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The Lush flavors of a Pinot Noir

Pronounced as:PEE-noh Nuh-waar

A red-wine grape, derived from the French words for pine and black. It is a smaller grape that grows in tight pine-cone shaped clusters.

This grape is grown around the world in cooler climates and is one of the more difficult grapes to successfully grow. The thin skins of the grape and lower levels of phenolic compounds produce a lighter colored, medium bodied wine with lower tannins.

When Pinot Noir wine is young the wine typically has aromas of cherries, raspberries, and strawberries, as it ages it develops a vegetal or earthy component. All Pinot Noir wines are very reflective of the terroir they are grown in and can have a broad range of aromas, flavors, and textures. This is one of those wines which goes with almost any food. It is light enough for salmon and complex enough for rich meats. It pairs especially well with earthy, fatty dishes, like stroganoff. A nice Pinot Noir becomes the perfect hostess gift when you have no idea what is being served.

Pinot Noir is an ancient grape; and a prominent Roman agricultural writer described a similar grape in the 1st century, but its’ origin is currently unclear. Pinot Noir is very prone to mutation and there are thousands of clones of which more than 50 are recognized in France. Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are color mutations of Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir is also the backbone of Champagne, giving it structure and depth along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes, the Pinot Noir grape also helps in the aging ability of Champagne.

Around the world, with a few exceptions, Pinot Noir is labeled as Pinot Noir. Austrian’s and the Swiss label the wine as Blauburgunder (Blue Burgandy) and in Germany it is known as Spatburgunder (Late Burgundian). Italy labels their Pinot Noir as Pinot Nero.

Regional taste profiles

France Pinot Noir wines are very herbaceous, earthy, and light with faint floral fragrances, and smells of fresh cherries. German Pinot Noi

rs tend to offer raspberry and cherry up front with the earthy flavors later. Neither tend to have a lot of spice, which is found in other regions. The earthy component of Italian Pinot Noirs tends to have more smoke, tobacco flavors with hints of white pepper and clove and are darker and higher in alcohol.

California Pinot Noirs are much more intense in flavor, color, and aroma than European Pinot Noirs. Offering a bigger black cherry and raspberry flavors with hints of vanilla, clove and caramel. A similar flavor profile is found in Pinot’s from New Zealand with stronger spice flavors at the end. Oregon has become famous for Pinot Noir. These are lighter in color, and tarter in flavor than California. Flavors of cranberry, bing cherries and aromas of earth are prevalent.

As earlier mentioned, Pinot Noir wines are not all the same – similar but they can be very different in flavor, texture and aromas. MasterClass says this about Pinot Noir; “Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh, its flavors. They're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ... ancient on the planet.”

Enjoy a Pinot today!


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