Getting To Know Pinot Noir

By: Louise Truswell

Pinot Noir is a fiddly little grape to grow but when itís at it best it produces some of the most esteemed and expensive wines in the world. Read on learn more about this exciting little grape.

Styles of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape and it produces a light to medium bodied red wine. Depending on where it is grown, styles range from red fruit through to back cherries accentuated by spices and flavours of mushrooms.

Prestigious Burgundy
The classic region for Pinot Noir wines is Burgundy in France. Some of the most prestigious reds wines in the world, such as those from Gevrey Chambertain, Vosne-Romanee and Chambolle Musigny, are all made from here and from the Pinot Noir grape. Wines from these wine-making areas are mostly barrel aged and are fine wines of great finesse and expense.

However, if your pockets arenít deep enough for top end Burgundy, there are less prestigious, better -value versions available. Bourgogne Rouge AC is also made from Pinot Noir and also from Burgundy but the difference is that it doesnít have such a posh name attached. Try wines from here or the lighter, yet lower cost, versions from across the valley in the Jura.

Pinot Noir Around the World

Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red grape in New Zealand and here it shows great promise to rival the best from Burgundy. Pinot Noir from New Zealand is generally fuller bodied and has intense fruit, with lots of spicy notes. Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago are the key Pinot Noir growing regions in New Zealand.

If you like you red wine very fruity but with soft tannins, look to Pinot Noir from Germany. It is the most widely planted grape here and is known as Spatburgunder.

Pinot Noir is also grown in the USA, Chile and Argentina and these countries offer great value alternatives to Pinot Noir from Burgundy. The style of wine tends to be darker and richer.

Champagne and Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir isnít just famous for its role in Burgundy reds. It is also one of the three permitted grapes used to make Champagne. More Pinot Noir grows in Champagne than in any other region of France and it can be blended with Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, or used on its own making Champagne called Blanc de Noirs.

Tricky Little Grapes

Pinot Noir can be a tricky little grape to grow. It requires a relatively cool climate in which to grow Ė anything too hot and this results in over ripe and jammy wines. Pinot Noir is prone to almost every disease going and it has a disliking to frost. Not only that but it is also an awkward little grape to vinify. Skilled and careful handling is required to turn this fiddly little grape into the fantastic wine loved by so many of us.

Partnering Pinot Noir and Food

The soft, smooth nature of Pinot Noir makes it a good match for simple but rich dishes such as grilled salmon or plain roast beef. Youíll find that the flavours will also go well with any mushroom based dish. Many French dishes such as Coq au Vin or Boeuf Bourguignon are based on Pinot Noir so these make a great food and wine combination.

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Louise Truswell works in the wine industry. She has been writing about wine for couple of years and likes writing about Pinot Noir. To find out more and to choose from a selection of Pinot Noir, visit -

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