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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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  • Chateau de la Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012  Front Label
    Chateau de la Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Pinot Noir from Vougeot, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Domaine Dujac Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Dujac Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • BH93
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  • Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Clos-de-Beze 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Clos-de-Beze 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • RP93
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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
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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Thorey Monopole Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine de la Vougeraie Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de Thorey Monopole Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Nuits-St-Georges, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP93
    • WS91
    • W&S91
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  • Alphonse Mellot La Moussiere Sancerre Rouge 2012 Front Label
    Alphonse Mellot La Moussiere Sancerre Rouge 2012
    Pinot Noir from Sancerre, Loire, France
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  • Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
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    • BH94
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  • Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Combe Aux Moines Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin Combe Aux Moines Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • BH94
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  • Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH95
    • RP94
    • WS92
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  • Lucien Le Moine Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Lucien Le Moine Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • W&S94
    • BH93
    • WS93
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  • Domaine Vacheron Belle Dame Sancerre Rouge 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Vacheron Belle Dame Sancerre Rouge 2012
    Pinot Noir from Sancerre, Loire, France
    • RP94
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  • Domaine A.F. Gros Pommard Les Pezerolles Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine A.F. Gros Pommard Les Pezerolles Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP90
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  • Domaine A.F. Gros Echezeaux Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine A.F. Gros Echezeaux Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Flagey-Echezeaux, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP91
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  • Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V93
    • RP92
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  • Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee Coeur de Roy Tres Vieilles Vignes 2012 Front Label
    Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee Coeur de Roy Tres Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP92
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  • Jacques Prieur Volnay Santenots Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Jacques Prieur Volnay Santenots Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP92
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  • Domaine Tollot-Beaut Beaune Premier Cru Clos du Roi 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Tollot-Beaut Beaune Premier Cru Clos du Roi 2012
    Pinot Noir from Beaune, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP90
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  • Jayer-Gilles Cote de Nuits-Villages 2012 Front Label
    Jayer-Gilles Cote de Nuits-Villages 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP91
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  • Chanson Pere & Fils Beaune Clos des Feves Premier Cru Monopole 2012 Front Label
    Chanson Pere & Fils Beaune Clos des Feves Premier Cru Monopole 2012
    Pinot Noir from Beaune, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH94
    • JS93
    • RP91
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  • Alphonse Mellot La Demoiselle Sancerre Rouge 2012  Front Label
    Alphonse Mellot La Demoiselle Sancerre Rouge 2012
    Pinot Noir from Sancerre, Loire, France
    • RP91
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  • Domaine Tollot-Beaut Savigny-Lavieres Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Tollot-Beaut Savigny-Lavieres Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Savigny-les-Beaune, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Chanson Pere & Fils Savigny-Dominode Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Chanson Pere & Fils Savigny-Dominode Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Savigny-les-Beaune, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    • RP91
    • JS91
    • WS90
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  • Louis Latour Corton-Perrieres Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Louis Latour Corton-Perrieres Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Aloxe-Corton, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WS92
    • RP90
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  • Domaine A.F. Gros Richebourg Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine A.F. Gros Richebourg Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP97
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  • Domaine Denis Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Denis Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP99
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