Pinot Noir pure elegance and finesse perhaps no grape on the planet is as finicky, unpredictable, and divine as Pinot Noir. Though it’s grown in many countries, it reaches its highest level of quality in France, specifically in the Burgundy region.

Pinot Noir Flavour Profile

Pinot Noir is one of the lightest red grape varieties in terms of body, but that doesn’t mean it lacks flavor! Pinot Noir typically boasts flavors and aromas of cherry, cola, black tea, and frequently of warm spices. It can also display earthy, mushroomy notes, as well as floral notes of roses and violets. Pinot Noir is usually dry and light-to-moderately tannic. Cooler climate Pinot Noir tends to be more austere, while warmer climates produce wines that are more overtly fruity and generous.

French Region

First and foremost, Pinot Noir comes from Burgundy, and in fact if you pick up a bottle of red Burgundy, you’re most likely holding 100% Pinot Noir, whether the label lists the grape variety or not. The cool climate and limestone content of the soils produce wines that are both balanced and elegant.

After Burgundy, the most important region for Pinot Noir is Champagne, where grapes are harvested fairly early, preserving high acidity to make the world’s greatest sparkling wines. Pinot Noir is often blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to make Champagne, many of which are rose-colored.

France also has Pinot Noir plantings in Alsace, on the border with Germany, where the wines tend to be austere, in the Loire Valley (most famously in red Sancerre,) and even in the much warmer climates of southern France. In general, Pinot Noir grown in very warm climates is less elegant than the wines of Burgundy.  

Pinot Noir Food Pairings

Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with earthy flavours like mushroom and truffle. It’s also the ideal complement to salmon and roasted poultry. Heartier Pinot Noirs can stand up to duck and comfort foods like cassoulet. Pork is a natural fit for pinot noir, though sauces that are too sweet can overwhelm a wine’s fruit.

Pinot Noir is remarkably versatile. Earthy, austere wines are best shown as foils for earthy dishes, while more fruit-forward Pinots can stand alone without any food at all. These friendlier Pinots are ideal cocktail wines, as they’re light and won’t overwhelm the palate.

Video Guide About Pinot Noir