Pinot Noir puts Burgundy on the wine map
The name Pinot (Pine) Noir (Black) was given to the grape because the grape cluster looks like a black pine.
The color of a Pinor Noir wine is often quite transparent, but light berry red or blue when young, and more brick orange red or brown when aged.
Pinot Noir originates from Burgundy.
Burgundy is located in the North East of France which translates into "cool climate" or "slow ripening".
Pinot Noir thrives in cooler regions all over the world.
Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape and, as a consequence, the color of the wine is
light red. Thin skin means also low tannins.
The grape belongs to a large family of wines including Pinot Blanc (Pinot Bianco) and Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio).
Pinot Noir is notorious as a ‘difficult’ grape. It grows in thick clusters, which makes it vulnerable to rot, mildew and other diseases.
Pinot Nero. Pinot Negro. Spätburgunder. Blauburgunder.
Pinot Noir is believed to be a very old grape. It existed for at least 2000 years.
Probably due to this longevity, Pinot Noir is particularly prone to mutations and there are hundreds of different clones worldwide.
Pinot Noir (Pinot Nero in Italy), Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Précoce (Frühburgunder) and Pinot Gris are mutations of the same "Pinot" variety.
Pinot Noir is the parent of grape varieties such Gamay, Aligoté, Gouais Blanc and Chardonnay.
Pinot Noir likes the limestone soils of Burgundy.
This limestone originated in the tropical sea that covered Burgundy 150 million years ago. In fact you can still find many shell fossils.
The hills which stretch from Chablis to Mâconnais, while passing the Côte de Nuits, the Côte de Beaune and the Côte Chalonnaise, were created and shaped by the formation of the Alps and the glacial periods which followed.
Burgundy’s subsoil is primarily composed of marl and limestone of Jurassic marine origin.
All the red Burgundy Grands Crus are located on the Côte de Nuits, except Corton Grand Cru, the only one which is located on the Côte de Beaune.
In Burgundy, when we talk about "climat", we do not raise our eyes to the sky, we drop them on the ground. (Bernard Pivot, writer).
Climat is a parcel of vineyard, carefully delimited and named, which has a long history and special geological and climatic conditions. Each wine from a "climat" has its taste and its place in the hierarchy of wines (Regional Appellation, Village, Premier Cru, Grand Cru).
The Climats are over 1000 and the most famous are: Chambertin, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Montrachet, Corton, Musigny.
Clos is a Climat surrounded by walls. In the Middle Ages a "clos" belonged to a monastery or a rich family.
This red grape can be vinified in red, rosé and sparkling wines.
We all know that Chardonnay is the main grape for the Champagne production, but, it is Pinot Noir the most planted grape in the Champagne region and it is a major ingredient in many Champagne and Franciacorta sparkling wines and especially in Blanc de Noir which means white (wine) made from 100% black (grapes).
Champagne producers press the skin off the grapes right away to not retain color and tannins. By quickly separating the skins from the juice you prevent the black pigment to be transferred to the wine.
Some producers make Pinot Noir with a technique called "Whole Cluster Fermentation", where the entire grape bunch, including the stems, goes into the fermentation. This adds extra tannins to the wine.
The most famous (and expensive) Pinot Noir wines in the world come from Burgundy in France.
In Austria, most of the Pinot Noir is produced in Burgenland wine region, South of Vienna. Best kept secret: lot of quality for the money.
In Germany, Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red grape.
In Italy, most Pinot Noir is planted in Trentino, Alto Adige, Friuli, and Veneto.
Pinot Noir also plays a main role in Franciacorta.
In Switzerland, Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red grape.
Pinor Noir trives in the cooler climates of Argentina, especially in Patagonia.
In Australia, Pinot Noir is growing in several areas both in West and South.
Pinor Noir trives well in the cooler climates of Chile, where it can deliver some of the best value in the world.
Pinot Noir is New Zealand's second largest grape variety (after Sauvingnon Blanc).
The cold climate of Oregon and North California is perfect for growing Pinot Noir.
Best regions are the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Sonoma County, Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Barbara in California.
In South Africa, Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red grape.