Pinot Noir
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Varietal Character

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir
You're beautiful...a goddess...but so exasperating! Loving you is like worshiping an unfaithful temptress! As often as you've disappointed us with your undependable ways, you always seem to draw us back. Your alluring beauty and elegance leave us helpless and forgiving of all your moodiness. So long disdainful of any place outside of your home on the golden slopes of Burgundy, we’ve learned to pacify your temperamental nature with brisk coastal breezes and hillside vistas of the New World. Perhaps now you will grace us with all the charm and beauty that has kept the Burgundians devoted to you for centuries.

Appellations Growing Pinot Noir Grapes

Appellations producing the most Pinot Noir wines:

[>] see all the North American appellations producing Pinot Noir wines

Pinot Noir Grape Details

Pinot Noir (aka. Spatburgunder, Blauburgunder, Pinot Nero)

Pinot Noir, the grape responsible for the great red wines of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, is regarded as one of the world’s noblest of wine varieties. All the Pinot varieties, the ‘noir’ version in particular, are highly susceptible to genetic variation, and indeed, a great many clones of Pinot Noir are found in commercial cultivation around the globe. Despite the many clonal variations available to growers, Pinot Noir is rather particular about its growing conditions. It typically produces its best results in cool, often fog-prone regions. Over the past few decades, Oregon’s climate, particularly the Willamette Valley, has show itself to be especially well suited for Pinot Noir and this Pacific Northwest state seemed to set the standard for North America Pinot. However, in the late 1980s, excellent Pinot Noirs finally began to emerge with consistency from various California regions; in appellations such as Chalone, Mount Harlan, Los Carneros, the Russian River Valley, and the Santa Lucia Highlands, as well as in Santa Barbara County. In recent years the notably cool climate of the Anderson Valley, in Mendocino County, has also proven to be an area capable of some very expressive Pinots -- here the variety does double duty, also serving as a base for excellent traditional method sparkling wines. Pinot Noir is grown as far north as Canada's Okanagan Valley and Niagara Peninsula, and selected clones of this variety have produced quality wines in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

Appropriately nicknamed the ‘heartbreak grape’, no other varietal can claim to have simultaneously seduced and rejected as many suitors. The greatest wines made from the vine possess a complexity and beauty that trap consumers and winemakers alike in a lifelong search for its equivalent. Pinot Noir’s character can be hard to qualify. In favorable cool-climate regions, Pinot Noir's youthful character can suggest flavors ranging from red berry fruit to cherries. As Pinot Noir-based wines mature, they rapidly develop strong earthy dimensions, such as forest floor, mushroom, game and violets. Young or old, Pinot Noir’s greatest attribute is a harmonious, even sublime combination of fruit, alcohol, body, acidity and tannin.

Feature In

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Blue Book Taste Profiles for Pinot Noir from the following Appellations:

Best-of-Appellation Wine List

See the Pinot Noir wines that have been advanced to Best-of-Appellation™ standing for their respective regions.

Featured Pinot Noir

Tondre Wines 2005 Tondre Pinot Noir, Tondre Grapefield (Santa Lucia Highlands)

buy wine $43.00
Eola Hills Wine Cellars 2007 Pinot Noir (Eola~Amity Hills)

buy wine $13.95

Latest Pinot Noir Recommendations (Reviews)