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Pinot Noir is like ‘’sex in a glass’’, referring to MS Madeline Triffon once said about this very dark blue colour grape. Pinot Noir originates from the Cote d’Or, Burgundy, France, but is now planted widely across the globe (USA, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina & South Africa).
Pinot Noir wine has a light red colour, but when smelled & drunk lots of flavours will evaporate. This is because of the low phenolic compounds within the grapes. phenolic compounds (anthocyanins & tannins) are tiny chemicals that influence the taste, colour & smell of a wine. The grape also has a thin skin, which makes it very vulnerable for deceases, but when produced the proper way, it’s a delicious wine.
Pinots are a true reflection of the region where they’re produced. It’s a grape which takes in all the characteristics of the soil, climate & terroir. Pinot Noir prefers a moderate to cool climate, but not too cool. The style of the winemaker is also of big influence. It all depends on the region.
As such, Pinot Noir can have a broad range of flavours. General speaking, Pinot Noir wines tends to have light to medium tannins, medium to high acidity & flavours of red or black fruit (strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blackcurrant), vegetal & animal notes (mushroom, wet leaves, meaty). In the hotter regions Pinot Noir will have more outgoing flavours & jammy flavours.
Pinot Noir is meant to be drunk when it’s young. Some winemakers though age their Pinot Noir, developing complexity. its common to age in oak, but the toasty & vanilla notes can easily overpower.
As the grape is planted worldwide, it has different names in different countries. Like in Germany a Pinot Noir is called Spatburgunder, Blauburgunder in Austria & Pinot Nero in Italy to name a few.
Pinot Noir is in many cases a 100% still wine. It’s hardly blended with other grape varieties, apart from the usage in the Champagne region. In Burgundy, you might see Pinot Noir blended with the Gamay grape variety, but this is hardly seen.
It’s a perfect food partner too! Light to go with salmon, elegant with white meat like chicken or duck, or softens the sweet flavours of a cranberry dessert. No wonder Pinot Noir is sex in a glass!