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Budget pinot noir exists

Budget pinot noir – no it doesn’t exist.  I’ve always thought that’s probably true but I have drunk a couple of wines recently that come close to fitting the bill exactly.

The Trentham Estate 2009 pinot got a rave review in a recent Age Greenguide.  It is justified rave. This is a big wine with farmyard odors early on and a slightly, unpleasant stewed feel to it. It needs to breathe for an hour or so whereupon it settles into a solid pinot with strawberry elegance and a fragrant though fairly thick nose. Remarkably it has complexity and depth. It will be better with a year or so in the bottle but it is still great drinking now provided you decant.  I got mine at Dan Murphies for $13-60. At that price it is an absolute steal.

I got cold-called by a discount wine vendor that I buy from occasionally  ( and they offered me a New Zealand Peter Howland Marlborough 2008 pinot for $11-99 delivered free. In a moment of madness I bought a dozen – you sit back and think – you did get suckered you silly bugger.  But no, this is a special wine too.  A conventional and deletable pinot nose with a gentler strawberry finish than the Trentham. Very good clean pinot with a fresh acid finish and a cherry-strawberry mix of flavors.  I tried to get more but they are sold out.

11 comments to Budget pinot noir exists

  • Sinclair Davidson

    Ever tried Pinotage?

  • hc

    No I have not. I know it is a controversial South African wine that some praise as a new world innovation and others decry as having a bad nose.

  • Sinclair Davidson

    They also grow some in New Zealand.

  • ennui

    Budget pinot noirs certainly exist but I’ve never tasted a good ‘budget’ pinot. An interesting assessment of the Trentham Estate pinot – having tasted it recently I was not that impressed, even in terms of ‘value’. I agree it “is a big wine” but its “elegance” escapes me. Alcohol at 13.5% is too high for a good pinot – that’s a personal view.
    Anyway, after the first couple of bottles I’m not sure it really matters much!!

  • hc

    Ennui, Did you decant it and leave to breathe for an hour? The elegance doesn’t show upfront.

  • ennui

    No, didn’t decant – straight to the glass, so to speak! I don’t tend to decant quaffing wines as it’s not usually worth the effort. To be fair we had just finished a Neudorf pinot so it was hardly a fair comparison – though both 13.5% (I think!).

  • via collins

    what price is “budget”?

    IMHO, the Hoddles Creek 06/07/08 ($18) and Stonier ($20) are lovely, complex and rewarding PNs. I shall give the Trentham Estate (gorgeous winery too, thoroughly recommended to anyone in the Mildura area) a go using the decant. Like Ennui, I would not decant at this level normally, but should be a fun experiment.

    But again, the two wines I proposed are quite stunning at their price-points.

  • derrida derider

    “farmyard odours”, eh? So it smelt like shit.

  • hc

    In response to both Via and Ennui – I decant and allow to breathe any wine that tastes a bit stewed and is a bit pongy. Many Australian reds are overextracted and breathing definitely improves them. The ridiculous situation is that in Australia you have to pay so much more for a non-aggressive red. Compare the magnificent French quaffers.

    I once bought an expensive California red while holidaying in Hawaii and cursed the waste of money immediately. It had the bouquet of Dynamic Lifter and a taste that (I imagine) wasn’t a lot better. I let it breathe for an hour and gave up – it remained undrinkable. The following morning I rose and recalled the opened bottle on the kitchen sink. It had blossomed overnight into a beautiful wine which I consumed with my cornflakes and coffee.

  • ennui

    Via. Agree – two good ‘value’ pinots (to be distinguished from ‘budget’). I’ve noticed that Boccaccio Cellars has been plugging Hoddles Creek for sometime (at $19).

    HC Regarding your Californian red, personally I think I would have hung out for an early lunch, perhaps even brunch!!

  • Harry,

    Hard to find good and affordable pinot. Here are a few things to consider though.

    First – I’d second Via Collins excellent suggestion re the Hoddles Creek.

    Then – In the same price range (esp after 30% discount) would be the Saddleback Central Otago pinot noir and also the Ballewindi (from Vintage Cellars – quite a light and style though).

    If you can find it the Lowburn Ferry – from NZ is excellent, but closer to the $35 mark.

    The second wine from Ata Rangi – Crimson is also good, but in the $25-35 range depending on discounts.

    Slightly higher up in price but worth investigating is a mixed dozen from the Pinot shop in Tassie.

    I’ve included a link. I’ve been trying to resist the urge to buy, but look longingly at their mixed dozens every few weeks.


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