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Wine expert tells us to chill

Thu 16 Jul 2009 17:06

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This week, wine expert, Tom Cannavan, takes a closer look at Pinot Noir – and aims to dispel the myth that red wine shouldn’t be served chilled.

Pinot Noir is a very fickle grape compared to others such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. It needs a huge amount of care and attention in order to flourish – in fact, there are only about six places around the world which can produce a really good Pinot Noir. These include Burgundy, New Zealand, parts of Australia, California and Oregon.

When it’s good, it’s incredibly good, so Pinot Noir is a wine that can enchant wine lovers. It’s a very fashionable wine and is often served in good restaurants.

Pinor Noir tends to be quite expensive compared to other grape varieties, and you rarely get a bottle costing less than £5.99.

It’s a bit of a myth that red wine needs to be served at room temperature – the term is misleading as it was invented in the 18th century, when there was no central heating and the average room temperature was about 16 degrees. Now, the average living room temperature is 21 degrees, which is slightly too warm.

People don’t think red wine can stand chilling – but Tom Cannavan aims to prove this is wrong!

Certain styles of red wine are lighter and almost like a deep rosé, and these are best served slightly chilled.  These include a Pinot Noir, Gamay which is the grape used to make a Beaujolais and an Italian grape called Dolcetto.  If these are served warm they can be quite sooty and you don’t get the nice freshness from the wine.

Here are Tom’s top picks this week, all of which can be served lightly chilled.

1. La Grille Pinot Noir 2007, priced at £5.99 at Majestic (currently down to £5.49 when you buy two)
This light, unoaked Pinot Noir is from the Loire Valley. This wine has flavours of strawberries, rhubarb and fresh beetroot, and tastes great when served chilled for about 20 minutes in the door of the fringe. It goes well with roast chicken, pork, shepherd’s pie.

2. Côtes de Nuits Villages 2006, priced at £10.99 at Marks & Spencer
This French wine has flavours of fresh mint, violets and black cherries and is made from organically cultivated Pinot Noir grape,  from vines that are over 60 years old, just next door to the famous Nuits St Georges village.
It has a touch of oak and goes well when drunk with Boeuf Bourguignon, roast duck, and dish with wild mushrooms.

3. De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir 2008, priced at £7.99 from Sainsbury’s
This Australian wine comes from Victoria, close to Melbourne, one of the New World’s Pinot Noir hotspots.
It’s aged in oak to give it a smoky character, and it has a really lush, rich, chocolately flavour, and flavours of peppercorns, raspberries and wild mushrooms.
Drink with sausage and mash, venison casserole, and any game with fruit sauces.

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