£20 on offer, Roberts & Speight
In the spirit of the belt-tightening month, I was going to recommend a cheerfully cheap wine again this week and save the Pinot as a Valentine's Day suggestion, but I'm not going to hold back when there's a half-price offer around. I've always enjoyed La Masía's fleshy, fruit-rich style, but what I also like is the way it seems to have become a little lighter and less oaky, all the while keeping its defining cherry, pomegranate and cranberry fruit, together with spice, incense and umami flavours, a hint of orange and fine tannins. Looking at the spec sheet, I'm not sure the figures bear me out: the alcohol is 14.5% and the wine is still bottled (unfined and unfiltered) after nine to ten months in French oak. In fact, the proportion of new barrels has increased slightly, from 32% in 2010 to 40% in 2014, but the coopers and forests have changed marginally, which could be significant. Or it may just be a case of maturity of vines and of winemaking. The vineyard is in Green Valley, the coolest, foggiest area of Russian River, and is organic, biodynamic and naturally low-yielding. It was first planted in 1986 and Marimar released her debut Don Miguel Pinot Noir in 1994. I drank the 2014 with roast red peppers, a gratin of cavolo nero and stilton and pigeon breasts deglazed with a splash of raspberry vinegar and port. It was good with all of them, taking sweet, caramelised, bitter, blue cheese, dark game flavours and reduced pan juices in its stride, so you can be fairly relaxed about what you serve it with. 14.5%.
Marimar Estate La Masía Pinot Noir Don Miguel Vineyard 2014, Russian River Valley, California, US
£20, Roberts & Speight (free delivery on orders over £50 in the local area and orders over £200 in the rest of mainland UK, excluding the Scottish Highlands; otherwise, it's £9.99); £37.35, WineDirect; £38.47; vinissimus.co.uk