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WINE 101

Hi, I'm Pinot Noir

JANUARY 21, 2022

Pinot Noir is one of the world’s most deliciously drinkable red wines. While it’s easy to consume, it’s not so easy to grow. Cultivated in France for over 2,000 years, Pinot Noir requires a cool-climate to flourish. The grapes have thin skin and grow in tightly packed clusters. Besides France, Pinot Noir does well in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Australia’s Yarra Valley, and the Carneros, Central Coast, and Russian River Valley regions in California.

Unlike other reds, it’s difficult to characterize Pinot Noir in a few words. It’s the wine that most reflects its terroir. Therefore, its flavor varies depending on where it’s grown. Most Pinot Noirs are earthy with a light to medium body and red-black fruitiness. With lower tannins and high acidity, Pinot Noir is smooth and easy to drink. It can be enjoyed young or aged. Overall, it’s a complex and delicious wine.

Other things to know about Pinot Noir if your new to this popular variety:

  • Pinot Noir is an incredible food wine and can be paired with a wide variety of dishes, from duck and pork to salmon and swordfish.
  • Pinot Noir has more clones than any other grape – which can offer different taste profiles in the wine. Sometimes you see single-clone Pinots like those from Cambria, but winemakers also opt to blend multiple clones to add layers to the wine.
  • It is often used to make other types of wine. Many rosés are made from Pinot Noir, especially those from Oregon. It is also used to make Champagne and other sparkling wines, like the La Crema Brut Rosé.
  • Many well-known Pinot Noir producers also make Chardonnay. This is because the two grapes thrive in similar growing conditions. Check out the wines from WillaKenzie, Brewer-Clifton, Hartford Family Winery, and La Crema to see what we mean.
Two Glasses of Red Wine