The Grape Variety Series - Pinot Noir
Labeled as the wine lover’s grape, pinot noir is praised for its elegant, light body and ethereal aromas and flavors. It’s a tricky variety to work with thanks to its thin skin and temperamental nature, but when done well, it makes some truly outstanding wines.
A timeless style
Red cherry, lavender, cinnamon spice and earth are classic tasting notes for pinot noir. When aged, it softens to a leafy, earthier pour. In some regions, pinot can take on a more purple fruit and spicy feel, showcasing a slightly richer style. Get to know it better by doing your own tasting tour of pinot noir wines from the various famous regions across the world.
How you drink pinot has much to do with where it has come from. The classic, lighter, Burgundy style loves charcuterie, duck and some nutty, hard cheeses. While fuller-bodied styles such as those from New Zealand (try Cloudy Bay) can take richer, bolder flavors, such as roast lamb with berry reduction or something similar. All styles can age beautifully and are well worth trying a little older.
Here‘s a tasting tour of some of the best places for great pinot noir:
Burgundy, France. Home to some of the world’s most prized pinot noir, Burgundy pinot is pale and light-bodied compared to styles in other countries and regions. Think fresh crunchy cherries, forest fruit compote and earth with a waft of lavender.
New Zealand. This New World country has taken pinot noir to its heart and is now producing world-class examples. The style here is darker and richer than in France, with plum and raspberry notes, bergamot flavors and often with a spicy kick.
Try: Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir
Made by the first iconic wine producer in New Zealand, Cloudy Bay’s pinot noir is plummy, soft and easy drinking.
California. The west coast of the USA, particularly Sonoma, makes soft and velvety pinot with more body than Burgundy, with plenty of ripe, red, strawberry fruit.
Champagne. Did you know that pinot noir is one of three famous grapes that make the famous sparkling wines of champagne? If you’ve ever had Blanc de Noirs, chances are that it will be mostly, if not entirely, made from pinot noir grapes.
Try Mercier Blanc de Noirs Champagne
The Mercier Blanc de Noirs champagne is made with 80% pinot noir. It’s fine and elegant with a hint of red apple skin and brioche. Cheers!