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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 Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds Premier Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Marchand-Tawse Chambertin Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Marchand-Tawse Chambertin Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V96
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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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  • Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Morey-St-Denis, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP94
    • V93
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  • Lucien Le Moine Pommard Clos de Verger Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Lucien Le Moine Pommard Clos de Verger Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V94
    • BH91
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  • Domaine de Courcel Pommard Fremiers Premier Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine de Courcel Pommard Fremiers Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH93
    • V91
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  • Dominique Laurent Vosne-Romanee Les Reignots Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V93
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  • Domaine Meo-Camuzet Corton Les Perrieres Grand Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Meo-Camuzet Corton Les Perrieres Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V94
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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 de l'Arlot Nuits Saint Georges Clos de l'Arlot Premier Cru Monopole 2012 Front Label
    Domaine de l'Arlot Nuits Saint Georges Clos de l'Arlot Premier Cru Monopole 2012
    Pinot Noir from Nuits-St-Georges, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V95
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  • Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Mitans Premier Cru 2012 Front Label
    Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Mitans Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V91
    • RP91
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  • Lucien Le Moine Pommard La Chaniere Premier Cru 2012  Front Label
    Lucien Le Moine Pommard La Chaniere Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V93
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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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  • Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Premier Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Premier Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V94
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  • Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Pommard les Epenots Premier Cru 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Pommard les Epenots Premier Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP94
    • V93
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  • Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012  Front Label
    Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH95
    • V95
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  • Chandon de Briailles Corton Bressandes Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
    Chandon de Briailles Corton Bressandes Grand Cru 2012
    Pinot Noir from Aloxe-Corton, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH94
    • V93
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  • Domaine Denis Bachelet Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corbeaux Premier Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012 Front Label
    Domaine Denis Bachelet Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corbeaux Premier Cru Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V91
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