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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Hartford Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
Beaux Freres The Beaux Freres Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir (375ML half-bottle) 2001Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
Clos Du Val Carneros Estate Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
Saintsbury Reserve Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
Martinelli Russian River Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Barham Mendelsohn Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru 2001Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France
Kistler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
Bridgeview Blue Moon Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Rogue Valley, Oregon
Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Robert Mondavi Carneros Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
WillaKenzie Estate Aliette Pinot Noir Cork-Free 2001Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Calera Jensen Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Napa Valley, California
Williams Selyem Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
Landmark Kastania Pinot Noir 2001Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California