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French Pinot Noir

Learn about French Pinot Noir, common tasting notes, defining characteristics and more ...

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Pinot Noir is grown in many French regions but the greatest concentration is in the Champagne region. Here it is a key component, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, in the region’s famous sparkling wines, simply called, Champagne. On the eastern border with Germany, in Alsace, winemakers utilize it for both still and Sparkling Wines. In the Loire Valley it is used for red and rosé wines, namely in Sancerre. The Jura and Savoie also produce Pinot Noir, and small amounts are grown in higher altitude sections of southern France.

But the pinnacle of French Pinot Noir is unquestionably Burgundy, called Bourgogne locally. All top Burgundy reds are 100% Pinot Noir, with the finest—the Grand Crus—considered among the world’s most prestigious wines. The first recorded mentions of Pinot Noir in Burgundy date to the 14th century, though viticulture has been in the region for well over 2,000 years. For centuries Bourgogne was controlled by monastic orders that not only worked the vineyards but took meticulous notes about the wines that resulted from individual parcels. This detailed record-keeping led to the recognition that wines vary depending on the source of the grapes—even if made by the same person in the same way—and that certain sites consistently tend to produce superior wines.

These observations ultimately led to the designation of 33 Grands Crus (and over 600 Premiers Crus) vineyards. Most of these are in the small sloping area known as the Cote de Nuits, widely thought to be the ancestral and spiritual home of Pinot Noir. Bourgogne could also be said to epitomize the French concept of terroir—the combined sum of all-natural factors that affect a specific vineyard or parcel (called a climat). The notion of terroir lends itself perfectly to Pinot Noir, a thin-skinned grape that is highly reactive to its environment. When produced from exceptional sites, especially in fine vintages, the grape can lead to wines that are complex and sensual, with a subtlety and depth of flavor that make them both hedonistic and thought-provoking.

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  • Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru 2004 Front Label
    Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru 2004
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • WE96
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  • Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Richebourg Grand Cru (torn back labels) 2004 Front Label
    Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Richebourg Grand Cru (torn back labels) 2004
    Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • Domaine Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur Bas 2004
      Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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      • Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles Premier Cru 2004 Front Label
        Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles Premier Cru 2004
        Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
        • BH91
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      • Bouchard Pere & Fils Chambertin Grand Cru 2004  Front Label
        Bouchard Pere & Fils Chambertin Grand Cru 2004
        Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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        • Francois Lamarche Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru (torn label) 2004 Front Label
          Francois Lamarche Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru (torn label) 2004
          Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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          • Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale Premier Cru 2004 Front Label
            Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale Premier Cru 2004
            Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
            • BH91
            • WS90
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          • Louis Jadot Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2004 Front Label
            Louis Jadot Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2004
            Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
            • WE96
            • BH94
            • WS94
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          • Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Rugiens-Bas Premier Cru 2004  Front Label
            Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Rugiens-Bas Premier Cru 2004
            Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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            • Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu 2004 Front Label
              Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu 2004
              Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
              • BH90
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            • Domaine Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin (signs of seepage) 2004 Front Label
              Domaine Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin (signs of seepage) 2004
              Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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              • Domaine Leroy Nuits St Georges 2004 Front Label
                Domaine Leroy Nuits St Georges 2004
                Pinot Noir from Nuits-St-Georges, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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                • Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Le Musigny Grand Cru 2004 Front Label
                  Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Le Musigny Grand Cru 2004
                  Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
                  • BH93
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                • Domaine Leroy Vosne Romanee 2004 Front Label
                  Domaine Leroy Vosne Romanee 2004
                  Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
                  • BH95
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                • Francois Lamarche Vosne Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru 2004 Front Label
                  Francois Lamarche Vosne Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru 2004
                  Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
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                  • Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2004 Front Bottle Shot
                    Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2004
                    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
                    • BH93
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                  • Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay 2004 Front Label
                    Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay 2004
                    Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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