Pierre Henri Pinot Noir
More than 50 years ago, winemaker Pierre Degroote left his home country of Belgium and settled in southern France's Languedoc region. At the time the local winemaking scene wasn't much to write home about. Poor-quality bulk wines were the norm, and all of the 'serious' winemakers were moving north to Burgundy or Bordeaux.
\nBut Degroote saw something special here. The Mediterranean climate was perfect for grape growing, offering an enviable combination of sun, wind, and temperature stability. Many of the vineyards were ancient – some of them dating back to Roman times – which translated to rich, complex flavors in the grapes. Indeed, the region's main downfall was simply a lack of good transportation; after all, the only way to get attention for the quality of your wines is to be able to get them into consumer's hands.
\nSo Degroote took a risk, believing that once the region's infrastructure improved, winemakers would start flocking to the Languedoc. And guess what? He was right. Today Languedoc wines are some of the hottest on the market, and famous vintners from all over the world are buying up estates here. But because Degroote has owned his vineyards since long before the market boomed, he is able to produce world-class wines at bargain basement prices!
\nOur favorite has always been his Pinot Noir, which offers the elegance and freshness of classic Burgundy with the ripe, fruit-forward flavors that only a warm climate can produce. And his 2017 vintage is one of the best yet, offering complex aromas of red berries and purple flowers that lead into flavors of fresh blueberry, spiced cranberry, and subtle earth on the long, mineral-driven finish. No, it's not Burgundy, but it's the closest thing we've found in a sub-$15 bottle for a long time!