It is impossible to talk about red wines and not mention Pinot Noir. It is a variety that is notoriously difficult to grow and is known to thrive in some cooler climates. But if you got everything right, the reward will be an amazing light-bodied wine that excels with complexity, longevity, and elegance.
The Origins of Pinot Noir
It is a black grape variety that comes from Vitis Vinifera that originates from France. Pinot Noir is among the oldest varieties in France, cultivated by the Cistercian monks in Burgundy. More than a century later, Pinot Noir is loved by wine lovers from all over the world and wine collectors that recognize it for its age-worthiness, as well as its finesse. They have a special regard for Pinot Noir that comes from the best vineyards in Burgundy.
The fact that growing Pinot Noir can be extremely challenging, as well as its worldly popularity, make it one of the most expensive wines in the world.
The high demand for Pinot Noir led to plantings throughout Europe and the New World. So aside from France, the finest Pinot Noir wines are produced in Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the United States, Chile, and Austria.
Because it is so widespread, many consider Pinot Noir as an “international variety.”
The Meaning of Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is both the name of the grape and the single-varietal wine that comes from the grape. The name comes from two French words, “pine” and “black.” The first reference is to the pin-cone shape of the wine’s clusters, while the second one is to the color of the grapes.
The Pinot Noir Family
There aren’t too many relatives in the pinot wine family. The closest family members include Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Blanc.
Pinot Gris has a subtle pinkish tint that often goes unnoticed. Typically this wine is honeyed and richer. Pinot Grigio is full of fresh aromas and crisp. It can be distinguished by its parent with its lighter body. Pinot Blanc is a crisp, fresh, and very light type of wine.
There are other members of the pinot family, but they are not that popular. Some of those are Pinot Teinturier, Pinot Auxerrois, and Pinot Meunier.
The Taste of Pinot Noir
In most cases, Pinot Noir is light to medium-bodied, a dry wine featuring silky tannins. Its alcohol levels range from 12 to 15 percentage. Premium versions may include complex flavors such as raspberry, mushroom, and cherry. Sometimes even vanilla and baking spice are included when the wine has been aged in French oak.
Typically, the taste depends on both the terroir and the winemaker’s style. Warmer climates bring fuller-bodied, ripper wines, while colder climates result in light-bodied and more delicate versions.
To contrast it to another popular red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, you will typically find that a Pinot Noir is a far less taste-forward wine in comparison to Cabernet Sauvignon. The latter tends to pack a far bigger punch, with some Cabernets dominating taste in comparison to the more subtle Pinot.
Furthermore, it makes a big difference in how the wine is aged. Wines aged in 100% French oak tend to have a fuller texture.
Alcohol Levels in Piot Noir
The level of alcohol is directly related to the surrounding climate, which influences ripeness. Pinot Noir from warmer regions such as Australia and California has alcohol levels ranging from 13.5 to 15 percent. Although from cooler climates such as in Germany and France, the alcohol levels range between 12 and 13.5 percentage.
Number of Calories in Pinot Noir
Most of the calories found in the Pinot Noir come from its alcohol. On average, there are 625 calories in a 750 ml bottle of Pinot Noir. If the bottle contains residual sugar, then wine will also contain a small number of carbohydrates. Most dry wines have zero or four grams of carbs tops.
How to Serve Pinot Noir?
The ideal temperature for serving Pinot Noir ranges from 12° to 19°C. But keep in mind that Pinot Noir can be rick or delicate and fresh. Its lighter version needs to be served at lower temperatures, closer to 12°C, while its bodied versions need to be served closer to the higher end of the scale, 19°C.
In case you don’t manage to finish the entire bottle, you can still re-cork it and return it to its fridge. That way, the flavor will be kept fresh for up to three days. Beyond that, the Pinot Noir will begin to oxidize and simply won’t taste the same.
Before we go into what’s best paired with Pinot Noir, we need to know what doesn’t work with it. The rule here is simple, avoid foods that are richly flavored and dense because they can overpower its delicacy.
On the other hand, lamb and duck meats are perfect. The same goes for chicken, pork, and turkey meat. Many fish dishes go well with Pinot Noir. For example, salmon is always a good meal to pair with this type of wine.