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Pinot Noir

Learn about Pinot Noir — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

Tasting Notes for Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a dry red wine, typically dominated by red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles showing black plum and more delicate styles of Pinot giving citrus qualities. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age Pinot Noir wine can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice and dried fruit.

Pinot Noir Food Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of salmon or texture of tuna but its mild-mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair the wine with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot Noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secrets for Pinot Noir

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot Noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

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  • Hudelot-Noellat Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2006  Front Label
    Hudelot-Noellat Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2006
    Pinot Noir from Vougeot, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH94
    • WS93
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  • Rhys Vineyards Alpine Hillside Pinot Noir 2006  Front Label
    Rhys Vineyards Alpine Hillside Pinot Noir 2006
    Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    • RP94
    • BH92
    • WS91
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  • Rhys Vineyards Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006  Front Label
    Rhys Vineyards Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
    Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    • RP90
    • BH90
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  • Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu 2006 Front Label
    Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu 2006
    Pinot Noir from Volnay, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH92
    • RP91
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  • JCB No 22 Pinot Noir 2006 Front Label
    JCB No 22 Pinot Noir 2006
    Pinot Noir from North Coast, California
    • W&S93
    • WE90
    • BH90
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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Beaune La Montee Rouge 2006 Front Label
    Domaine de la Vougeraie Beaune La Montee Rouge 2006
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • BH87
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  • Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2006 Front Label
    Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2006
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • WE93
    • WS91
    • BH91
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  • Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Les Goulots Vieilles Vignes 2006  Front Label
    Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru 2006
    Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • BH91
    • RP90
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  • Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes 2006  Front Label
    Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes 2006
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • RP97
    • BH93
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  • Nicolas Potel Clos de la Roche 2006 Front Label
    Nicolas Potel Clos de la Roche 2006
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • BH92
    • RP91
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  • Nicolas Potel Clos St. Denis 2006 Front Label
    Nicolas Potel Clos St. Denis 2006
    Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
    • BH93
    • RP91
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