We try lots of wine, at lots of different price points, and find it really easy to score inexpensive Grenache, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Tempranillo & Cabernet without any trouble at all. When we put the call out to our winemakers and wine reps, "hey were' chasing a few bottles of ___ at $___ within a few days they'll come in and show us a few and we'll pick our favourites then go on and spruik them to you guys, we then seek feedback and the cycle repeats. It's great fun. You'll note there, I intentionally left Pinot Noir out of that list. So many Pinot wines around that price point are underwhelming at best. We're not wine snobs, we know our shit, we don't sell shit, but will happily talk shit - in fact we pride ourselves on our shit talking ability. If the council would let us, we'd have a sign out the front that said "GOOD BOOZE HERE, GOOD BANTER HERE, CRAP PARKING HERE."
So, why is it that the cheaper Pinots hohum? I (ryan) have a theory about the imaginary quality tree. In order to back this theory up, I surveyed a few winemakers in a very scientific fashion and got it confirmed.
My survey results are here, and are displayed pretty poorly. I'm not very good at the written word - arguably no good at the spoken, either but more on that later.
The question was put to the winemakers in question simply; if you're making a decent wine for the couch or table at $20-30, out of the following varieties, surmise out of 10 what your experience in each bracket is like.
Demand - how easily can you sell a wine made from?
Supply - how easily can you get your hands on fruit suitable for this kind of wine?
Fruit cost - if you can find the fruit, what does it cost you? 10 expensive, 1 cheap.
Winery costs - how much labour, time, inputs, filtration, oak, etc in the winery does it cost to make vin like we explain?
So we can see a pretty clear pattern here; Pinot is expensive and fiddly. And if we have Pinot in the market in the $20-30 bracket, something has to give. Whereas the same money on any of the other varieties, goes a great deal further.
We do find a few ripper inexpensive Pinots from time to time, but they're few and far between and we'd love you to try this one from Yarrawood in the Yarra Valley, a family owned independent wine, made from estate grown fruit that's frankly, a freak. More on that below.