Pinot noir is a very popular and old, red wine grape variety, originating from France. Over the years, it has managed to spread to many areas around the world and today is grown in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Great Britain, the US, Canada, New Zealand. It is believed that a number of varieties also belong to its family, including Pinot blanc and Pinot gris. Pinot noir is known by other names as well, including Pinot negro, Pinot franc, Pinot nero.
Pinot noir is among the varieties where the grape ripens during the last days of August. It prefers humus-carbonate and calcareous soils. It grows well on cool slopes. If the vines are grown in unfavorable conditions, they develop at a moderate pace. In them we see moderate fertility and moderate yields. In general, this variety needs time for the vines to develop to the point where they can give fruit. There are several positive characteristics of the variety: it is resistant to cold weather and relatively resistant to grapevine downy mildew. It can even overcome powdery mildew. Unfortunately, it is not particularly impervious to gray mold.
The leaves of Pinot noir vary in size. Generally, they are almost whole, even though pedate ones can be found. They are covered with fuzz on the underside. The branches also vary in size, some grow straight up, while others do not. The grape cluster is cylindrical, although not very impressive in size. The grapes are rounded and small, dark blue colored, with a wax coating. The flesh is delicate and juicy, with a balanced taste. It is covered by a thin but tough skin. The fruits are used to make sparkling wines in Champagne and red wines in Burgundy.
History of Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is among the oldest varieties in Europe. It is believed that it was known to people even in antiquity, highly prized by the Romans along with muscat. There exist archives proving that the variety was spread in Burgundy in the 4th century. As time passed, plantations with this type of variety increased significantly and became especially popular in France and Germany. By the end of the last century, many manufacturers were crazy about Pinot noir. They did everything they possibly could to produce more of the famous grape.
Characteristics of Pinot Noir
The wines produced from this popular grape variety are red. They are characterized by an intensive, as well as a not so saturated color. When tasting it, one feels a velvety softness and exquisiteness at the same time. Quite often, manufacturers add red and black wild berry flavors to it, and sometimes even the aroma of forest leaves. It must be noted however that since these types of wines are made in many areas around the world, their taste characteristics are not identical. There is a certain sweetness, as well as varying amounts of tannins and pigments.
Regardless, the aroma and taste of Pinot noir remain changeable and most dependent on the conditions and duration of the wine aging. Non aged wines are recognized by their enticing fruity scent, reminding one of small fruits such as cherries, plums, raspberries, strawberries. The quality grape elixirs produced from Pinot noir age well in oak barrels. The contact with the wood allows for further enrichment and improvement as far as the aroma goes. That way they attain nuances reminiscent of chocolate and truffles. A barely noticeable smokiness can also be sensed. The longest aged wines have every opportunity to transform into notable red wines with distinct characteristics.
Serving Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is preferred for consumption during the hot summer days when those other red wines just seem too much to handle. In general though, wines aged in oak barrels are favored during the colder months. Pinot noir is served in the standard wine glass - bell shaped and with a foot. The shape matters because it helps preserve the best qualities of the wine and allows for them to be picked up by the drinker when taking small sips. It is recommended to have the wine cooled to about 60°F (13°C).
Pinot noir goes absolutely perfectly with red meat. Veal and lamb meat specialties are also particularly suitable. As well, drinking it with small game is a fine choice. Smoked meats are another tasty alternative, it doesn't matter if you go with veal, pork or chicken. According to delicious meat and aromatic wine elixir enthusiasts, we need to be bolder in our choices. They highly recommend combining the wine with a veal or beef tongue.
This delicacy can be prepared with butter, onions, bay leaf, black pepper. A good point of advice when pairing Pinot noir with a dish is not to go overboard with the spices. Let us not forget that the goal is to reveal and complement the taste and aromatic characteristics of the drink and food and not have one overshadow the other. Cheeses can also make a fine addition to Pinot noir, especially hard types. Chefs believe that the cream of the crop in this category is undoubtedly parmesan. Fresh green salads are also superb with Pinot noir and if you season them with cream or mayonnaise, the fragrance of the wine will be even richer.