Posted by Guidi Wines on
Pinot Noir is considered one of the noblest of the red grape varieties in the world because it makes an intensely flavored, complex, high acid wine with incredible longevity. It’s the quintessence of elegance and finesse. It is delicate, fragrant, and ethereal, with fruity notes of red berries, hazelnuts, tea, light spices, musk, mushrooms, lacquer, currant, pine resin, and orange peel. The color is ruby when young, but tends to garnet as it ages, developing into a transparent and delicate color.
Pinot Noir has the honor of being one of the most sought-after yet seemingly rare dry red wines in the world. Romanticized by wine enthusiasts and popular culture in the form of movies like Sideways, it has been at the height of the wine-drinking world for many years now, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Pinot Noir is also rated as the healthiest red wine because of the high levels of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant compound that lowers bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, has low sugar, low alcohol content and the least amount of calories among red wines, making it a great wine for anybody who is health-conscious. Increased intake of antioxidants is generally not the reason we enjoy wine, but it is good to know there are some potential health benefits coming from Pinot Noir.
The grape is thin-skinned and early budding plus it ripens early and it needs meticulous care in the vineyard to grow successfully. The grape has thin skin and it’s quite delicate. Pinot Noir gives its best in a cool to moderate climate. When grown in a warm climate it can lose its freshness and taste too cooked from excessive ripening of the grapes. It has been around since AD 100 and is one of the hardest grapes to grow. It’s fussy and delicate, sensitive to changes in weather, soil, heat and humidity. It is susceptible to disease and fungus and at the same time does best in damper climates with chalky soil, which means it needs a lot of attention: being notoriously difficult to grow, can only be cultivated in very particular environments. Originally from the Burgundy region of France, Pinot Noir is currently cultivated in quite a few countries and the taste is greatly affected by the climate in which the wine is grown in, specifically, warmer or cooler environments.
While there are a lot of countries that do currently cultivate the Pinot Noir grape, it’s worth noting that the cultivations are usually small as the grape is known to be temperamental. Winemakers love it because of that; they try to tame it and master it, but they cannot. It is impetuous and does what it wants. But when it is good, it is really good.
Italy has a large cultivation of Pinot Noir grapes, although not just for Pinot Noir wine but also for a large varieties of wines from these grapes. The north of the Country is the source of top-tier Pinot Noir with Trentino, Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli and Lombardia the most renowned areas for this classic grape. In the first four areas, Pinot Noir is made under DOC regulations while Franciacorta in Lombardia has DOCG status. The coolness of these climes is ideal for this fussy grape’s cultivation.
Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile wine grapes in the world. This single red grape variety can be transformed to create not just red wines, but white, rosé, and sparkling wines as well. As a matter of facts, Pinot Noir is one of the best known and respected wine varieties used in the production of sparkling wine, white and rosé.
If you open a Pinot Noir single grape, you would see that the pulp is a pale greenish yellow color. It’s actually the grape skins that give the juice a nice red color: to produce a white wine with red grapes the skins must be removed as soon as possible during vinification. The longer the skins are in the juice, the darker they dye the wine.
For rosé Pinot Noir, vinification is a mix of red and white winemaking and it's all about timing. The grapes get crushed with the skins and seeds. Then the juice is monitored and when the color is the perfect rosé hue, the juice get separated from the skins into clean tanks where the wine completes its fermentation.
The flavors will once again show the Pinot Noir character; softly presenting the red berry fruits and wines will be light and fruity with soft expressions of the red berry fruits.
Pinot Noir is an elegant and delicate wine and when it comes to food the very best pairings are ones that enhance the wine's fruit flavors. Foods that are dense or rich can overwhelm the palate, causing you to miss the beautiful nuances of your wine.
Red Pinot Noir is perfect for dishes made with wild mushrooms, porcini, risotto with truffles, and lamb. It pairs well with Chinese and Indian cuisines, balancing spicy dishes like Chicken Curry and Lamb Vindaloo.
Sparkling Pinot Noir will go well with a great number of disparate before-dinner foods, including soft, mild cheeses, smoked salmon, caviar, and scallops, shrimp, or other shellfish. But also with main courses its effervescence is surprisingly refreshing when paired with fish, fried foods, creamy soups or any strongly flavored Asian dishes.
Pinot Noir is best served out of a large, bell-shaped glass to truly enjoy the aroma, and it does not need to be decanted beforehand and is best served slightly chilled (55°F - 12°C).
Be sure to store any unfinished wine in the fridge and finish within three days, as after three days, oxidation will start to damage the wine.
Pinot Noir tastes great on its own and with nearly every food. It’s an easy going, lighter bodied red, that is also complex, interesting and has subtle characteristics that surprise us every time: this contrast of lightness with such an intricate palate that’s anything but simple is what makes pinot so lovable to people.