• Pinot noir is one of the most ancient grapes in the world (records go back 2000 years). In fact, pinot is the “father” of dozens of other varieties including chardonnay.
• Pinot noir’s ancestral home is the Burgundy region of France. All red Burgundies are 100% pinot noir.
• Pinot’s other famed locations include the Champagne region of France (where it’s made into Champagne), plus California, Oregon and New Zealand. The grape likes cool climates, and if you try to grow it in a warm climate, the result tastes something like a cross between prune juice and flat cola.
• Pinot noir is one of the world’s most difficult, temperamental grapes. It’s hard to grow and hard to make into wine. That said, it’s very easy to drink!
• Because it’s so difficult to produce, pinot noir is expensive. Sorry; there’s no way around that fact. Bargain examples are usually dreadful, depressingly un-pinot-like, and a total waste of money.
• A great pinot’s flavors will often encompass damp earth, dried bark, wet leaves, peat, black tea, raspberry compote, pie berries, pomegranate, cranberries and sometimes spice.
• Because pinot noir is not high in tannin, it often has a silky feel that wine lovers consider one of the wine’s top assets.
• Pinot noir lacks a whole set of color pigments in its skins. As a result, the grapes usually make wines that are light in color. But don’t be fooled. The intensity of the flavor could be mindblowing.
Finally, pinot noir merits a lifetime of study and learning, the perfect varietal to feature at the start of the year!
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