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Continuing our exploration of the best wine types in the world to give you some essential wine knowledge that will allow you to navigate the wine aisles of your local store with ease. So far here we’ve talked about Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Tempranillo. So let’s go on with one of the my personal favorites, and I’m sure many of you love it too: Pinot Noir.
00:00 – Intro
01:13 – About the Bonner Private Wine Club
03:58 – The Origin of Pinot Noir
06:23 – Typical Aromas & Flavors of PN
08:45 – Sideways Craze & Best Pinot Noir Wines
Video Content (partial Transcription):
The Origin of Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France – Chapter 1
With such a French sounding name, Pinot Noir, we are talking here about a grape coming from France.
By the way, a couple details before we dig deeper. How do you say Pinot Noir correctly? Well, in French, we say Pinot Noir. But it’s fine in English or American obviously to say Pinot Noir. As long as you do not pronounce the T to Pinot, do not say Pinot Noir.
Then, yes, Pinot Noir is a type of grape the wine is made from. This grape came from France where it was selected, refined, perfected in the Burgundy wine region.
Burgundy is a rather cold area, one of the coldest wine regions in France, almost as cold as Champagne. Pinot Noir is a grape that grows well only under relatively cool climate, unlike Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah that like warmer weather.
The Aromas & Flavors of Pinot Noir – Chapter 2
The typical flavors and aromas of Pinot Noir are in the spectrum of acidic red berry fruits. Clearly THE term that everyone uses for Pinot, which is the one you should remember if there is one takeaway from this video, this term is ‘griotte’ as we say in French, or more simply sour cherry. Virtually all Pinots have it, so keep it in mind if you want to impress your friends next time you have one. But you’ll find some other red berries, like fresh strawberry or raspberry, blueberries and redcurrant.
Often you’ll find hints of floral aromas like rose petal or violet, and some spices and herbs like white pepper, juniper and peppermint.
Pinot Noir ages and evolves with time in the cellar, it takes on delicious savory notes, earthy characters of truffle of what we call forest flour.When you taste an old pinot, you’re not only taking you imagination through a field of delicate red berries, but also through a foggy and wet forest in a cold morning.
The “Sideways” Craze & Best Pinot Noir Wines – Chapter 3
“Sideways” is probably the most popular wine-focused movie of all times. If you haven’t watched it, take a look at it as it’s fun. It features two friends who take a road trip through the Santa Ynez Valley of California. Miles is a Pinot enthusiast, and he slowly converts his friend Jack who was a Merlot lover, and teaches him to love the lighter Pinots. The movie came out in 2005 and many credit it for boosting the popularity of Pinot Noir around the world, and the decline of Merlot in the US.
Anyhow, before the early 2000s let’s say, there wasn’t all that much Pinot Noir produced around the world outside of Burgundy. A little around Burgundy like in Alsace, in Germany, Switzerland or Italy, but not a lot. Since though, the grape has gone completely mainstream.
In Burgundy, the best Pinot Noirs come from what is called the Cote d’Or area around the city of Beaune. There you’ll find the names of prestigious wine villages that are synonymous with the best and most expensive Pinots in the world like Vosne-Romanée, Pommard, Gevrey-Chambertin or Chambolle-Musigny. Grand Cru Pinot from Burgundy are some of the rarest, most demanded and therefore most expensive wines in the world, with prices easily reaching North of $1000 a bottle.
Outside of Burgundy, you’ll have to go to cooler parts of California to find good ones, like some parts of the Sonoma County, the Russian River Valley or the Sonoma Coast, but also the central coast, like Santa Barbara or Santa Ynez valley. Places like Napa valley or the Central Valley of California are just too warm for Pinot. And then Oregon and Washington state also make some wonderful Pinots that you might want to investigate if you want to dig further into it.
As for other countries, New Zealand makes some fantastic Pinot Noirs that are absolutely worth tasting if you come across them, preferably those from Central Otago or Martinborough rather than the Marlborough ones. And finally, some interesting Pinot Noirs come out of the Southern end of South America, from Patagonia to be specific, Chilean and Argentine side of the continent.
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