Pinot Noir has a beautifully rich and deep history, which complements the rich, deep taste of the wine. It dates back to the first century when Cistercian monks would plant the vines wherever they set up monasteries in Burgundy. The monks also took detailed notes about the vines, the soil and the growing conditions, so we know exactly how the wine developed right from the very beginning.
Today, pinot noir is grown and bottled all over the world. France is actually the second largest producer of the varietal, with Germany being the biggest producer and the USA coming in at a close third. It’s also produced by various countries in South America, as well as in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Best Pinot Noirs From Around the World
A popular wine that never seems to go out of fashion, pinot noir has its own special charm, and each bottle has its own unique complexities.
Let’s take a look at some of the best pinot noirs from around the world.
Cotes de Nuits Villages from Albert Bichot in Burgundy
Of course, this list has to start with a wine from the birthplace of pinot noir – it just wouldn’t be right otherwise.
The Bichots have been producing wine in the region since the 14th century, making them true experts on this varietal, and it shows.
The overall finish of this particular wine is silky and smooth. It has tasting notes of ripe raspberry and red currants that are matched with smoky and earthy notes. A bottle of this wine will set you back around £23.
Becker Family Pinot Noir from Weingut Friedrich Becker in Pfalz
Next, we head to Germany and the Pfalz region. This is one of the biggest exporters of fine wine in the world now and their Spätburgunder (the German word for Pinot Noir) is top-class.
The finish of this wine has a spicy feeling to it, which comes out of the earthy, forest notes in the base of the wine. When you drink it, you’ll get a nose of forest scents along with boysenberry, strawberry and that all-important ripe cherry.
This is also a very affordable pinot noir, coming in at around £12.
Vrede Pinot Noir from Storm Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Our third stop is South Africa and the iconic Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (meaning Heaven and Earth in Afrikaans). The valley is situated in the Western Cape, where most of the wines in South Africa are made.
This wine is one that you need to wait for and if you get a current vintage, you should definitely put it down for a few years. It has the classic earthy notes on the palate and the nose, but is differentiated by a distinct herbal note that comes straight away. The taste is full of red fruit, including plum, raspberry, cherry and wild strawberry.
You can pick up a bottle of this wonderful wine for around £36.
Pinot Noir from Giant Steps in the Yarra Valley
Staying in the southern hemisphere, we move to Australia next.
The Yarra Valley is a cool spot just outside of Melbourne where plenty of great wines are produced. The temperatures here are generally somewhere between that of Burgundy and Bordeaux, making it an ideal place to grow pinot noir grapes.
The Giant Steps version of this wine is elegant, with plenty of spice to provide a long finish. The palate has a mix of ripe and juicy red fruits to keep the wine alive. A bottle of this wine will set you back about £22.
Pinot Noir from David Ramey in the Russian Valley
Let’s head over to the USA now and into California’s famous Russian Valley.
The David Ramey farm is the original producer of Burgundy-style pinot noirs from the region and these wines have become highly sought after all over the world.
The wine maker uses grapes grown from various sections around the valley to produce a complex wine that is full of rich red fruits and subtle tannins. There is also a hint of tobacco that enriches the nose of the wine.
This pinot noir costs around £36 a bottle.
Pinot Noir from Montsecano in the Casablanca Valley
Finally, we head down to South America and the Casablanca Valley in Chile, where some of the finest wines on the continent are produced. The valley is cooled by strong sea breezes and the Montsecano farm is situated on soil that is rich in granite.
The wines all feature low sulphite levels and are also aged in what they call concrete eggs. This all leads to a delicate wine that is supple and refined. You get all the classic red fruit flavour notes and hints of earthiness to balance things out.
You can enjoy a bottle of the Montsecano pinot noir for around £30.
Which Brand Of Pinot Noir Is The Best?
Since wine is quite a personal and subjective thing, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who makes the absolute best pinot noir in the world. However, you can’t really beat the originals and many of the farms still creating the varietal in Burgundy will usually top the charts and the awards each year. However, it is good to spread your wings and try wines from around the world – sometimes new places can bring new ideas to a classic.
What Is The Best Cheap Pinot Noir?
For the best priced pinot noir, you’ll probably have to look at the Californian wines. They tend to give you the most refined wines at the most affordable prices – somehow, they get the balancing act just right even after you take importing into account.
Something like the pinot noir from Laetitia Estate in the Central Coast gives you classic tasting notes but is completely affordable at around £14.
Whether you opt for any of these six wines or expand your horizons and taste other pinot noirs, you’re sure to fall in love with its silk tannin taste and bright acidity.