Here are six wines that will scratch that 'Pinot Noir itch', whilst taking a more intrepid look in to the current vinous landscape.
The first is in fact made from an offspring to Pinot Noir; Gamay. A grape that runs the gamut from light, bright and fruity to medium bodied, dark and brooding. It loves the pink-granite soils of Beaujolais and in the Cru of Fleurie, it produces particularly fine boned, and expressive wines leaning more towards the red fruit spectrum.
It may not need to be said again, but Australia makes excellent Grenache, often pitched as a warm climate pinot due to its ability to produce lively and deft wines from hotter vineyard areas. With the surplus of choices available, I couldn't help but choose Ochota Barrels 'Fugazi' from McLaren Vale. The vineyard is named after the post-hardcore / punk rock band of the same name and Taras Ochota has consistently proved its pedigree & class in producing fine wine.
Next, onto Nebbiolo; royalty in Italy's vinous landscape. It is responsible for some of the most age worthy and compelling red wines around. Most famously from the hills of Barolo & Barbaresco. A little further north-east near the Swiss border is the cooler more alpine vineyards of Valtellina. Here it goes by the name Chiavenesca and produces reds with a more delicate, lifted and aromatic profile.
Jumping to Sicily on the other end of Italy we've picked Aglaea's Etna Rosso 'Thalia'. A nervy Nerello Mascalese which pushes aromas of red flowers, spice and ripe red and black fruits.
Another perennial favourite of ours is the Mencia grape which is cultivated in North-West Spain. These wines push the darker more cherry / cranberry fruits and spices. I.e In a Victorian Pinot Noir context, it's more Mornington than Macedon in expression. There are some brilliant wines coming out from old, very low yielding vineyards. Our choice for this pack is from Descendientes de José Palacios.
Lastly, Limniona. Greece has been re-emerging into the global conscience with a raft of native varieties. A rising star among these and also possibly one of the rarest varieties you might come across is Limniona. There is currently less than 30Ha of producing vineyards. Christos Zafeirakis was the first to commit to this grape and also produces some of the country's most exciting wines.