Pinot Noir: The Fickle

Learn About Pinot Noir

While you are an easy red wine to love, Pinot Noir, you are a difficult bastard in the vineyard. You are the epitome of fussy, having a bad reputation of not being consistent in all areas of production and because you are a low yielding wine grape, supply and demand causes you to come with a hefty price tag. While you are a noble grape, Pinot Noir, you are a very high maintenance red wine.

You have been called genetically unstable with good reason. Possessing an estimated one thousand clones, your tendency to dramatically reflect the savor of the soil you’re grown in and your pristine growing requirements of a long growing season, makes you a frustrating character for a winemaker, Pinot Noir.

This causes disloyalty from your drinkers as well, as you vary as much between vintages as you do in quality among varying regions. You have broad extremes in color, flavor and aroma. Yet wherever you are produced, Pinot Noir, you always possess one quality: texture and perfume. Okay, so that’s two qualities. Add particular to your profile.

You do have very low tannin content that affords a crisp acidity and plush mouthfeel. I say plush because you are often described as fabric: Silky, satiny, cottony, taffeta, plush. You are like a lazy Sunday afternoon on the patio with a good novel.

Native to Old World Burgundy, France, the only place to achieve any hint of consistency with you, you prefer the cool climates and chalky soils of the Côte d’Or. As would be expected of you, you like to bud early, but this makes you susceptible to frost. You like to ripen early too, but this resigns you to cool climates.

You can have a burnt taste, like cooked fruit or cabbage, if harvested underripe or grown in warm climates. While in cooler climates you have a rich, toothsome, earthiness to you with ripe grape and black cherry aromas. One should look to the Willamette Valley if looking for a promising New World Pinot Noir.

You can create an amorous impression on the palate, Pinot Noir. Possessing complexity more than any other varietal, at your best you are spicy sassafras and barnyard. Full-bodied and rich but never heavy. Low in acids and never tannic. But you are a drink-now kind of red wine, Pinot Noir and your “heartbreak” quality has seduced and rejected more than any other varietal.

Varietal Styles

  • Fruit-forward
  • Light-bodied
  • Floral
  • Velvety
  • Supple Tannins
  • Savory, Organic
  • Full-bodied
  • Exotic: Sandalwood, Spice
  • Satiny
  • Moderate Tannins

Grape Styles
Strawberry | Raspberry | Cherry | Plum | Blackberry | Lilac | Violets | Toast | Clove | Cinnamon | Smoke | Incense | Sandalwood | Leather | Barnyard | Game Meat | Wet Forest Floor | Truffle | Mushroom

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