Everything you need to know about the Pinot Noir grape variety

Pinot Noir is one of the most famous red grape varieties in the world, especially in Burgundy and Champagne , and whose reputation is well established. Well vinified, Pinot Noir produces red wines of great finesse, with a vast aromatic palette depending on its progress (fruit, undergrowth, leather, coffee, toast, dark chocolate). The cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais would give the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety.

A little anecdote: the bunch of pinot noir wine has small, very tight grapes and looks like a pine cone, that's why it's called "pinot"!

The origin of Pinot Noir

The grape variety - grape variety - pinot noir has a long history. The specialists agree to recognize it in a description made by the agronomist Columelle, in the first century of our era. We therefore dare to say that when Gaul was conquered by the Romans, Pinot Noir was already grown there. He is generally considered to be from Burgundy, a region which has remained his true homeland. It is also the only red grape variety to be present in the Alsatian vineyard. Pinot Noir does not undergo blending when it is produced in Alsace since it is vinified as a single varietal. This gives it a certain ease in being recognized by red wine lovers.

On which terroirs can you find the Pinot Noir grape variety?

It is mainly found in the great wines of Burgundy , and also in the black base of sparkling wines from the Champagne region . It is also the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace . The pinot noir grape variety is difficult to grow beyond our borders, even if it has had some success in Oregon in the United States or even in Australia and New Zealand.

Like Pinot Gris , its leaves are orbicular and thick with ogival teeth. It is difficult just by looking at the leaves to tell the difference between the two grape varieties. It is thanks to the color of its clusters that this variety is easily differentiated. The bunches of grapes are compact and cylindrical with small dark purple and very deep blue-black berries. Pinot Noir develops perfectly in temperate zones with a preference for clay-limestone soils. Pinot Noir is a grape variety that produces great wines .

The Pinot Noir grape variety under the magnifying glass

The clusters are compact, small to medium, cylindrical in shape, rarely winged. Its leaf is very weakly cut, it must be cultivated with the greatest gentleness. The spherical or slightly ovoid berries are also small, bluish black or dark purple in color, covered with abundant bloom, their skin is thick. The pulp is scarce and tender. Black grape with white flesh, its juice is sweet and colorless, which is why it must be left to macerate with the skins, so that the juice colors. Her dress is always relatively clear.

It is a capricious grape. It requires low yields, perfect sanitary conditions and careful vinification to express its fruit and elegance. If the wines are attractive and highly appreciated in their youth, some have great potential for surprising evolution, in particular the Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

Regarding the regions where it likes to grow, Pinot Noir is fond of rather humid climates. It is a rather capricious and fragile variety to cultivate, it is sensitive to diseases and develops best in a northern climate, that is to say, in the north of France. It also likes calcareous soils. In Burgundy, all the great red wines are produced from Pinot Noir.

Tasting Pinot Noir

Wines made from Pinot Noir are low in tannin, light and can be enjoyed both chilled and at room temperature. This red wine is best drunk young, although some barrel-aged cuvées are made to improve with age. Depending on the appellation in which the grape grew and the climate, Pinot Noir will not reveal the same aromas once the wine is ready to drink. The work of the winegrowers when they take care of their vines, in their cellars and during aging also plays an important role in the quality of the wine in your glasses.

With their aromas of cherry , blackberry or even raspberry , Pinot Noir pairs naturally in food and wine pairings with red meats, game (for example venison or wild boar), certain cheeses and charcuterie. You can also pair Pinot Noir wines with salmon or delicious grenaille potatoes, green beans and a pan of rice. Mushroom risottos (morels, ceps) also go very well with a cuvée of Pinot Noir. You can also taste it as an aperitif with typical dishes from Alsace or Burgundy such as gougères or snails with thyme, and with a salty Alsatian kouglof.

To the eye, the pinot noir offers a light red color , specific to pinot noir from Alsace. On the nose, the aromas of red fruits are expressed with a predominance for cherry. On the palate, the tannins are melted and give way to notes of cherries, raspberries and blackberries. The ideal tasting temperature for a pinot noir is generally between 8° and 10°. In summer, you can even refresh the bottle slightly if you feel like it. This will not alter the voluptuousness of the beverage.

Depending on the terroir and the vinification , these wines are light and fruity , fine and delicate , full-bodied and heady . This wine rarely acquires a deep color in the northern climate. When young, the Pinot Noir grape variety has aromas of cherry, raspberry and blackberry... After several years of aging in oak barrels, it produces a very good wine that is a little deeper and fuller, with a deep color and with aromas reminiscent of ripe fruit, leather, toast... Well structured and tannic, it also has good aging potential and can be kept for a long time. It is often sweet, with aromas of leather, tobacco and plums. These aromas are called empyreumatic notes.

Discover other articles on different grape varieties , such as Grenache which calls for gluttony .