Pinot noir has the honour of being one of the most sought-after yet seemingly rare dry red wines in the world.
Romanticized by wine enthusiasts and popular culture in the form of movies like Sideways, Pinot noir has been at the height of the wine-drinking world for many years now, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
What Is Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir is a dry red wine made specifically out of the Pinot noir grape. This is a very interesting grape, as it is incredibly difficult to grow and only favours very particular environments.
The best Pinot noir is considered to be prized for its delicate finesse and its ageing properties. It’s a truly special wine and definitely to be reserved for those special occasions.
How To Pronounce Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir may seem like a mouthful to pronounce, but in practice, it’s quite simple. Pinot is pronounced as “pee-no”. Its important to note that the “t” at the end of Pinot is silent.
The pronunciation for noir is “nuh-waa”, some tend to pronounce the “r” at the end of noir, but this is not standard practice. Put together, Pinot noir sounds like “pee-no nuh-waa”.
Where Is Pinot Noir From?
Pinot noir, being notoriously difficult to grow, can only be cultivated in very particular environments. Originally from the Burgundy region of France, Pinot noir is currently cultivated in quite a few countries.
While there are a lot of countries that do currently cultivate the Pinot noir grape, it’s worth noting that the cultivations are usually small as the grape is known to be temperamental.
- Argentina – The Patagonia, Neuquén and Rio Negro regions are all known for having the ideal climate for Pinot noir grapes. Production from Argentina is not the largest, but it does yield some fantastic quality Pinot noir.
- Australia – Australia may not seem to have great conditions for the Pinot noir grapes, but they do have several vineyards scattered across Australia dedicated to this one grape style. Most notably is New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
- Austria – Austria cultivates the Pinot noir grape for the production of Blauburgunder and Pinot noir.
- Canada – Canada is one of the first countries outside of France to start cultivating the Pinot noir grape. The environment and temperature range are perfect for this cold-loving grape.
- France – The home of Pinot noir, France offers some of the best grapes and best Pinot noir wine available.
- USA – USA has a surprisingly large cultivation of Pinot noir, raking just behind France in the sheer size of cultivation.
- Italy – Italy, like France and USA, has a large cultivation of Pinot noir grapes, although not just for Pinot noir wine. Like Austria, Italy produces a larger variety of wine from these grapes.
- Others – Other notable mentions are Chile, the UK, Germany, Moldova, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland.
How Is Pinot Noir Made?
Pinot noir is made in the traditional method of dry red wine, with a single fermentation process, after which the wine is pressed and aged in wooden barrels.
What Does Pinot Noir Taste Like?
Pinot noir is an interesting tasting wine as the taste will be greatly affected by the climate in which the wine is grown in, specifically, warmer or cooler environments.
If you are going into your first Pinot noir wine tasting, you can expect a complex range of flavours including cherries, raspberry and mushroom with lower tones of vanilla and an earthy flavour. Be sure to note what kind of wood the wine was aged in, as that will play an important role in the final taste of the wine.
Is Pinot Noir Dry Or Sweet?
Pinot noir is almost always made in a dry red wine style but often offers some sweetness to the flavour profile. The sweetness of Pinot noir stems from the fruit-forward flavours. If you do not enjoy dry wines, you will likely not enjoy Pinot noir.
Is Pinot Noir Fruity?
Pinot noir wine is especially fruity in its flavour, more specifically, red fruit. Strawberry, cherry and raspberry are all prominent flavours of Pinot noir. Versions of Pinot noir from different regions and different climate conditions will have different flavour profiles, but will still retain a fruit-forward flavour.
How To Drink Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is best served out of a large, bell-shaped glass to truly enjoy the aroma, and it does not need to be decanted beforehand. Be sure to store any unfinished wine in the fridge and finish within three days, as after three days, oxidation will start to damage the wine.
Is Pinot Noir Better Warm Or Cold?
The common practice to serve all red wine at room temperature is a bit misleading, as room temperature can vary pretty wildly depending on your location and current season.
Almost all red wines, Pinot noir included, are best served slightly chilled or specifically at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or 12 degrees Celsius.
What Food Does Pinot Noir Pair With?
As Pinot noir is more complex and fruit-forward than other red wines, it does not easily fall to the typical red wine and red meat pairing. For its fruity and subtly sweet nature, Pinot noir is best paired with seafood, specifically, the fatty kind.
Salmon, trout, mackerel, lobster, scallops and shrimp all pair fantastically with Pinot noir, although it is not above the traditional red meat pairings.
Is Pinot Noir Healthy?
Pinot noir is high in antioxidants and low in sugar, making it a great wine for anybody who is health-conscious. Increased intake of antioxidants are generally not the reason we enjoy wine, but it is good to know there are some potential health benefits coming from Pinot noir.
Why Is Pinot Noir So Popular?
Pinot noir is so popular simply because it is that good.
The complex flavour palate is second to none in the wine world, with a smooth body and fantastic ageing. It is unfortunate that the grapes are notoriously difficult to grow, as the ever-increasing demand and difficulty in growing make Pinot noir quite an expensive wine.