Look beyond France if you wish to savour the grape’s silky charms without paying a king’s ransom
Hans Baer Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany 2016 (£6, Tesco) While some of us are struggling through a dry January, the British wine trade has an altogether more appealing tradition: tasting a pre-release of the latest vintage from Burgundy. This is the home of that most sensuous of red grapes, pinot noir, which makes glorious wines, the best of which are, alas, also among the world’s rarest and most expensive. Fortunately, winemakers all over the world are managing to capture some of the silky charm of Burgundy at more humane prices. Germany, for example, which has quietly become one of the most impressive pinot centres, does a nice line in affordable styles alongside its more ambitiously priced bottles, with Hans Baer’s super-bright red-berries an absolutely delightful way to spend £6.
Edoardo Miroglio Soli Pinot Noir, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria 2016 (£11.95, The Wine Society; Vinoteca) While few German pinots can match Hans Baer’s take on what the Germans sometimes call spätburgunder, there’s a high pleasure-per-pound ratio in the Hofmann Spätburgunder Rotwein Trocken, Rheinhessen 2015 (£12.50, Slurp) and the burst of cherry juiciness in Villa Wolf Pinot Noir, Pfalz 2016 (£12.50). Further east, Romania has a long if not always glorious tradition of making budget pinot, with the reliable firm Cremale Recas the name behind numerous examples, such as the gently spicy Incanta Pinot Noir 2017 (£7.99, or £5.99 as part of a mixed case of six, Majestic). And Italian winemaker Edoardo Miroglio has shown an undiscovered affinity for pinot in Bulgaria: vintage after vintage, his lithe Soli Pinot Noir is among the best value reds of any kind.