Today we’re going to look at one of the oldest, and in this writer’s humble opinion, one of the greatest wines grapes in the world: Pinot Noir. This highly prized grape is over 1000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s also a remarkably fragile and prone to disease, a fact that makes its age and popularity all the more miraculous.
Pinot Noir is currently the 10th most popular grape crop in the world. About 290,000 acres are dedicated to Pinot Noir production around the world with the lion’s share held by France, the United States, and Germany.
Love muscular and robust reds? Then steer well clear of Pinot Noir. This wine is known for its subtle and nuanced flavors and is best when paired with delicious food. The wine is one of the lightest reds around with very little body. Alongside the light body, the wine also has very low tannin content and a medium to high acidity.
The dominant flavors found in Pinot Noir include cranberries, cherries, raspberries, and vanilla. Other flavor notes include licorice, tobacco, and caramel. Needless to say, this is a wine with a beautifully balanced profile.
Depending on where it is grown and produced, Pinot Noir can have significant differences in the dominant flavors. Wines made in France tend to be more floral with earthy notes. German wines tend to combine similar earthy notes with strong fruit flavors. Wines made in the United States are more fruit forward with tart berries taking prominence.
Pinot Noir is a perfect wine for pairing as it goes well with a wide variety of foods and flavors. The wine is light enough to serve with fish, but can also hold its own with rich, gamey meats like duck or pheasant. Trout and salmon are firm favorites for wine pairings as are chicken, mushrooms, and white pizzas.
Pinot Noir is also a perfect complement to lobster dishes and it really brings out the rich flavors of shellfish.
Wines to try
Salwey Estate Dry Pinot Noir ($25)
$25 for any bottle of Pinot Noir is an amazing price. Fortunately, this wine’s flavor far exceeds its affordability. Fruity and spicy with a wonderful structure.
Patricia Green Cellars Medici Vineyard Pinot Noir ($48)
Aromatic and nutty with a wonderfully complex finish.
Williams Selyem Calegari Vineyard Pinot Noir ($62)
Floral and spicy with a wonderful citrus finish.