Pinot Noir is one of the most ancient grapes in the world (records go back 2000 years). Did you know that pinot is the father of dozens of other varieties including chardonnay? That’s right. Pinot noir originated in the Burgundy region of France and all red Burgundies are 100% pinot noir.
Pinot’s other famed locations include the Champagne region of France, where it’s made into Champagne, plus California, Oregon, and New Zealand. This grape likes cool climates and is often said to be one of the world’s most difficult, temperamental grapes.
Pinot can be hard to grow and hard to make into wine. However…it’s very easy to drink. One reason is that pinot noir is not high in tannin and often feels more approachable and drinkable. Flavors differ by where the grape is grown. You can distinguish tastes of damp earth, dried bark, wet leaves, peat, black tea, raspberry compote, pie berries, pomegranate, cranberries, or spice.
Ever wonder why a pinot is not as red or as purple as other wines? It’s because pinot noir lacks a whole set of color pigments in its skins. Therefore, these grapes usually make wines that are light in color. Don’t assume these wines will lack flavor, however.
One downside is the cost. Because it can be difficult to produce, good pinot noir can be expensive. If you find a bargain pinot, you may end up with a wine that’s quite unpinot-like. Chances are, you’ll be wasting your money.