For some reason, my local Aldi has been light on higher-end wines recently — high-end for Aldi being the £9-12 bracket, in which they generally offer some really impressive stuff. After scouring the shelves for something out of the ordinary, I eventually found this Californian Redtree Pinot Noir hidden away by itself in a totally different section. Why do they do that?
The understated label drew me in, as did the cute blurb on the back. “Like the red oak that has stood sentry over our family home for generations, Redtree Pinot Noir is rooted in a strong sense of place,” it said. I’m a sucker for well crafted design and friendly-sounding copywriting.
Taste-wise, it’s not especially subtle. In fact, it’s a cherry and liquorice party on your tongue. On the nose, you’ll also find a hint of the earthy, woody aromas you normally associate with Pinot Noir. Left to open up, a layer of leathery, oaky smells emerge.
I found it richer, heavier and a little sweeter than a lot of Pinot Noirs, and for this reason I’d recommend serving it at room temperature, rather than lightly chilled.
First impressions were pretty good, but its sweet cherry flavours became a bit cloying after a while, and it started to remind me of the artificial, cough-syrup taste you get in some lesser Eastern European reds.
It’s hard to make good Pinot Noir at this price point (it’s not exactly easy at any price point, to be fair), but Redtree have given it a fair stab. A likeable, decent value, if ultimately unremarkable, expression of the grape. As an alternative, I’d recommend the Grande Alberone Zinfandel, which is the same price but offers slightly more depth of flavour.
3.5 NINJA STARS
Redtree Californian Pinot Noir 2016, £7.99. 13.5% volume