Wineontrial loved Aldi’s Pinot Noir last year. So much so that we took the unusual step of trying it again. But what we didn’t notice, at least not at first, is that it’s no longer sourced from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.
“So what?” cries the casual drinker! Well, Marlborough is on the South Island, many parts of which have an excellent climate for precise, distinctive, fruity styles of Pinot Noir. Hawkes Bay is on the North Island, generally a little warmer, and this region is more closely associated with the likes of Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which all like / tolerate more heat. So this offering from Aldi is slightly unusual.
Unusual, and surprisingly light in style, but still good. Enjoyed at around 13-15 degrees, as Pinot Noir generally should be, the nose is dominated by ‘undergrowth’, but aromatic rather than heady, if that makes sense. Pinot Noir fans will know what I mean. And there does also seem to be an undertone of subtle, toasty oak, which just adds a touch of complexity.
The fruit is conspicuous by its absence until you taste this wine, and even then, it has no role in the ‘attack’ (the wine’s first impression in the mouth). The attack’s flavour is much the same as what you experienced on the nose, but this subsides as a surprising wave of cranberry fruit comes crashing in and lingers through the finish.
This can’t claim to be the most subtle or the most harmonious of Pinot Noirs. Although both the fruity and the savoury sides of this variety are on show, their roles are very much separated out rather than integrated – one follows the other, rather than doing a double act. Even so, this is fair value at £6.99, and would give many a £10 Pinot Noir a run for their money.