pinot Noir 2011, Oregon USA (12% abv) - I was slightly apprehensive buying this Oregon red at this price (they're mostly dearer), but wasn't disappointed. Quite light and elegant style yet has plenty of attractive clear-cut Pinot character, aromatic red fruit notes vs a more 'mushroom-y' (!) side and background oak adding a little roundness, refreshing and tasty finish. Drink now. £8.99 Tesco

Paul Cluver 'Ferricrete' Pinot Noir 2013, Elgin South Africa (13.5% abv) - Cluver is a very reliable Pinot winemaker, and this one is sourced from selected blocks in the cooler Elgin region around the coast from the Cape. More obvious vanilla/coconut oak on the nose vs subtle 'sweet/savoury' Pinot tones underneath, quite intricate despite that initial oak with fairly concentrated, fuller and more structured palate; smoky vs 'sweet/savoury' fruit finish, the oak blended in better after being open for a day. Should improve even. £12 Marks & Spencer.

Doña Paula Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Mendoza Argentina (14% abv) - traditional and classy Cabernet from this fairly famous name, concentrated and chunky vs soft mature and meaty, attractive developed fruit finish with just a hint of lingering grip. Drinking nicely now. £10/€12-€13 Supervalu, Kenny's Wine Store, The Vineyard.

Viña Errázuriz 'Max Reserva' Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Aconcagua Valley Chile (14%) - from another very reliable producer, this fairly serious (mostly) Cab Sauv is sourced from some of their older and slopier vineyards found to the north of Santiago. Rich nose combining spicy oak and lots of dark blackcurrant/cherry, concentrated and pretty firm still vs smoky ripe fruit vs a tangier fresher side, fairly full-on finish. Drinking now but would keep well for a couple of years or so. £12.69 WineMark

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.