Well… that was a pleasant surprise.. Cono Sur ‘s “Bicicleta” Pinot Noir, Chile

Is it April Fools’ Day? A decent Pinot Noir for under $11? Well, I have to say that we were surprised. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Cono Sur’s Bicicleta Pinot Noir.

2011 Cono Sur (Connoisseur… get it?) “Bicicleta” Pinot Noir, Chile $10.95
When one judges wine at competition level there is always a collective weary sigh when it is revealed that one’s panel has the unenviable task of tasting a flight of “Pinot Noir Under $15”. Any bottling with even a semblance of Pinot character or typicity scores highly as… well… I think that it is nigh impossible to capture anything close to the essence of Pinot Noir at that particular price point. I’m not being a snob here, it’s just a fact.

To quote Wikipedia:

Typicity (French typicité, Italian tipicità) is a term in wine tasting used to describe the degree to which a wine reflects its varietal origins, and thus demonstrate the signature characteristics of the grape from which it was produced, i.e., how much a Merlot wine “tastes like a Merlot”. It is an important component in judging wine competition when wines of the same varietal are judged against each other.[1]\

And so it was with considerable surprise I opened a freshly couriered bottle of Cono Sur’s Biceleta Pinot Noir for my monthly Chatelaine column, wholly believing that most of it would end up in the stock I was roasting bones for, and amazingly it ticked all of the correct boxes.

Delicious Strawberries. Check.

Delicious Raspberries. Check.

Delicious Candied Red Cherries. Check.

A pleasant floral element. Check.

Decent Acidity. Check. (Probably adjusted, but what the hell)

Soft supple tannins. Check. (Serious tannin management methinks)

A wad of toasty oak. Check. (40% from barrels apparently… Hmmmm… I don’t know about that)

Reasonable Alcohol (13%). Check.

And there you have it.

A Pinot Noir for those nights when Côtes de Nuits just doesn’t cut it.

It is textbook modern New World Pinot Noir at a seriously wallet-friendly price. It’s not going to be a wine to philosophise over, but then what do you expect for $11?

I think that it may be one of the best value reds I have tasted in quite some time.
3.5 apples out of 5

P.S. According to my sources it will be available at the LCBO sometime very soon.

P.P.S. According to my sources the LCBO website is out of date.

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he didn’t pick up on the Connoisseur pun until this morning.