What is Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir is one of the oldest varieties. The wine is made from a thin-skinned grape that requires cooler climates, and plenty of sun (warm days with cool evenings.) The name comes from the french words for pine and black, as the grape’s clusters resemble a black pine cone. It is a dry red wine with subtle tannins, pale coloring, and has a light to medium body. Pinot Noir is a lightly or heavily oaked wine. The grape seems to grow well in coastal areas, so high producers include Burgundy, New Zealand, Oregon, and California.
Style of Pinot Noir
There is said to be a couple styles of Pinot Noir: the Burgundian and California styles. The Burgundian requires a cooler climate with volcanic soil. It has more earthy characteristics that transform into fruitiness on the palate. The California style is in a warmer climate with more sun, and results in more fruit forward wines. Due to its tightly packed clusters and thin skin, the Pinot Noir grape is quite difficult to work with. It is highly susceptible to rot and fungal diseases, and there can be some difficulty in getting grapes to ripen evenly. As such, it is produced in smaller quantities than other wines.
Aromas & Flavors
The aroma profile of a Pinot Noir can include currant, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, oak, vanilla, smoke, cedar, pepper, chocolate, and earth. Flavor descriptors often used are blackberry, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, tobacco, clove, chocolate, mushroom, earth, leather, smoky, and spice.
Pinot Noir is a very versatile wine when it comes to food pairing. It can go with just about anything, but lean beefs, duck, lamb, chicken, pork loin, veal, salmon, bacon, smoked meats and mushrooms go really well with it. Goat cheese, as well as lighter cheeses are good to choose for cheese pairings.
ABV & Calorie Count
The typical alcohol by volume (ABV) content of Pinot Noir is 13.5% to 14.5%. The typical calorie count is around 122 calories for a 5 ounce glass.