Pinot Noir makes some of the world's greatest wines - in fact, it's the principal red grape in the famed vineyards of Burgundy and Champagne.
Notoriously difficult to grow, it's not the most widely planted variety. However, some New World regions, particularly Oregon here in the United States and Central Otago in New Zealand, are producing some spectacular examples.
Being thin-skinned, Pinot Noir makes a noticeably pale wine, but one with intense perfume and flavor. When young, its aromas range from freshly crushed raspberries or strawberries to plum jam. With age, Pinot Noir often shows violets, game or truffles.
When destined to be a still red wine, it is rarely blended. In Champagne though, it's often blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to give the world's finest sparkling wines.
Satin-textured with ethereal notes of strawberry, raspberry and black cherry
Wines to Try
Laetitia Estate, William Knuttel, Flynn Vineyard, Maison Roche de Bellene, Forrest Estate, Beaton Track
Burgundy, Champagne, Central Otago, Marlborough, Sonoma, Oregon, Casablanca
Pinot Nero, Pineau, Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder
- Red Burgundies from the Côte de Nuits to the Côte de Beaune, are labeled according to the village or even vineyard of origin. 'Pinot Noir' is rarely seen on the label.
- Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties to be cultivated for the purpose of making wine.
- Pinot Noir sales rocketed in 2004 following the release of the Oscar-winning wine comedy, Sideways.
- If you like Pinot Noir, you might also like: Beaujolais (made from the Gamay grape, and known for its soft, seductive character), or Syrah, known for its opulent, smooth texture.