Pinot Noir is considered as the most difficult grape variety to cultivate, despite this it is grown in many wine regions around the world, and the fine wine it produces is worth every effort.
The thin skin of the Pinot noir grape makes it highly vulnerable to environmental factors such as frost and heat, pests, and diseases.
When it comes to climate, the delicate nature of the grape makes it very picky about the region where it is grown. The ideal climate for growing Pinot Noir would be short and moderately warm summers and mild winters.
The soil for growing the vines has to be well-drained and rich with nutrients in order to deliver their best fruits.
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One of the most interesting facts about Pinot Noir wine is that the region where the grapes are grown plays a huge role in the final taste of the wine.
While Old World Pinot Noir wines such as France or Italy will develop more elegant aromas, earthy flavors, and minerality, New World grown Pinot Noirs tend to be less acidic, more fruit-forward, and higher in alcohol content.
Burgundy is the most romantic part of France by far and apart from picturesque locations it also offers one of the best regions for growing Pinot Noir in the world.
Although besides Pinot Noir, there are a few other red grape varieties that thrive in Burgundy, when it comes to Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir carries the title.
Burgundy is the home of the Pinot Noir grape, with cultivation dating as far back as the 1st century AD. (1)
The cool balanced climate provides the perfect opportunity for the grape to ripen evenly, which results in elegant wines with amazing clean flavors of earth, spice, and red cherry.
Burgundy produces high in acidity complex red wines which have the ability to age sometimes for more than 20 years.
The most important Pinot Noir regions in Burgundy to mention are:
CÔTE DE NUITS
CÔTE DE BEAUNE
The lack of sunlight, the cool climate, and the heavy rains result in Oregon having almost the same climate as Burgundy.
Willamette Valley is the most important region in Oregon for producing Pinot Noir, and along with Burgundy, the home of some of the best Pinot Noir wines in the world.
Almost 2/3 of the country’s wine production comes from the Willamette Valley, and when it comes to Oregon Pinot Noir, we are definitely talking about Willamette Valley.
The most important sub-regions within Willamette Valley are:
Although they are New World Pinot Noir, Oregon wines are very elegant on the palate, with silky tannins, gentle fruit flavors, and low alcohol content, and they can certainly hold their own to their Old World counterparts.
Almost every red grape variety is grown in California with nearly 3500 wine producers. After Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir is one of the major grapes grown in California.
Although California is warmer, the grape enjoys the cold Pacific breeze and the morning fog.
Californian Pinot Noirs tend to be slightly stronger in body, less acidic, and with more intense flavors than the Old World and Oregon Pinot Noirs.
The most important regions for growing Pinot Noir grapes are:
Russian River Valley
Sta Rita Hills
Santa Lucia Highlands
Arroyo Grande Valley
Santa Ynez Valley
Santa Maria Valley
4. New Zealand
New Zealand as a wine country owes its popularity primarily to the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes.
New Zealand Pinot Noirs are bright, fruit-forward, with balanced acidity and gentle tannins.
Along with Oregon, New Zealand has some of the coolest climate wine regions for growing Pinot Noir in the New World. The most important to mention are:
Pinot Noir is having a spike in popularity in Australia, with it being the 4th major red grape grown, after Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Pinot Noir is grown in the cooler parts of Australia, with the 4 major regions as follows:
Australian Pinot Noir wines are elegant and well-structured, with expressed fruity notes of dark cherry and red berries.
In Germany, Pinot Noir is called “Spatburgunder” and it was brought to the country from Burgundy, as the name suggests.
Germany is the 3rd largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. German Pinot Noirs are very light in body and tannins, with a pale color and supple fruit flavors.
Its primary Pinot Noir regions are:
“Pinot Nero” as is the name of Pinot Noir in Italy, is grown throughout the whole country, but the regions with the most Pinot Noir vineyards are:
The Alto Adige region deserves the most attention, as the grapes thrive in the high foothills of the Alps, enjoying the cool mountain breeze and bright sunlight.
Pino Nero from Italy is a delicate and refined wine, with pleasant minerality, earth, spice, and fruity flavors.
Chile is one of the newest Pinot Noir producers and gaining popularity pretty fast.
The Pinot Noir vineyards are mostly situated in the north of the country, where the climate is significantly cooler than the south, with foggy mornings and sunny afternoons. The most important regions are:
Chilean Pinot Noirs are typically medium-bodied, with moderate acidity and tannins, and well-expressed fruity flavors.
9. Loire Valley, France
Although Pinot Noir is not the major grape variety of the Loire Valley region (this being Cabernet Franc), it is the only grape that makes red Sancerre.
Besides Sancerre, Pinot Noir is used as a blending grape in Loire reds, rosés and sparkling wines.
Pinot Noir from the Loire region is well-known for its minerality and fruity profile.
10. Champagne, France
Yes, that’s right. Along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir is one of the main grapes that produce the most famous sparkling wine in the world.
A bottle of Blanc de Noir Champagne will always be made of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier red grapes, despite its white color.
11. Alsace, France
Pinot Noir is the only red wine from Alsace, and by law, the wine is bottled in a flute narrow bottle just like the white wines from Alsace.
Unlike other French regions, Alsace wines are labeled and named after the grape which produced them.
Pinot Noir is considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, and a great food companion.
If you are just starting to explore Pinot Noir, go slowly and gently and begin with Oregon, than California and France at the end.
And if you are planning on visiting a Pinot Noir region, Burgundy has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.
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