The world's most popular light-bodied red, it's loved for tart red fruit acidity, spice, and a long smooth finish. Likely originating in Burgundy, it is made into various styles, from Champagne & other sparkling wines, to rose & red wines.
It's one of the few grapes to be made into all wine styles of white, rose, red & sparkling wines. The whites often are made using Pinot Blanc, which is a color mutation from Pinot Noir.
As a terroir expressive grape, it's taste profile changes dramatically based on the environment it's grown in. As a common baseline, red fruit notes like cherry & raspberry come through, with spice aromas & a long smooth finish. Floral & savory notes such as clove, slate, and soil changing depending on the region it's grown in.
With it's high acidity & lower tannin, it's a great food pairing for most lighter foods. Mushrooms & duck go beautifully with Pinot Noir, as do chicken & pork dishes.
As a more sensitive grape, Pinots tend to grow in cool to intermediate regions with cool growing seasons. As a result, you'll often find it in places with regulated climates, like valleys or near large bodies of water. It enjoys the same climate as Chardonnay, so you can often find the 2 planted side by side.
FRENCH PINOT NOIR
By far the most famous region would be Burgundy, with it's more earthy and floral style. Look to those grown on the east facing slopes of South of Dijon for some of the world's most coveted Pinots. Other regions like Loire Valley & Alsace also produce beautiful Pinots
Sancerre Rouge of Loire Valley are slightly lighter, less earthy than Burgundian Pinots, and Alsace has a beautifully mineral take on Pinots, bringing a more rustic PInot style.
Ageworthy Pinots are often fermented with whole grape clusters, to give it a higher tannin. These will have higher bitter notes early on, but results in coveted wines that can age for over 20 years.
CALIFORNIAN PINOT NOIR
Most of America's Pinot Noir comes from California. Most of the Pinot growing regions would be coastal or elevated regions. Typically rich, frujity and lush due to ample sun exposure, they would typically have subtle spice undertones from French oak ageing. You can expect notes of vanilla, all spice & white tea amongst this otherwise lush & fruit forwad PInot Noir.
Should you want something with a slightly lighter & acidic style closer to the French Burgundian, look to Russian River Valley.
OTAGO PINOT NOIR
The world's most southerly wine region, Marlborough & the greater Central Otago area is largely due to the heavy clay & gravel soils. Fragrant, lush fruit underpinned by taut structure, silky texture and true intensity, they tend to have an underlying minerality due to the volcanic terroir. Look to something from Bannockburn, Bendigo and Cromwell Basin for fruitier styles,
GERMAN PINOT NOIR
While Germany is very well known as "Riesling country", Germany is actually the third largest producer of Pinot Noir wines in the world. It goes under the name Spatburgunder, and has a rich & varied history. Expect vibrant acidity, clean aromas & balance, but you would also find significant variation between terroirs. Look to Baden, Pfalz Ahr, or Rheingau for quality Pinots.
Pinot can be found in many other regions like Chile, Moldova, Canada & South Africa. If you like Pinot, you should give Gamay a try as well!