Why is Pinot Noir the most highly prized wine in the world? It’s pale in colour but it’s a beautifully translucent red. Its primary flavours of cranberry, cherry and raspberry are very subtle but it’s always complex. But the likely reason it’s the most highly prized wine in the world, is that it’s unwittingly difficult. The grape itself is thin skinned and weak, clusters are usually small and difficult to ripen evenly, it suffers from a variety of diseases and its genetics make it highly susceptible to mutation. (Wine Folly 2013).
If you enjoy white wines but have always been averse to red wines – after no doubt trying the more common varieties such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon – then Pinot Noir should be your next stop. Pinot Noir is a light to medium bodied red wine – as opposed to a heavy and full-bodied red wine like a Shiraz or a Cabernet Sauvignon – with very low tannin and medium-high acidity typical in white wines. This is a very special red wine.
Primary flavours of cranberry, cherry and raspberry can open to vanilla, clove, licorice, mushroom, wet leaves, tobacco, cola, caramel. (Wine Folly 2013). The latter usually apparent when French oak barrels are used and/or when aged. Typically, Pinot Noir can be cellared for 2 to 5 years but up it can be cellared up to 18 years depending on the region and style. (Wine Folly 2013.)
Despite a warming climate, due to its popularity Pinot Noir is being grown in more and more regions of Australia – approximately 20% of Australian wineries produce Pinot Noir. It is best suited to colder climates. In Australia, the traditional home of Pinot Noir is Victoria, particularly the cooler regions around Melbourne such as Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland, Yarra Valley and Geelong. But Tasmania might now have a legitimate claim to that title, with over 90% of Tasmanian wineries producing Pinot Noir! Other renowned regions are Canberra, Orange, Mudgee, Great Southern in Western Australia and the Adelaide Hills. (Wine Folly 2013).
Unsurprisingly, France is the world’s largest producer of Pinot Noir but surprisingly the US is a very close second. (Wine Folly 2013).
In Burgundy in France, Pinot Noir is usually very herbaceous and light. Earthy aromas dominate including smells similar to a brown paper bag full of mushrooms or wet leaves. Along with the earth are faint floral smells of roses, violet and a smell of fruit that leans towards raw, freshly picked cherries. (Wine Folly 2013).
Californian Pinot Noir is a giant leap in flavour and intensity from the Pinot Noir in France. Bigger, lush and more fruit-forward. Flavours ranging from sweet black cherry to black raspberry and secondary aromas of vanilla, clove, coca-cola and caramel. (Wine Folly 2013).
Oregon Pinot Noir is usually a few steps lighter in colour and texture than Californian Pinot Noir and it’s usually more tart. Flavours of cranberry, bing cherry fruit flavours with secondary aromas of truffle mushrooms. (Wine Folly 2013).
New Zealand has the near perfect climate for Pinot Noir. On the southern island, Central Otago gets just enough sunshine throughout the season to produce rich Pinot Noir in a style similar to California but with stronger spice and gamey aromas. (Wine Folly 2013).
At The Organic Wine Cellar we have a number of wonderful certified organic Pinot Noirs. If you can afford the very best, from Tasmania, try Stefano Lubiana’s Estate Pinot Noir and from New Zealand try Te Whare Ra’s Pinot Noir. If you want a certified organic and preservative free Pinot Noir, the Temple Bruer Preservative Free Pinot Noir is our best seller.
Wine Folly 2013, ‘Amazing Pinot Noir Wine Facts’ <http://winefolly.com/review/pinot-noir-wine-facts/>, viewed 18 June 2017.