Learn about Pinot Noir — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
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 diominated 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 can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice and dried fruit.
Perfect Food Pairings for Pinot Noir
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 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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Kistler Vineyards Bodega Headlands Vineyard Cuvee Elisabeth Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
Williams Selyem Mendocino Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Mendocino, California
Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
Hargrave Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from New York, Other U.S.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Louis Jadot Marsannay Rouge 1998Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Van Duzer Barrel Select Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Lindeman’s Bin Series Pinot Noir Padthaway 1998Pinot Noir from Padthaway, South Australia, Australia
Antonin Rodet Chateau de Rully Rouge 1998Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Beringer Stanley Ranch Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from California
Joseph Drouhin Volnay 1998Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
WillaKenzie Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Rochioli West Block Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Rochioli Little Hill Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne Romanee 1998Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanee, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Antonin Rodet Vieilles Vignes Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1998Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot 1998Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Estancia Reserve Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
Domaine Anne Gros Chambolle-Musigny La Combe d'Orveau 1998Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Byron Sierra Madre Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
Lignier-Michelot Morey St. Denis En La Rue de Vergy 1998Pinot Noir from Morey-St-Denis, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Domaine Jean-Luc Joillot Pommard Les Noizons 1998Pinot Noir from Pommard, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Buena Vista Carneros Estate Pinot Noir 1998Pinot Noir from Carneros, California