Pinot Noir is a very temperamental grape! Here are ten Pinot Noir points that may open your heart to this fabulous wine.
1. Pinot Noir likes a cool climate
Pinot Noir does not respond well to a warm climate. The subtle flavours cook inside their thin skin when affected by too much heat and sun. Pinot Noir thrives best in the colder French wine regions, Germany, Switzerland, or the north alpine regions of Italy. Warmer New World countries use cooling sea breezes to accommodate the requirements of Pinot Noir. Haute Cabriere in Franschhoek, South Africa is one of the wine farms that has managed to harness the cool air of higher mountain slopes together with a prevailing on-shore wine to make Pinot Noir possible.
2. Pinot Noir mutations abound
There are over 1,000 clones of Pinot Noir. Of these, only 47 are available for commercial use. The reason for this wide variety is that Pinot Noir grapes have a tendency to mutate. These mutations change characteristics like colour, tannin and taste. Other grapes that have come out of these mutations include Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier.
3. Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes
Pinot Noir ranks as one of the oldest grapes in the world. It is believed to be at least 1,000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon which is only has a few hundred years old.
4. Pinot Noir grapes have a thin skin
Pinot Noir grapes are notoriously hard to grow. Their thin skins are sensitive to light, frost, wind and different soils. They are prone to mildew, mould and diseases. For such a delicious wine, their grapes give viticulturists a really hard time in the vineyard!
5. Pinotage is a child of Pinot Noir
In South Africa in 1925, Professor Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University, crossed Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes. The resulting varietal was named Pinotage and the first wine from this crossing was produced in 1941.
6. Chardonnay is also a child of Pinot Noir
At some point in the history of Pinot Noir, a natural crossing occurred with a nearly extinct grape called Gouais Blanc. As a result of this crossing, it's quite common in some wine growing regions such as Oregon and Chile for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to grow together.
7. Hong Kong demands Pinot Noir!
Hong Kong demand for Pinot Noir has increased dramatically in the past few years. Pinot Noir is a versatile red that can be enjoyed with many different meals so it's no surprise. The market does however have a particular penchant for Dijon-grown Pinot Noir.
8. Pinot Noir ageing properties
Pinot Noir ages really well for a very long time and can be cellared for decades. The only downside is that unlike other red wines, the bouquet and subtle flavours cease to improve once the wine gets to 10 years.
9. Serve Pinot Noir chilled
Pinot Noir may be a red wine, but it must be served slightly chilled to be enjoyed best. Ideal temperature for Pinot Noir is said to be 12C. To cool your Pinot Noir at home, place it in the fridge an hour before serving it. After opening, leave the wine out on the table to warm slightly.
10.International Pinot Noir Celebration
Each year, the USA hosts an annual celebration of Pinot Noir. Over 300 international producers attend the International Pinot Noir Celebration held in Oregon.
Now that you know these ten Pinot Noir points, take a look at our wonderful selection of Pinot Noir wines and see if any take your fancy!