This thin-skinned grape is a notoriously temperamental variety, which has proved difficult to grow in certain climates and soils. There’s no other grape like Pinot Noir with its wonderfully heady perfumes, and thrillingly pure, sweet, red berry flavours of raspberry, loganberry, mulberry, cherry and strawberry. It takes well to French oak and, in bottle, develops truffley and gamey undertones.
Along with Chardonnayand Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir is one of the major grape varieties in Champagne, and plantings of Pinot in the region are even more extensive than those in Burgundy itself. Despite its fickle nature, it is a tribute to its desirability among consumers and producers and it has inspired growers all over Europe and the New World.
Pinot Noir is one of the most sensuously fragrant red grapes in the world with a variety of scented aromas based on red berry characters closest to raspberry and strawberry, and often tinged with incense and cola-like (!) spice. It can be a little minty and vegetal but when ripe usually tastes of raspberry or strawberry as well as cherry and, when exotic, loganberry, mulberry and fraise du bois. If overripe, it becomes jammy. As it matures in bottle, it often develops silky textures and alluring undertones of truffles, game and leather.