Wine the Third – Pinot Noir

The Grape

Pinot Noir is said by some to be one of the most difficult wines to grow and produce. The grapes don’t like cool weather, and get diseases and rot fairly easily. A main area for the grape is Burgundy in France.

The tastes of Pinot Noir are said to be red berry like. Think raspberries, cherries and strawberries. It’s meant to be a very fragrant wine with perfume like notes.


The Wine

The selected wine this week was ‘Surprisingly Good Pinot Noir’, bought from Morrisons for £5. It’s from Romania and says it’d be good with ribs. It’s 13% and you can barely taste that. What you do taste though are the cherry and raspberries in it. Much sweeter than the previous styles of wine I think, but still delicious. Highly recommend!

Till next time where we make a start on the white nobel grapes!

Week 1 – Cabernet Sauvignon

The Grape

So our first wine is a cabernet sauvignon, one of the basic three red noble grapes. But what is it I hear you cry? The history seems to date back to when there was an accident in 17th century France, where there was a vine grown from a crossing between a grape called ‘Cabernet Franc’ and another known as ‘Sauvignon Blanc’. Winemakers seemed to like this new grape as it had a thicker skin, so was quite durable, and seemed to grow with relative ease.

It really took off in the Bordeaux region of France (the southwest of France) where the winemakers liked the tannin (we’ll get to that one day) levels in the grape. As popularity grew for the wine, it started to get planted all around the world growing into a big grape and earning it’s place as one of the ‘Noble Grapes’.

The Wine

So what about the wine itself? Cabernet Sauvignon is supposedly known for 3 main flavours:

  1. Blackcurrent
  2. Black Berry
  3. Black Cherry

It generally has a ‘medium – heavy’ body and an alcohol percentage of 13.5% – 15.5%.

With those basics in mind this weeks ‘Wine at the Weekend’ is:

‘Isla Negra’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

This is a wine from Chile and cost £4.50 from Tesco. It’s 12% ABV so on the weaker side but hey, it’s cheap and cheerful. Initially couldn’t taste much, it seemed to be pretty bitter and not taste nice, leaving me to think this entire under £5 might be a bad idea, but I soon changed my mind. I’ve heard before about letting wine breathe by letting it stand in the air, but this made me understand it a bit more.

After pouring my glass and briefly forgetting about it while I was cooking dinner, I came back to it and on a further sip found the bitterness had lessened. In it’s place I was able to start to taste some of the fruitiness, predominantly blackcurrant. It wasn’t overpowering at all which was pleasant and soon I could taste a bit of cherry. Not sure if it was black cherry as not sure of the difference between that and the regular cherries bought at the supermarket, but it had a cherry taste for sure.

Overall it was a pretty nice wine once left for a while. A good start for the first week, and leaving me feeling excited for the project ahead with the next wine being a Merlot. See you next weekend!


The Start & Noble Grapes

So I know next to nothing about wine. I know there’s red, white and rose isn’t a mix of the two. I know a few names and if buying wine in the supermarket then I’ll aim for those recognisable words and avoid any ones I don’t understand.

My plan is to slowly work my way through learning wine here, and posting about it weekly in simple steps to help anyone else that wants to start learning about it as well with me. I don’t plan on spending a fortune in this endeavour so I’m aiming to keep the cost of a bottle of wine under £5 if possible and bought from a supermarket so anyone can try and find it as well! So if you get put off by the thought of there being so many different regions and where they all are or what they mean then join me as I try to get the basics and some of the history about it all.

Noble Grapes

So the first bit of information seems to be a concept called ‘Noble Grapes’. The simple part of this information is that these are basically the variety of grapes that are generally grown in all the big wine regions around the world. The more complex part is just how many varieties count, it seems to generally go from 6 up to 18 though and doesn’t seem to be agreed upon. So we’ll make this super simple and start with the basic six. At least till we’ve drunk our way through them and might have a bit of better knowledge about wine. So what are they? There’s three red and there’s three white:

Three Red:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Merlot
  3. Pinot Noir

Three White:

  1. Sauvignon Blanc
  2. Chardonnay
  3. Riesling

That’s not too complicated to start with, and it gives us our first goal. Drink the basic Noble Grapes. The first one to try will be posted tomorrow and will be a Cabernet Sauvignon from Tesco. I’ll post some information about the grape style itself and then a bit about the bottle I got, so until then!

If you have any ideas for improvement or any topics you want covered feel free to let me know and we’ll try and muddle our way through all the wine stuff together!