Mary Dowey’s Bottle of the Week: A Smart Pinot Noir to See You Through the Summer

Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a juicy, moreish and organic Pinot Noir …

Gilbert & Gaillard Terre Sauvage Pinot Noir, Pays d’Oc 2018

It’s been interesting to see Pinot Noir hold its position as the most stylish and sought-after red grape variety. Whether it comes from Burgundy, New Zealand, California, Chile, South Africa, the south of France or (increasingly) Germany or Austria, Pinot suggests a degree of sophistication as well as lipsmacking allure.

The only problem is that it tends to be expensive: Pinot Noir is a finicky grape variety, neither easy to grow nor to vinify. To buy good Burgundy or exceptional NZ Pinot you’ll need to have a hefty wad of cash. Luckily other regions offer better value with the Languedoc leading the charge. Although southern French Pinots may not be the most complex to cross your palate, they can certainly be seductive charmers. Like this one, oozing freshly crushed raspberry and blackberry notes with a sprinkling of summer herbs.

Philippe Gilbert and Pierre Gaillard had been writing about wine for 25 years and tasting it rigorously (as all decent wine writers do) before they became involved in making their own wines. They seem to know what they’re doing. Certified as organic, this Pinot is nicely balanced with refreshing acidity and a gentle squeeze of tannin to make it food-friendly.

You’ll find it extremely versatile, tasting delicious by itself or with almost any kind of food – salmon, tuna, cold meats, grilled meats or punchy vegetable or egg dishes (like shakshuka). As fruity, unoaked young Pinots can withstand sizzling spice, this will also work splendidly with medium-hot curries. Whatever your accompaniment, serve the wine slightly cool.

Although ordering online is easy, I strongly recommend a trip to Whelehans, one of the most spacious and attractive wine shops in the country. Many of the wines are imported directly, offering outstanding value across a wide price range. Information is second to none, parking is easy and the restaurant offers tasty food as well as wines by the glass at knockout prices. Just bribe a non-drinking driver to take you there – it’ll be worth it.

Alcohol: 12.5%

From Whelelans, Loughlinstown and, €16.50


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