All About Pinot Noir

Updated: May 18

Celebrated and recognized by wine enthusiasts all over the world, Pinot Noir is widely known for its high acidity, pale to medium color, light body, and low to medium tannins.



Grape Profile

Pinot Noir is a black grape variety with thin skin. It grows well in cool to moderate climates, producing red wines with fresh fruit flavors. This variety requires a lot of tender loving care from winemakers because it is highly susceptible to rot and disease. Its tight bunches limit airflow, causing rot and uneven ripening while its thin skin makes it prone to sunburn.

Taste Profile

The fruit shows strawberry, raspberry, and red cherry notes - fresh from cool climate regions to cooked in warmer temperatures. The best Pinot Noirs exhibit subtle aromas of smoke and cloves often derived from oak. When stored in the bottle for several years, tertiary flavors of forest floor and mushroom also develop - adding a new layer to the magic of this beautiful red wine.


Wine Style

Pinot Noir can stand alone as a single varietal wine but is versatile enough to be used in Rosé and sparkling wines such as Champagne.



Important Regions


France

Burgundy is the home and origin of Pinot Noir. The climate there ranges from cool in the north to moderate further south. Wines labeled Bourgogne AOC are best to drink young with their light to medium body, high acidity, low tannins, and fresh fruit flavors. Village wines in Cote d’Or (Gevrey-Chambertin AOC and Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC) and Cote de Beaune (Beaune AOC and Pommard AOC) offer more flavor intensity, complexity, and length as they are planted in more favorable conditions. The most sought-after wines come from prestigious Premier Cru and Grand cru vineyards situated on the south or southeast-facing slopes that give extra sunlight, allowing the grapes to fully ripen. With concentrated fruit flavors, subtle oak aromas, and eventual tertiary flavors of forest floor and mushroom - these wines boast high quality and rarity.


USA

California and Oregon are two of the most notable producers of this grape variety in the United States. The moderating influences of morning fogs and sea breezes prevent undesirable cooked flavors in the wine. Look to Carneros, Sonoma, or Santa Barbara County for the finest examples of Californian Pinot Noir.


New Zealand

The cool to moderate climates of Martinborough and Marlborough make for the ideal home ground for Pinot Noir production - the most widely planted black grape varietal in all of New Zealand. While the two aforementioned regions produce light and fresh Pinot Noirs, Central Otago offers ripe and powerful wines with pronounced red fruit, medium to full body, and medium tannins. The region enjoys sunny days and cool nights surrounded by a ring of mountains.



Volcanic Hills Pinot Noir

A medley of ripe cherries and juicy plum intertwined with hints of cocoa chocolate and lifted notes of wild herbs. Volcanic Hills Pinot Noir is a quintessential red from the renowned cool-climate wine region of Central Otago.


Fermented for 30 days and aged in French Oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months, this Pinot shows nice glimpses of vanilla oak and portobello mushrooms building up to a fine elegant finish.


The wine presents a delicate body with vibrant acidity and smooth tannins that will pair beautifully with just about anything on the table. Discover the world of Central Otago Pinot Noir with this $73 bottle.


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Pairing Suggestions

​Cheese and Charcuterie

​Smoked Tuna or Salmon

​Beef Barbecue

​Roast Turkey and Cranberry Sauce

​Peking Duck

Stuffed Mushrooms