Pinot Noir

Pee-no nwar

  • Parents & Origin: Pinot grape (Burgundy, France)
  • Grape: Red-skinned variety of the species Vitis vinifera
  • Flavors: Cherry, Raspberry, Clove, Mushroom, Hibiscus Notable
  • Regions: France, US, Germany, Moldova, Italy
  • Sweetness: Dry
  • Body: Medium
  • Tannins: Low
  • Acidity: Medium-High
  • ABV: 11.5-13.5%

The History of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes in the world, dating back over 1,000 years before Cabernet Sauvignon first hit the scene. The grape was regularly enjoyed in Roman times, amongst others that are now extinct. Columella describes the Pinot Noir grape in the 1st CE in Burgundy, France, but the vines grew as far north as Belgium.

Pinot Noir is specially primed for mutations. Due to the grape’s ancient origins, hundreds of unique variations populate different corners of the globe. More than 50 variations are officially recognized in France. The highest quality grapes can be found in France and Oregon, USA.

Interesting Fact: Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Blanc grapes all have the same DNA — they are just mutations of the Pinot grape. Even though Pinot Noir is red and Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc are whites!

Pinot Noir Food Pairings

Pinot Noir is unique in that it can be enjoyed with almost any food! The light alcohol content makes it a terrific option as a solo sipper or aperitif.

The Best Pinot Noir Food Pairings

Pinot Noir’s versatility means it works with a wide spectrum of dishes. 

It pairs nicely with cooked proteins, earthy (especially root) vegetables, and bright red to black fruits such as cranberries, cherries, and plums. Duck, salmon, stews, mushrooms, pork, and tomato-based sauces are especially lovely with your favorite Pinot Noir.

Food Pairings to Avoid With Pinot Noir

Since Pinot Noir boasts tremendous versatility, it’s difficult to find a bad experience with it. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid extra-fatty dishes and extremely spicy food, as these can overpower the red varietal’s subtle nature.

Pinot Noir Tasting Notes

Pinot Noir has no classic style, but a high-quality bottle should be medium-bodied, hold enough tannins to provide structure, have high acidity, and possess notes of berries, herbs, and florals.

Despite being on the lighter side of the red grape spectrum, Pinot Noir can thrive whether produced in new or old oak aging.

Pinot Noir’s Particular Soil

Pinot Noir is one of the most coveted wines in the world, but this doesn't mean it’s the easiest to grow. Pinot Noir is known for being especially temperamental in the red grape family.

For a successful vine, the soil should be well-drained and either limestone or clay-based. Growing the grape in fertile soils is possible, but this results in a higher alcohol level and a less distinct flavor palette. This is why inexpensive, and mass-marketed distributors prefer to grow their Pinot Noir in this heavily accessible soil.

Pinot Noir's Thin Skin

The Pinot Noir grape is extremely prone to sunburn and splits because it is so thin-skinned. It is also early-budding and, therefore, highly susceptible to late-season frosts. Pinot Noir loves a cool climate with long growing seasons. 

It would be unwise and difficult to grow the Pinot Noir grape in warm and sunny atmospheres.

Pinot Noir in a Nutshell

Since its establishment in Roman times, dating back to further than the 1st century CE, the love and dedication to Pinot Noir has been constant and spread throughout every region. 

Almost every winemaker, including the ones living in warm and sunny climates, attempts to grow their mutation of the Pinot Noir vine. Its notes of cherry, herbs, and florals impress every red wine enthusiast and make the wine a world fan favorite. Enjoyable with most foods or even on its own, you will never be disappointed with a versatile, delicate glass of Pinot Noir.

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