All about Pinot Noir
Globally one of the most popular red wines, Pinot Noir has become glamorized and worshipped by a generation of people. Originally getting its start in the Burgundy region of France, Pinot Noir has exploded around the world thanks in part to the growth of mainstream media. Similarly to how the 2004 movie “Sideways” adversely affected Merlot, Pinot Noir actually saw a huge jump in its popularity. The entire movie was essentially devoted to all things Pinot Noir and helped elevate this classic grape to stardom. Another cause for the prominence of Pinot Noir is due to its unique versatility. Pinot Noir is one of the few red grapes that can be made into Rosé, white, red and even sparkling wines. Today, due to its high demand and difficulties to grow, Pinot Noir can be some of the most expensive and elegant wines found throughout the world. Nevertheless, ABC has hand picked great wines like Suvali, where you can find those elegantly crafted Pinot Noirs without having to empty your wallet.
Pinot Noir’s body generally ranges from light to medium and is favored for its fresh floral, fruity, earthy and spice aromas. Known for an intense rich red color, Pinot Noir is pleasantly dry, with a flavor profile consisting of cherries, raspberries, mushrooms, clove and hibiscus, among others. With age, vanilla and smoky flavors may become more prevalent. Its structure generally is higher in acidity and lower in tannins. This variety favors cooler growing regions where cool nights and warm days allow for complex flavors to evolve. In France, you tend to find the more rustic acidity with this varietal, while regions like California produce higher alcohol and more fleshy and concentrated versions.
The thin-skinned grapes of Pinot Noir have been able to develop a devout following, particularly because it is such a hard type to grow. Pinot Noir is usually planted in cooler climates near bodies of water or in valleys, favoring a loamy soil. While Burgundy has been home to Pinot Noir since the early middle ages, its acclaim has come from this region producing a 100 percent pure varietal fruit that is not allowed to be blended. While many of today’s most prized Pinot Noirs are from Burgundy, other noteworthy growing areas include the Russian River Valley in California and Willamette Valley in Oregon. Here, many winemakers hold themselves to similar growing practices as Burgundy which, in turn, has led to their esteemed reputation. Additionally, other more notable growing regions can include New Zealand, Italy and Germany.
Pinot Noir has great versatility with all types of food and is generally light enough to be enjoyed on its own. Pinot Noir’s acidity and floral, fruity notes make it a perfect match for red meats like beef, lamb and duck, or even white meats such as chicken, turkey and heavier fish like salmon. Pinot Noir’s lighter body allows it to partner fantastically with charcuterie boards of meats and cheeses.
Our wine expert, Atanas Nechkov, weighs in on some of the best pairings for Pinot Noir without breaking the bank. He explains, “Great for a spicy beef dish, the Château de Cary Potent from France balances the meal perfectly. The Hautes Côtes de Beaune and the Domaine des Farondes, tend to pair well with duck and lamb. These three wines are quite possibly the best value on the market today at around $20 and are a must-try for any Pinot Noir enthusiast.”
Already in love with Pinot Noir? Here are some other varietals you should try based on your taste.
If Pinot Noir has already captivated your taste buds, then try our expert recommended favorites and alternatives sure to please. If you are searching for a wide variety of selections to fit your style and price points, then there is no better place than with ABC. Here, you can find Sourced & Certified wines that are hand-picked by our team of experts and include the highest quality products exclusively for you.
Want a Burgundy style Pinot Noir without the premium price tag? Another one of our wine experts, Dave Malone, has some master picks for those looking to tour the Pinot Noir world. Dave says, “In Willamette Valley, Oregon, winemakers craft their wines in a style reminiscent to that of Burgundy. My recommended producers here include Cooper Mountain and Trisaetum.” Dave also describes that, “No quality Pinot Noir would be complete without the mention of Sonoma County in California. Favorites of mine include Trione, Crossbarn and Sojourn.” Looking to expand your wine horizons from Pinot Noir? A wonderful Gamay like Jadot Beaujolais-Villages is a great lighter-body alternative. A Grenache from France (called Garnacha in Spain), a Barbera from NW Italy, and Bierzo wines from Spain, like the Petalos del Bierzo, made of the Mencia grape, are all great wine varietals to try if you already love Pinot Noir.