How to Choose a Good Pinot Noir?

Everybody swears Pinot Noir is the most famous wine variety globally. Whether it is the experts or the causal consumer, Pinot Noir has something to offer everyone. Besides, red wines are within everybody’s reach. The costly varieties that feel like velvet may be beyond most budgets, but certain types are surprisingly inexpensive. Grown initially by Cistercian monks in Burgundy, where it still flourishes, the super black grapes are grown in many countries. That is one indication of a good Pinot Noir by considering where it was produced. The labels indicate the origin, and the restaurant waiters will know. European countries and France, Italy, and Germany make excellent wines. Along with Oregon and California in America, the Pinot Noirs from New Zealand, too, are worth the money.

Personal preferences ultimately matter

Like a shopping spree, what eventually matters is choice! Research at the fingertips brings plenty of study material online. Which are the best Pinot Noirs, and where do they come from? What are the characteristics? Which foods match the wine quality? Where do the best wines come from? What are the prices like? Are they affordable? A good strategy is an experiment with some cheaper wines. If somebody has never sipped wine, which is rare, avoid the expensive brands initially. After liking the taste and the aftermath, go for the bigger game. Recommendations from family and friends do help, as well as the storekeeper or bartender.

What does a good Pinot Noir taste like?

In French, pinot noir means ‘black pine cone.’ Among the oldest grape varieties, the pinot noir grapes have thinner skins, resulting in a light-bodied wine. These grapes are tough to grow, and thus the sometimes-sky-high costs. Classic intense wine has a higher alcohol content than some other wine varieties. The aromas of raspberry and strawberry are felt. Some varieties remind me of mulberry, cherry, fig, and plum. Expect to feel spicy and earth flavors, mushroom-like too.

The essential Pinot Noir quality

Pinot Noir is a delightfully refreshing drink with high natural acidity, juicy and abundantly fruity. But it is not sugar beneath it all but usually made in a dry fashion. After the grapes are pressed, the sugar content from the grape is converted by yeast to alcohol. After the sugar conversion to alcohol, it is called a dry wine. Yet, a bit of sugar remains, which is why the wine tastes sweet.

Comparing Pinot Noir with some other wines

Cabernet Sauvignon is another kind of red grape that is found on the Bordeaux left bank. This wine has more alcohol and is darker with more excellent tannin and body. Margaux and Pauillac are some wines that became famous.

Merlot similarly has more alcohol and is darker with more significant tannin and body, hailing from the Bordeaux right bank. Pomerol and Saint-Émilion produce famous wines. Pinot Noir wines possess great finesse and perfume. Pinot Noir wines are lightly colored. The body and alcohol, too, are light to medium. The wines have high acidity with fruit flavors like cranberries and mushrooms too.

The alcohol content in Pinot Noir

According to the location where the pinot noir grapes are grown, the alcohol content varies. France and Germany have comparatively cooler climates where the alcohol content may differ between 12%-13.5%. In warmer regions like Australia and California, the alcohol content is higher, between 13.5% and 15%.

Old World and new world Pinot Noirs

Burgundy, the original Pinot Noir growing region in France, is referred to as Old World. European is generally referred to as the Old-World wines. Originating in Burgundy long ago, grape cultivation spread across the world with wide varieties and ranges of prices. Though black grapes are hard to grow, wine-making is very attractive in terms of profits. The New World Pinot Noir refers to Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America. Besides the difference in alcohol content, the processes and the traditions also differ, comparing the old world and the new world wines.

Matching Pinot Noirs with the right food

Wine drinking is not complete without the accompanying cuisines. Alcohol not adequately balanced with food would be unhealthy too.

Light and soft Pinot Noirs hail from Alsace in France. This wine goes well with cold cuts, spring vegetables, and cheese. Chicken dishes with light creamy sauces work very well.

If it is earthy wines like vintage Burgundy, mushrooms in different dishes like pizza will go well. Truffley red wine also suits herbed and onioned dishes. Go for roast pork.

Fruity wines have cherry or berry scents. Salmon and tuna would do great on the menu. Roasted chicken and pasta work fine.

Spicy and sweet wines match well with duck or quail. Dishes that contain figs and cherries would suit the fruity flavor of red wines.

If the wine is stronger and tannic, the right food is lamb, venison, turkey, and duck. Include mild cheeses.

Top wine-producing destinations

Having loved the wine, get to know who made it and where? Choice based on region is bound to be awesome. Hopefully, it will not be fake.

  • France and Burgundy are where the now fabulous Pinot Noir came from. Even now, the charm has not faded, and great wines are still made in Europe. With hints of mushroom and dry herbs and minerals, too, the wines here age very gracefully with earthy tones. Along with the scent of flowers, they bear lively fruit flavors.

  • The foremost regions are crossing the oceans to America, Sonoma Coast, and the Russian River Valley in California. Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley is full-bodied with strong tannins. While abounding in cherry flavors, caramel and clove are felt too. Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs have a more excellent mineral taste of flint and river stones. Also felt are red berry tastes like raspberry and strawberry. In the Oregon Willamette Valley, the wines taste the cherry and strong peppery tannins and loamy minerals.

  • In Oceania, affordable fruity wines come from New Zealand and Australia. Sparkling Pinot Noir wines are also available.

  • In Chile, the cool climate produces lighter red wines with high acidity. Along with berry tastes, dark chocolate, leather, and beetroot could be felt too. It might not taste enjoyable.

The Pinot Noir adventure has begun! Avoid hurrying, and don’t overdo it. Get to know the basics. Wine goes with food and the appropriate dishes according to the type of wine. Storage in the fridge, wine glasses, and serving chilled are associated points to practice.

Updated on: 06-Jun-2023


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