For a fellow who grew up in country Queensland, I’m sometimes accused of having expensive tastes.

When it comes to wine, this may be partly true. A few weeks back, the bean-counters at work nabbed me for slipping a decent Burgundy on to the bill for lunch with a business contact.

My explanation – that my original preference was a more affordable Martinborough pinot noir but the restaurant was out of stock – didn’t quite cut the mustard.

It is true, though, that the price of pinot noir is hitting heady heights – at the 2023 vintage, the average price paid for pinot grapes in Australia was the highest of any variety at $1386 a tonne, according to Statista. That’s almost twice the price paid for shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.

But there is still good value to be had if we look in the right places. The Australian Wine Club has collected for our dozen deal of the week four excellent pinot noir from four pinot-friendly locations: Central Otago, Tasmania, the Adelaide Hills and Orange, in the high country of central NSW.

Flying the flag for Orange is Rowlee Wines, a boutique producer established just over 20 years ago and run by winemakers Nicole Samodol and James Manny.

Nicole’s parents, Nik and Deonne Samodol, planted an 8ha vineyard sitting at 950m above sea level in the foothills of Mount Canobolas, with the aim of producing small batches of premium cool-climate pinot noir and chardonnay.

Nik, of Italian heritage, arrived in Australia as a three-year-old refugee with his parents fleeing Yugoslavia after WWII. As a young man, he and wife Deonne returned to Croatia as newlyweds and fell in love with the magic of wine after staying on an uncle’s vineyard.

“Pinot noir has really been what had excited us from the beginning,” Nicole says. “We have six different clones of pinot growing on the vineyard – we ferment them all separately in small batches and they are then blended into our Single Vineyard Pinot Noir.

“We are looking for elegance and drinkability – beautiful fruit, great natural acid and a good fresh finish.”

The Samodols planted their vineyard in 2001, only a few years after Orange was officially recognised as a wine region. The region, sitting on a contour of between 600m and 1150m above sea level, is winning a stellar reputation for producing premium cool-climate wines, particularly pinot noir and chardonnay.

The Rowlee Single Vineyard Pinot Noir sits nicely in our mixed pinot dozen. And at just $29.99 a bottle, we should avoid any tangles with bean-counters.


Rowlee Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021

Subtle raspberry and red cherry aromas, with touches of spice, bergamot orange and vanilla lift from the glass. Raspberry, strawberry and sour cherry flavours, with a sprinkle of vanilla oak and spice, flow through the palate, supported within a medium tannin structure. Bright acidity on the finish. Matured in French barriques for nine months.

Stylish, easy-drinking charm. 92 points from the Halliday Wine Companion. 12.4% alc; RRP $35 a bottle.

SPECIALS $29.99 a bottle in any dozen; $29.99 a bottle in pinot noir dozen.


Corryton Burge Kin Cornelian Bay Tasmania Pinot Noir 2023

Sourced from a vineyard on Tasmania’s Derwent River. Seductive aromas of ripe red cherries and spice, raspberry and vanilla, with hints of white pepper and truffle. Deep generous flavours of sour cherries, raspberries and strawberries combine to deliver a beautiful mouth-filling experience. Fine oak and soft tannins.

A cracker. 95 points from Wine Pilot. 13.5% alc; RRP $45 a bottle.

SPECIALS $36.99 a bottle in any dozen; $29.99 a bottle in pinot noir dozen.


Invivo Pinot Noir Central Otago 2021

From New Zealand’s highly regarded pinot region comes this bright, accessible offering, showing aromas of dark cherry, plums, thyme and spice. Cherries, cinnamon and a touch of pepper are woven around a web of fine tannins.

94 points from Sam Kim at Wine Orbit. 14.5% alc; RRP $28.99 a bottle.

SPECIALS $26.99 a bottle in any dozen; $29.99 a bottle in pinot noir dozen.


d’Arenberg The Feral Fox Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2021

Sweet and savoury nose screams pinot noir: herbs, mushroom, red cherry, rhubarb, bay leaf and a slice of rhubarb lead to sweet cherry flavours on the palate, woven together with pomegranate, strawberries, vanilla and a touch of truffle. Dusty elegant tannins hold the show together nicely.

91 points from Nick Stock, James Suckling Wine Ratings. 14% alc; RRP $34 a bottle.

SPECIALS $29.99 a bottle in any dozen; $29.99 a bottle in pinot noir dozen.

PINOT NOIR DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $29.99 a bottle. SAVE $69 a dozen.

Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.