Pinot Noir from Canada
After a spell of rubbish wine, it was nice to open something tonight that I actually wanted to drink. Last night's fare was dire, although I'm loath to mention this for risk of becoming saddled with a Meldrew-of-wine reputation. Tesco's Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 was earthy, spicy and caramelly, with a bitter plummy finish. And then the 2003 Altano Douro showed a bitter green herbal character that spoiled the spicy, plummy red fruits that were this wines only redeeming virtue. With its drying finish I really didn't feel inspired to take a second sip.
So tonight it was with some relief that I uncorked the Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 2003 VQA Okanagan Valley. A Pinot Noir from Canada; more precisely, British Columbia, just inland from Vancouver. Now this is just what I want from Pinot. It's not big or heavy or rich. It isn't trying to show off its muscles, like a beach poseur. Instead, it's at ease with itself, offering up perfumed cherry and berry fruit, with just enough spicy, undergrowthy complexity on the palate to keep the drinker's attention. This is satisfying. It's not profound; indeed, I'm lured into thinking it's a bit simple, but then it surprises me with another dimension. I guess the ultimate test is whether I want to fill my glass again, and for the first time in a few nights, I do. (£8.99 Sainsbury.)