Pinot Noir Guide


Pinot Noir is a red variety from Burgundy which has spread quickly on a lot of wine-growing regions of the world.

Pinot Noir is known for being a difficult grape variety that need a cool climate and great care to produce low yields. Its thin skinned grape ripes early and is highly sensible to the components of the terroir.

The winemakers and growers run into many hardships with Pinot Noir because it does not adapt well to a vast array of soils and climatic conditions. Under warm climate, it gives average wines with too strong candied aromas. In the coldest regions, Pinot Noir cannot ripen well so the wines have excessive vegetal flavors.

Pinot Noir Caracteristics

Pinot Noir grants to the wine a ruby-like light color. The wines are medium-bodied with subtle perfumes and soft tannins. Pinot Noir is often blend with Chardonnay to make effervescent wines like Champagne.

The young wines have a powerful red fruit character, often strawberry, cherry and raspberry, which is sometimes combined with animal and vegetal notes. When they are matured in oak barrels, they are creamier with a side of vanilla. With age, the wines have more complexity thanks to integrated flavors of meat and truffles. Bar Burgundy production, the Pinot Noir wines are excellent when drunk young because they reveal the strong fruity character. 

Where to find the best Pinot Noirs

In Burgundy, the wines are medium-bodied with a good acidity and soft tannins. The best wines from the famous appellations are more intense, complex and have a great ageing potential.

New Zealand is the only New World country which can rivalled with Burgundy. The wines are less acid but more strong and fruity than the French ones. The New Zealand Pinot Noir can sometimes give integrated spicy notes.

In Australia, the variety grows on the colder vineyards in Victoria where altitude and maritime winds are the common factors. Pinot Noir in the United States is used to produce medium-bodied wines with an intense fruit and animal and vegetal notes.

By Farr's Pinot Noir Geelong, Shaw & Smith's wine, Littorai's Sonoma production, Paul Hobbs' Pinot Noir Russian River and Ata Rangi's Pinot Noir are some of the best examples of great production in the New World.