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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 Perrot-Minot Chapelle-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru (torn labels) 2009  Front Label
    Domaine Perrot-Minot Chapelle-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru (torn labels) 2009
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009 Front Label
    Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2009
    Pinot Noir from Vougeot, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • BH94
    • RP93
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  • Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2009 Front Label
    Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2009
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2009 Front Label
    Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2009
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
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    • RP93
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  • Serafin Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Le Fonteny 2009 Front Label
    Serafin Pere & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Le Fonteny 2009
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • WS93
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  • Mommessin Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2009 Front Label
    Mommessin Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2009
    Pinot Noir from Morey-St-Denis, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP97
    • WS95
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  • Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier  Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2009 Front Label
    Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2009
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • RP98
    • BH96
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  • Domaine des Lambrays Clos Des Lambrays 2009 Front Label
    Domaine des Lambrays Clos Des Lambrays 2009
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS95
    • RP93
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  • Joseph Drouhin Charmes Chambertin 2009 Front Label
    Joseph Drouhin Charmes Chambertin 2009
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • BH93
    • WS92
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  • Frederic Esmonin Mazy-Chambertin Grand Cru 2009 Front Label
    Frederic Esmonin Mazy-Chambertin Grand Cru 2009
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS93
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  • Domaine Cecile Tremblay Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2009 Front Label
    Domaine Cecile Tremblay Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2009
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP94
    • WS93
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  • Domaine Meo-Camuzet Nuits-Saint-Georges les Perrieres Premier Cru 2009 Front Label
    Domaine Meo-Camuzet Nuits-Saint-Georges les Perrieres Premier Cru 2009
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
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    • BH92
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  • Domaine Meo-Camuzet Vosne Romanee Premier Cru Les Chaumes 2009 Front Label
    Domaine Meo-Camuzet Vosne Romanee Premier Cru Les Chaumes 2009
    Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS92
    • BH91
    • RP90
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