Wine Tips: Everything You Need to Know About Pinot Noir Wine

By Maria Rogerson

April 5, 2022Food & Drink

The Pinot noir is one of the most preferred red wines in the world. However, this French variety of grape, which is also known as Pinot nero or Pinot negro, is not for everyone considering its delicate nature when it comes to growing and producing it. Despite the stereotypes, there are many good points of pinot noir red wine that make people fall in love with it.

A Brief History of Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir Grapes

Pinot Noir, by any measure, is an ancient grape. When you buy pinot noir wine you might hear that it has been cultivated for at least a millennium in Burgundy, where it is one of the most famous and revered grapes. Even so, it’s possible that pinot noir is even older than that.

While there is not much known about the origins of Pinot noir, it is believed that the grape was first cultivated in Burgundy, France around the 1st century AD. Some experts claim that Pinot noir was brought to Burgundy by the Romans. While others argue that the people of Burgundy chose to plant Pinot Noir as they felt it would do well in their cool climate.

Pinot Noir’s history as we know it began in Ancient Rome when the Roman Empire stretched from modern-day England to Germany and down into Egypt and North Africa. The Romans grew numerous grape varieties, including Pinot noir. However, the highest quality wines were coming from what is now modern-day Germany and France.

When the Roman Empire collapsed, the cultivation of wine grapes disappeared from many areas of Europe until monks reintroduced them during medieval times for use in sacramental wines and daily consumption. The best vineyards were situated close to monasteries where monks could keep an eye on them.

Pinot Noir Wine Profile

Pinot Noir Wines

Pinot noir is the red wine grape of Burgundy, now adopted (and extensively studied) in wine regions all over the world. The variety’s long journey has taken it to all kinds of vineyards.

Despite being one of the most popular red wine grapes in the market, Pinot Noir is also one of the most difficult grapes to grow and make into wine. It is a temperamental grape that requires great skill to transform its juice into a delicious bottle of wine. Most notably, Pinot Noir is at the heart of what makes Champagne, well, Champagne!

Pinot noir has been used as both a blending grape and as a varietal for centuries. It has many faces (think: light, medium-bodied or full-bodied), which can be found in an array of styles from delicate and floral to big and bold. It grows best in cooler climates with lots of sun.

What Does Pinot Noir Taste Like?

Glass of Pinot Noir

Pinot noir has a relatively light colour. The wines that don’t go through malolactic fermentation are often compared to cranberry juice or red cherry juice in terms of colour. Wines that have undergone malolactic fermentation are usually compared to red apple juice in terms of colour. Typically, a Pinot noir grape produces light to medium-bodied wine with flavours of cherries and raspberries as well as funkier, earthier flavours like beets, mushrooms and forest floor.

In wine clubs formed by wine enthusiasts, Pinot noir is often described as tasting like strawberries because of its relatively high levels of methyl anthranilate, which gives many fruits, such as grapes and strawberries, their fruity aromas. This also explains why many people describe the aroma of Pinot noir as having notes of cola, purple Kool-Aid and bubble-gum because those flavours all contain methyl anthranilate.

Pinot Noir Food Pairings

Pinot Noir with red meat

Pinot noir is one of the most food-friendly red wines. Its light body and relatively low tannin content make it an easy match with a wide variety of dishes, from light salads to chicken, pork and seafood.

As you might expect when you buy pinot noir wine, such a versatile wine, there are plenty of food pairings that work. The one big exception is red meat: Pinot noir’s mild character and lower alcohol levels mean it can’t compete with powerful flavours like those found in red meat and barbecue.

Pinot Noir is the Wine that Even Non-wine People Love

It’s food-friendly, has a relatively low alcohol content, and is perfect for the weekend. It’s for those who want to drink something enjoyable, but don’t want to take themselves too seriously.

Pinot noir is everywhere these days. It’s in movies, it’s in TV shows, and it’s regularly on every wine list around town. And you know what? Pinot noir deserves all of this attention. It’s consistently one of the world’s most popular red wines because it fits every occasion and satisfies nearly everyone’s palate.

Final Thoughts

It is a fact that the pinot noir red wine has a fairly complicated, yet delicious history. The French have always been known for creating a variety of fine wines and the Pinot noir is one of the most appreciated types. If you are planning on consuming this beverage, chances are you will want to know more about the wine itself and specifically how it is produced. From seed to glass, learning about this special kind of wine is not just about the taste, but also the history and process behind it.