Pinot Noir is one of the most important wines in the world: it is made from a grumpy and difficult grape, which when vinified artfully gives wines of uncommon quality and finesse. Its formula was developed in Burgundy and from there it spread to many parts of the world, where it was able to find new, unforgettable expressions. How to recognize it? Here is a small guide to orient yourself and recognize Pinot Noir, one of the most incredible wines of all time.
You either love Pinot Noir or hate it. For those who, like us, belong to the first category, here is a small guide to learn how to recognize it.
Before leaving: we at Sommelier Wine Box adopt this rule to distinguish the grape variety from the wine of the same name: the grape in lower case, the wine in capital letters. Let's begin!
Where does pinot noir come from?
Pinot Noir is an indigenous grape variety from Burgundy , where it has been cultivated for over 2000 years. In particular, they are the premier crus of the Côte d'Or (composed of Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits) where the most elegant Pinot Noir in the world are produced.
What are the grape characteristics that influence Pinot Noir?
The skin of Pinot Noir grapes is very thin and not very resistant (it cracks easily), which is why the wine made from it is not very colored and light (in the skin there are coloring substances, anthocyanins, as well as tannins ) . We are naturally referring to vinification in red, in purity. The refinement, especially in France, is generally in wood but with barrels that are not very toasted: the contribution of wood is limited.
What does pinot noir must smell like?
The must of this vine has no peculiarities but, on the contrary, is characterized by herbaceous notes which are common to the majority of wines. But after the alcoholic fermentation the magic begins because the typical notes of Pinot Noir emerge.
How to recognize Pinot Noir blindly?
Here we see the tricks for recognizing Pinot Noir vinified in red (this grape is in fact also used for white winemaking, to make excellent sparkling wines).
1. We said about the not very intense color: the clue that we are dealing with Pinot Noir is given by the fact that a transparent ruby red can be seen in the glass. If it is a Pinot Noir with many years behind it, the color will turn towards orange, always very light.
2. On the nose, Pinot Noir is recognized by its fine bouquet . The elegant hints of small berries (currant, raspberry, blueberry, wild strawberry, blackberry) are dominant. This profile is also enriched by cherry and violet . If it is a Pinot Noir from an old vintage, these aromas are enriched with spicy notes, hints of tobacco , liquorice , leather .
The herbaceous notes can lead to some typical "stinks", referred to in the wine lexicon in the most diverse ways (from the chicken coop to the farmyard, from Brett to organic): these are completely typical odors of Pinot Noir from Burgundy.
3. When tasted it is silky , fresh , with velvety tannins (given by the skilful aging in wood)
4. It is a very persistent wine.
How does Pinot Noir evolve?
Pinot Noir has a great ability to evolve , indeed it needs time to mature and become really great. The ability to last over time naturally depends on the quality and intention with which it was produced. They range from a few years to 15 and more.
The typical red fruit aromas of Pinot Noir are very stable over the years, and in the cases of the best wines the aromas become increasingly fine and elegant.
Tips for tasting Pinot Noir?
For Pinot Noir to give its best, choose a large red wine glass.
If the Pinot Noir is aged, open it at least an hour beforehand.
Serve between 17 and 18° C.
Enjoy it in small sips: it will amaze during the tasting due to the progression.
Drink one glass alone, the following ones paired with French cheeses - if you like them - such as Camembert or Epoisses de Bourgogne.
This piece was written by researching with curiosity. Among many, important readings were Il Respiro del vino by Luigi Moio and Pinot Noir: comparative characterization of the biotypes selected at the Agricultural Institute of S. Michele all'Adige by U. Malossini, F. Mattivi, A. Monetti, G. Nicolini, I. Roncador, and M. E. Vindimian.