Written by April Reinhardt (last updated January 10, 2018)
Pinot Noir is a red wine produced from grapes that look black. The name Pinot Noir is taken from the French words pine and black, referencing the black colored grapes that grow in tight clusters. The clusters resemble the tight, clustered look of a pinecone. Pinot Noir grapes are finicky and can only thrive under the right conditions, and are grown chiefly in the Burgundy section of France. Pinot grapes are the only grapes allowed in the wines of that region, and are crucial in the making of Champagne and other sparkling wines.
Yet, other than Burgundy, Pinot is successfully grown in other regions such as New Zealand, California, and Oregon. Pinot Noir from those regions typically radiate more pungent fruit intensity, allowing those wines to reach a higher level of complexity with age. As with most other Burgundy wines, Pinot Noir matures with its flavors becoming more complex, while maintaining its delicacy.
Choosing a Pinot Noir need not be difficult. You just need to recognize and understand the variety better. Here are some tips for choosing the correct Pinot Noir to complement any food:
Understand the reason why most Pinots are more expensive than a cabernet or merlot. It is because there are fewer bottles produced. Since Pinot Noir grapes are difficult to grow, less bottles of the wine are produced, making them more expensive as demand increases.
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