Recently, I have had a lot of cheap, in fact very cheap supermarket wine. As this experience wasn't always enjoyable, I set out to find an affordable wine available on the mass market that I could like, to show it can be done. Remembering some pleasant encounters with wines from the Chilean Cono Sur estate, I grabbed a bottle of their Pinot Noir, sold at £6.49. What can you expect from such a wine?
Making good Pinot Noir is not cheap, and if you consider taxes and duties in the UK this is a very low price. Certainly the cheapest I remember seeing around for a while.
The colour is reassuringly deep, the nose is fruit driven. You get plum, cherry and meaty strawberry - there is an almost savoury nutritiousness to the nose, enhance by bread/dough aromas and some sweet marzipan. On the tongue I found the wine a little sharp at first, but it mellowed with air.
It was less sophisticated to drink than the nose made me expect, but had decent acidity and fruit, especially an almost chocolatey strawberry with more cocoa in the finish; tannins are reasonably well integrated too. Most importantly it is pleasant to drink, not an intellectual challenge, but it also does not feel industrial or cheaply oaked to death either.
Yes, there are better Pinots than the Cono Sur, but show me one available in the UK at this price.