Everything You Need to Know About Pinot Noir

One of the most popular red wines in the world, Pinot Noir is made from grapes of the same name. With a long history, notable recognition in mainstream media, and unique versatility, Pinot Noir seems to have something that appeals to all wine lovers. Yet, due to its popularity and the difficulties related to growing the grapes, Pinot is often expensive. Whether you’re already an ardent fan of this popular wine or you’re curious about whether it’s for you, there is much you can learn about Pinot Noir.

picture of red wine in a glass

What is Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir is a wine made from the grape species Nitis Vinifera, hailing from France. Most Pinot Noir wines (and certainly the most popular ones) are red, but the grapes can also be used to make Rosé, white, and even sparkling wines, like champagne. While it’s often hailed as an elegant collector wine, Pinot Noir can be bright and fruity, making it perfect for everyday sipping.

How to Pronounce Pinot Noir

Since it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as it’s spelled, you may have heard a variety of pronunciations for Pinot Noir. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t correct. The correct pronunciation of Pinot Noir is “Pee-noh Nwahr.” The first “i” is pronounced as a long e, and the “t” at the end of Pinot is silent. The “oi” in noir creates a “wah” sound pronounced like a short a, immediately followed by a soft pronunciation of the r.

Pinot Noir, and Where It Comes From

Some of the finest Pinot Noirs are produced in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the US, and Chile, making it widely recognized as an international wine. However, it is most strongly associated with Burgandy, France.
Pinot Noir is the name of a thin-skinned grape that grows best in cooler climates. Directly translated, the name means Pine Black. It’s suspected that the name comes from the shape of the grape clusters, which resemble a pinecone. Notoriously hard to grow, these grapes have been grown in France since the Middle Ages. As wines from Burgandy rose to fame, winemakers worldwide took notice and sought to recreate the region’s success.

What Does Pinot Noir Taste Like?

Pinot Noir is known for its crisp acidity, light tannins, and complex fruity flavors. Since it’s grown in a range of climates, wine flavors can span from delicate and light-bodied to rich and full-bodied with higher alcohol content. Pinots from France tend to have more rustic acidity, while those from California produce higher alcohol and more concentrated flavors. Pinot Noir is known for a combination of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry flavors with spices and vanilla.

Is Pinot Noir Dry?

While it’s known for fruit flavors and juicy acidity, Pinot Noir is almost always produced dry. After the grapes are pressed, the sugar from them is converted into alcohol by yeast, creating a fully dry wine. Sweeter Pinot Noirs are developed through an altered fermentation process in which the yeast is destroyed before it finishes converting the sugar to alcohol. So, although Pinot Noir is a dry wine, many sweet versions are available.

See the Varieties of Pinot Noir We Have Available

As you learn more about Pinot Noir, it becomes easy to understand why it’s one of the most popular red wines in the world. Whether you’re looking to find a beloved favorite or expand your palate, Pinot Noir is a red wine that pairs well with many foods and is well suited for a variety of occasions. Shop our inventory today to find the right Pinot to add to your collection or elevate your next occasion.


Image sources: allstars & Andrii Zastrozhnov via Shutterstock

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