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Pinot noir is one of the most popular varieties of wine-making grape: the 10th most planted variety on vineyards around the world. The pinot noir grape also attracts higher than average prices, due in part to its solid reputation for creating delicious, high quality wines.

The flavours of the finished product vary depending on numerous factors, including the age of the wine, the location of the harvest and the growing climate. However, pinot noir is typically characterised by forest fruits, violets, strawberries, cherries, a gamey taste and aromas of the forest floor.

Thibaut de Roux is a long-time wine enthusiast with over a decade’s experience in wine tasting and a cellar containing over 2,000 bottles from around the world, with a focus on the region of Burgundy. Burgundy is known for producing quality, silky-textured pinot noir grapes that create some of the finest wines on the market. Some further information about the wine producing region of Burgundy can be found in the PDF attachment to this post.

Cultivation

Pinot noir grapes are notoriously difficult to cultivate, which also plays a role in the higher than average prices that this variety attracts on the market. These grapes require a cooler climate and exceptionally diligent canopy management to prevent rot within the tightly packed clusters of the grape bunches. The aging process can be unpredictable and uneven, resulting in great variety in flavour between vintages. However, as wine enthusiasts around the world appreciate, when cultivated properly, pinot noir grapes are the source of some of the most delicious, complex and appealing wines available.

The embedded infographic details some of the most expensive bottles of wine ever sold in the world.

Characteristics

As stated above, the characteristics of pinot noir wines can vary immensely. However, there are certain traits that carry through each vintage. Pinot noir wines are almost always low in tannins, with a velvety texture and red fruit characteristics. This wine generally has a fine, delicate perfume and tastes ripe and complex, balancing the alcohol, tannin and acidity well. Many pinot noirs have after-notes that linger on the tongue, providing a pleasing contract to the sweetness and tartness of the red fruits.

Growing Regions

While Burgundy is the most famous growing region in the world for the pinot noir grape, there are growing numbers of vineyards in other areas that are beginning to make a name for themselves for producing some delectable pinot noir wines.

These include New Zealand, where the climate makes for dense, juicy wines with clear regional diversity. Coastal vineyards in Chile produce variations that are refreshing, full and ripe, while California is known for its cultivation of pinot noir grapes that deliver unrivalled complexity.

Australia, a country not widely suited for the cultivation of pinot noir grapes, is starting to deliver some excellent variations from cooler regions such as Tasmania and Victoria. These pure, restrained and delicate wines are just beginning to achieve popularity within the international market for pinot noir.

Variations

Pinot noir is of course best known as a red wine, but the grapes are also used to make a variety of other wines. These include champagne, sparkling wines, chardonnay and pinot meunier, where the red grape is added to bring depth, complexity and backbone to the blends. An analysis of grape DNA has shown that the pinot noir, pinot blanc and pinot grigio grapes are in fact identical except for colour mutations. Pinot noir is also closely related to the chardonnay grape.

In the short video attachment, you can find some tips on choosing the right glass to make the most of the delicious flavours and aromas of a pinot noir wine.