A difficult 'customer' described by one
well-known winemaker as a 'moving target of a grape variety', on top
form Pinot Noir can make the most complex and hedonistic of red wines.
Pinot Noir has fewer coloring pigments (anthocyanins) than other
dark-skinned varieties, so it can appear to be lighter or more aged,
when compared to wines such as Malbec from Argentina which can be dark
and almost inky on occasions. Of course, there are exceptions to the
rule, such as the wines from the likes of Romanée Conti in Burgundy's
Pinot Noir is a prime example of the
importance of terroir, the term used to describe the growing conditions
of the grape such as the soil, drainage, microclimate, and exposure to
the sun. Pinot Noir is an excellent wine when the grapes have been grown
in Burgundy but an altogether more challenging prospect when grown
Carneros and the Central of California,
Oregon, the Yarra Valley, and cooler spots in Australia, are
consistently producing 'typical' and different expressions of Pinot
Noir. New Zealand, via Martinborough, Marlborough, Central Otago and
South Africa, via Walker Bay, are also now producing decent Pinot Noir.
The Pinot Noir nose is often reminiscent of raspberry, strawberry, and
redcurrant when young, taking on subtle, earthy, leafy, prune-like
aromas with age. It is also one of the classic Champagne varieties.
Pinot Noir grapes can be found in
Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne and Sancerre in France, Germany (Spätburgunder),
Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, and California, Oregon
and Washington States in the United States.