Drink, laugh and sing!—

If you’ve managed to get through January without a drink, hats off. I’ve been sipping less but better – and popping Pinot could be the answer for the ultimate in lighter-bodied reds. Pinot Noir has always been the most beguiling red grape. When it’s wonderful it can make you sing and laugh at the same time. When it’s not, it’s as irritating as being trapped in a lift with someone who is singing and laughing at the same time.

Why? Because generally speaking it’s expensive. The top stuff from Burgundy fetches thousands of pounds a bottle, but if you find a decent Pinot that doesn’t break the bank, it’s a transformative delight. So where to look? New Zealand’s Otago heralds gems and keep your eye on Marlborough, but for serious value take your taste buds to South America, Romania or Germany, where Pinot is known as Spätburgunder.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

RED HOT ROMANIAN: Wildflower Pinot Noir 2017 (12.5%) £6.50 Spar. Light, value party Pinot from Romania – try serving lightly chilled.

GERMAN GEM: Palataia Pinot Noir 2017 (13.5%) £11.50 Marks and Spencer. Serious Pinot for the price – decant and delight in this German gem.

ACE ARGENTINE: Barda Pinot Noir 2017 (13%) £23.50 Lea and Sandeman. The best kept secret in Pinot Noir? This Argentinean is world class – well worth splashing out.

BRILLIANT BURGUNDIAN: Domaine Naudin-Ferrand, Orchis, Hautes Cotes de Beaune 2016 (12%) £40 Berry Bros & Rudd. I’ve already bought a case – this is silky, light and splendid.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Extra Special Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 (13%) £8.98 Asda. Light and lovely as a raspberry dancing with an inflatable blueberry.

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 27th January 2019

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