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Pinot Noir

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Pinot noir is a varietal of red wine grape that belongs to the Vitis vinifera genus. It’s also possible that the name refers to wines made mostly from Pinot noir grapes. The name comes from the terms “pine” and “black” in French. The name pine refers to the grape variety’s densely packed, pine cone-shaped fruit bunches.

Pinot noir grapes are farmed all over the world, primarily in colder climes, and are most closely linked with France’s Burgundy area. Pinot noir is currently utilized in the production of red wines all over the world, as well as Champagne, sparkling white wines like Franciacorta in Italy, and English sparkling wines. The Willamette Valley in Oregon; the Carneros, Central Coast, Sonoma Coast, and Russian River AVAs in California; the Elgin and Walker Bay wine regions in South Africa; the Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Great Southern, Tasmania, and Yarra Valley in Australia; and the Central Otago, Martinborough, and Marlborough wine regions in New Zealand have all gained a reputation for red Pinot noir wines. Pinot noir is the most widely planted variety in Champagne and other wine areas, accounting for 38% of all plantings.

Pinot noir is a tough varietal to grow and make wine from. The grape’s proclivity for producing densely packed clusters leaves it vulnerable to a variety of viticultural dangers, including rot, which necessitates careful canopy control. Because of its thin skins and low quantities of phenolic compounds, pinot noir produces wines that are usually light-colored, medium-bodied, and low-tannin, and can go through stages of uneven and unexpected aging. Pinot noir wines contain red fruit scents of cherries, raspberries, and strawberries when they are fresh. Pinot noir has the ability to acquire more vegetal and “barnyard” notes as it matures, adding to the wine’s complexity.

The trendy red burgundy grape has the ability to produce wonderfully fragrant, wonderfully delicious statements of location, but it is frequently hesitant or unable to do so. Pinot Noir is sensitive to the predicted crop size, and many mediocre specimens demonstrate an over-demanding output. It ripens early (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are sometimes harvested at the same time in Burgundy), so it’s not ideal for hot climates where there’s little time for unique flavors to emerge before acid levels plunge. On the other side, fall rains can destroy Pinot’s thin-skinned berries, resulting in pale, contaminated wines in many of the colder locations where it flourishes. The life of a Pinot Noir producer is not easy.

With Gouais Blanc, this old eastern French vine is the father of a slew of other kinds, including Chardonnay, Gamay, and the Muscadet grape Melon de Bourgogne. Because it is so ancient, there are several well-known mutations such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Meunier, and there is a huge difference in wine quality across clones. One of several explanations for the vast variety in quality between distinct red burgundies and varietal Pinot Noirs from other regions is planting the incorrect clone in the wrong spot.

On the plus side, Pinot Noir is a grape that is extremely clear. It has the ability to convey the differences in terroir, or grape-growing environment, across adjacent vineyard plots. For example, the heady wines cultivated in Chambolle’s Les Amoureuses vineyard taste quite different from the magnificent output of Le Musigny vineyard next door, which is usually always richer, thicker, and longer-living.

Without a question, the best Pinot Noir is the best red Burgundy. In reality, the Grands Crus of the Côte d’Or, Burgundy’s stronghold, tower considerably higher above their international counterparts than Bordeaux’s finest wines do above, say, the greatest Cabernet Sauvignons of northern California. Other major crus are found above the communities of Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey St Denis, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, and on the famed tree-topped hill of Corton above Aloxe-Corton. Around Vosne-Romanée, the world-famous Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, and, on occasion, Richebourg, concentrate the highest concentration of vinous magnificence. Because the first two are manufactured in such limited quantities, their prices have always been sky-high. As I previously stated, Pinot Noir has a wide range of characteristics, but its most distinguishing feature is its charm. It’s usually fruity, fragrant, and eerie. Rather of dominating the palate, it dances on it. Heavy tannins and dark color are not required characteristics in a great Pinot Noir, especially in a young Pinot Noir. In reality, some of my favorite burgundies are vibrant, sprightly essences of place, sometimes just a generic village wine – one not labeled with the name of a grand cru or even a premier cru, but with the name of a hamlet.