6 Things You Need to Know About Pinot Noir
Its cousins with Chardonnay
A natural crossing of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like its famous relative, it used to make Champagne. Grapes used for Champagne must usually be the white Chardonnay, but the dark skinned Pinot Noir is given a gentle pressing without skin contact during fermentation, which yields a white base wine.
Pinot Noir is a very hard grape to grow
The bunches of Pinot Noir grapes are very tight, with a defined pine cone shape. Because of this, fungi and rot love the comfortable and humid conditions between the grapes and therefore makes the grapes susceptible to disease. In addition, the grape have a thin skin making it harder to protect against pests and makes the grapes more sensitive to the elements such as heat and desiccation in addition to bruising after rain. To add insult to injury the berries of the Pinot Noir, just like the wine that they produce, have pretty low tannins which is a natural protection against pest and UV radiation.
It made South Africa famous
True story. This is because it gave birth to a unique South African variety, Pinotage. Pinotage is a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsault and began its life in the lab of Professor of Viticulture Abraham Isak Perold, who developed it in 1925 in the hope of developing a grape that was stable and easy to grow.
It’s the ultimate food loving wine
A Pinot Noir is the ultimate food loving and versatile wine, known to be drinkable with most dishes. We love it with pasta, duck and other game birds, casseroles and of course stews.
The French call it red burgundy
We know the French are pretty precious about their wine regions and what they call their grapes but truly they must have been designed to confuse us all. Indeed Pinot Noir was born in the Burgundy region of France, but unless they’re grown in this region they have to be referred to as Pinot Noir. The name means “Pine Black because of the pine shape a bunch makes on the vine and the dark colour of the berries.
Where does the name Pinot Noir come from?
The French gave their grapes straight forward names and Pinot Noir is no exception. The Pinot in Pinot Noir refers to the pine cone shape of the grape bunch that is quite characteristic of this variety and the Noir refers to the french word for black. Simply translated Pinot Noir is French for the black pine cone variety.
The Romans and Monks were the first to love Pinot Noir
It is thought that Pinot Noir is one of the most ancient wine making grapes that has survived tot his day and for that reasons it may be only a few generations removed from the wild ancient grapes. Pinot Noir has been documents in France since the Roman era dating back to the first century AD when the Romans invaded Europe.