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Wine of the Week

A Devilishly Good Tasmanian Pinot

One of the hardest tasks in the wine world is to make good pinot noir. The only thing harder, perhaps, is to make good pinot noir at a reasonable price. That is why, when I come across a wine like this treat, the 42°S Pinot Noir from Tasmania at a mere bagatelle of $18, I fell like shouting the achievement from the rooftops.

In plain English the wine's name is Forty-Two Degrees South and herein lies its secret. This is the line of latitude upon which Tasmania sits, and it's a long way farther south, and therefore a lot cooler, than more established wine regions like McLaren Vale and Barossa. And to make good pinot you must have a cool climate.

Now this is not a great pinot in the style of Burgundy, but hey, what do you want at this price? Nor, thank God, is it like the creamy, over-oaked California versions. It is lighter even than Oregon pinot but does manage to capture the same rose-petal freshness of those excellent efforts.

Forty-Two has that perfect balance of ripe fruit and zingy acidity and even manages to capture hints of real pinot rusticality. Simply put, it's a pure, uncomplicated, and totally quaffable summer delight.

To find this wine near you, try

When to Drink: Now

Breathing/Decanting: Half an hour helps

Food Pairing: Pork dishes, chicken, cold meats, pasta

Grapes: 100% pinot noir

Appellation: Tasmania

Region: Tasmania

Country: Australia

Price: $18

Availability: Limited

Web Site:

Nick Passmore is an independent wine writer and consultant based in New York. For five years he contributed a widely read monthly wine column to, in addition to which his work has appeared in such publications as Forbes, Discover, Town & Country, the Robb Report, Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Sky, and Golf Connoisseur. He is currently artisanal editor for Four Seasons magazine and contributes a twice monthly column to He is also a judge at the annual Critics’ Challenge wine competition.

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