I could lose my fortune to pinot noir. It’s the hardest grape to grow and pretty much the most expensive to buy.
I’ve carted huge maps of Burgundy from England to Melbourne, Sydney and back again and now to Johannesburg such is my love of this fickle grape.
Sadly, though, I’ve found that more than any other variety, pinot noir is ruined by a volatile fault, ethyl acetate.
Panting for pinot noir
My palate and nose have an unfortunate calibration that is supersensitive to ethyl acetate, the smell of overripe bananas or nail polish remover. It’s my superpower.
In contrast, being brought up shooting and hanging out in dank country English pubs, I can tolerate wet dog (or corked wine) quite well.
In fact, the saddle soap or sweaty horse type aroma in wine evokes fond memories of stable girls and teenage crushes rather than a distain for brettanomyces taint.
Nothing to see here!
Exploring South African wines, I’ve been searching for drinkable, fault free and good value pinot noirs.
And this one comes from one of South Africa’s and Elgin region’s cool climate wine pioneers.
Paul Cluver Village Pinot Noir 2016
Wine: Paul Cluver Village Pinot Noir 2016
Grapes: Pinot noir
Price: About R100. Available online.
It’s the Paul Cluver Village pinot noir 2016, which costs about R100 (AUD$10) a bottle.
My natural bias is towards lighter and medium bodied reds and this pinot is just that. It hints of red berries and plums and a bit of oak.
It is an uncomplicated and incredibly drinkable pinot noir to quaff now rather than to lay down for later.
You can’t fault me for that.
New to South Africa, I’m exploring the diversity of wine in the country at one bottle a week. English by birth, I’ve spent the last 20 years in Australia writing about food and drink for daily newspapers, glossy magazines and my blog, founded in 2005.
I now live in Johannesburg and am educating myself on all the amazing, new, interesting and avant-garde wines available in this country.
Note: I endeavour to pay for all wines myself and I practice ethical blogging.
Also published on Medium.