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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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  • Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • RP94
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  • Domaine Follin-Arbelet Aloxe-Corton Clos du Chapitre Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Follin-Arbelet Aloxe-Corton Clos du Chapitre Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Aloxe-Corton, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP92
    • WS90
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  • Pierre Gelin Gevrey Chambertin Clos de Meixvelle 2012 Front Label
    Pierre Gelin Gevrey Chambertin Clos de Meixvelle 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS91
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  • Louis Latour Aloxe-Corton Les Chaillots Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Louis Latour Aloxe-Corton Les Chaillots Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Aloxe-Corton, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WE91
    • WS90
    4.0 12 Ratings
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  • Marchand-Tawse Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Marchand-Tawse Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS97
    • BH94
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    359 97
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  • Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee 2012
    Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS92
    • BH91
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  • Domaine de Courcel Pommard Rugiens Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine de Courcel Pommard Rugiens Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V94
    • WS93
    • BH93
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  • Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier  Charmes-Chambertin Aux Mazoyeres Grand Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Charmes-Chambertin Aux Mazoyeres Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS94
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  • Domaine de Courcel Pommard Grand Clos des Epenots Premier Cru (3 Liter Bottle) 2012 Front Label
    Domaine de Courcel Pommard Grand Clos des Epenots Premier Cru (3 Liter Bottle) 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH93
    • WS92
    • V92
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  • Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WE93
    • WS90
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    Currently Unavailable $144.99
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  • Louis Latour Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 2012 Front Label
    Louis Latour Corton Grand Cru Domaine Latour 2012
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • WS94
    0.0 0 Ratings
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  • Domaine Perrot-Minot Morey-Saint-Denis La Riotte Premier Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Perrot-Minot Morey-Saint-Denis La Riotte Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Morey-St-Denis, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS94
    • BH92
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  • Domaine Faiveley Pommard Rugiens Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Faiveley Pommard Rugiens Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS92
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  • Maison Champy Mazis Chambertin Grand Cru 2012  Front Label
    Maison Champy Mazis Chambertin Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS93
    0.0 0 Ratings
    Currently Unavailable $189.97
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    189 97
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