Alarm bells tend to ring when a wine pours out the colour of fake blood in a 1960s Dracula film. You know, that translucent, technicolour post-box red. This Pinot Noir, from big-name New Zealand brand Villa Maria, is one of those wines. It’s just a bit artificial looking. And with a mouth-puckeringly unripe cherry/redcurrant flavour to match its supercharged colour it tastes, well… pretty artificial too.
Despite its initial red-fruit dominance, some mildly interesting earthy elements do pop out if you leave it to breathe for 20 minutes. But the fruit still tastes tart, like an August blackberry (freshly picked August blackberries pictured in my living room, above).
I’ve had mixed feelings about Villa Maria in the past. They do some fairly decent (if headache-inducing) Chardonnay, but their Sauv Blanc is (although very popular) not to my taste. A 25% reduction lured me, in a moment of weakness, into picking this one up at Tesco. I don’t think I’ll be tempted again.
At the reduced price of £9 it tastes a little overpriced. At its original price of £12 — forget it.
2.5 NINJA STARS
Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2016: 13% volume. £9 (reduced at the time of purchase from £12) from Tesco, but also widely available elsewhere.