What is Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir (pronouced Pee-noh Nwahr) is a grape variety that inspires a real passion in those who love it. But what makes it so special? We've put together a little guide to help you understand this wonderful grape variety and find the right bottle for you.
What does Pinot Noir taste like?
Pinot Noir produces wines that are lighter and elegant with delicate fruit, soft tannins and high acidity. It delivers a wide and complex array of flavours, though you can expect to find red fruits such as:
Cherry, strawberry, raspberry and forest fruits
along with floral notes such as violets in younger wines and savoury, gamey flavours as it ages. It can be barrel-aged which will add flavours of cedar, vanilla and warm spice.
Where does it come from?
Pinot Noir is grown all over the world but is mainly associated with the Burgundy region of France. The finest examples of the grape are thought to come from the appellations of the Cote d'Or, and the Cote de Nuits. Prices here can be high as land is expensive and demand is high. When grown in warmer countries such as USA and New Zealand, it thrives best in cooler regions that allows for a longer ripening period to fully develop the complex flavours. In general, wines from cooler countries have lighter fruit, and higher acidity. The wines from warmer countries are riper and fruitier with higher alcohol. Some of the key regions to look out for are:
France - Burgundy | Germany - Pfalz | USA - Oregon | Chile - Leyda Valley | New Zealand - Central Otago
Where should I start with Pinot Noir?
There are some great value wines that offer light, young fruity examples of this grape that are perfect for getting to know this grape variety. From France, try wines from Languedoc-Roussillon region. Alternatively our bestselling example under £10 is from Romania.
Is Pinot Noir used in Sparkling wine?
Yes, Pinot Noir is one of the three key grapes in Champagne (along with Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay). The grapes are pressed and the juice has no skin contact so no colour is transferred into the wine. Pinot Noir adds depth and complexity to a blend.