by Tim Atkin

Is this the best value Pinot in the world?

Germany? Are you sure?

Drinkable cheap Pinot Noir is almost an oxymoron. We Pinotphiles are all too aware that we need to pay over the odds to get a fix of our favourite grape. Decent examples tend to start at £12 and even then buying Pinot can be something of a crap shoot. Chile and New Zealand make a few decent ones under a tenner, but if you want the complexity that is the variety’s hallmark, you need to be prepared to break into a £20 note at the very least.

Or maybe not. After last year’s London Pinot Noir tasting, when Germany showed brilliantly against the rest of the world, the country has done it again, this time at £8.99. The 2011 Palatia Pinot Noir (£8.99, Marks & Spencer) is made by Gerd Stepp (who used to be an M&S buyer) and Matthias Gaul and it’s the best sub-£10 example I’ve had in a very long time: soft, fragrant and supple with a touch of oak and beguiling wild strawberry fruit. It scores on the green front, too, thanks to its light bottle.

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