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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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  • Albert Bichot Vosne-Romanee Domaine du Clos Frantin 2019  Front Label
    Albert Bichot Vosne-Romanee Domaine du Clos Frantin 2019
    Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WW94
    • V91
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  • Failla Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019  Front Label
    Failla Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019
    Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
    • V95
    • WS93
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  • Paul Lato Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019  Front Label
    Paul Lato Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019
    Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
    • JD97
    • V94
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  • Paul Lato Seabiscuit Zotovich Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019  Front Label
    Paul Lato Seabiscuit Zotovich Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019
    Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
    • JD96
    • V93
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  • Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges Les Chaignots Premier Cru 2019  Front Label
    Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St-Georges Les Chaignots Premier Cru 2019
    Pinot Noir from Nuits-St-Georges, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V92
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  • Albert Bichot Fixin Clos de la Perriere Premier Cru Monopole 2019  Front Label
    Albert Bichot Fixin Clos de la Perriere Premier Cru Monopole 2019
    Pinot Noir from Fixin, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V92
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  • Domaine de Bellene Beaune Les Greves Premier Cru 2019  Front Label
    Domaine de Bellene Beaune Les Greves Premier Cru 2019
    Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V93
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  • Albert Bichot Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru Domaine du Clos Frantin 2019  Front Label
    Albert Bichot Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru Domaine du Clos Frantin 2019
    Pinot Noir from Flagey-Echezeaux, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • V96
    • JM95
    • BH95
    • D94
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