Tonight I want to discuss one of the most temperamental, difficult, yet, one of the oldest and best grape varieties in the wine world. Pinot Noir.
This wine seeks out perfection. Think of it as Goldilocks and her porridge. Now link that to Pinot Noir and you will know exactly what I am talking about. This climate is too hot. This Climate is too cold, but the third climate… on the high hills, 10km inland from the ocean, eastward facing, with cool overnight climates close was juuuuussssttttt right.
Pinot Noir; a grape variety made famous from that Hollywood movie Sideways. It brought Pinot Noir to the world and the world to California. Business and the notoriety of Pinot Noir in California boomed! *A little California knowledge drop* The Californian wine region is the 2nd largest attraction. Behind something to do with a mouse and a man named Walt.
Pinot Noir when done right, produces some of the best tasting and drinking wines we can come across. However, it does come at a price. This grape is picky and likes things a certain way. It can be a right bitch to grow and can often cause more headaches than rewards. In the red wine world, it loves the types of climate we associate to white wine grapes, but more so, it loves a nice ocean breeze, cool mornings, if there is fog even better as it helps contain the fruit aroma in the grape and not lose it to the heavens. It loves to get up high, therefore in South Australia, it is not so infamous for Pinot Noir compared to the likes of Victoria and Tasmania.
The wine itself is delicate. (Think of the grape itself) it has a weak skin, and produces nothing more than a medium bodied wine. However, in Australian Pinot, you get pleasant aromas of strawberries, cherry, cranberry, tomato. Floral notes, like roses and violets, and then hints of spice. Also, in warmer South Australia, you might start to go into blueberry and blackberry territory. Yet, depending from where in the world you source your Pinot Noir from, means that you get very different characters in the wine. Take France into account and it tends to lean towards all those earthy characters, like mushrooms, herbaceous leafy qualities, and floral notes. (Cooler climate.) When we move to the USA and around San Francisco, they drive more fruit quality. Sweeter fruit; cherries, ripe raspberry and, even cola and caramel! (Warmer Climate)
Unlike any other wine, it goes well with any deal of food. It can handle white meats and then can handle game meat too. I personally like to pair Pinot Noir up with duck as the two handle each other beautifully. But can go well with pastas, pizza, chicken dishes and even fish! Yes fish. Not fish from the ocean, but fresh water fish. But when you cook it, try making a fish stew or adding bacon to the dish, otherwise you might end up in a world of trouble. This wine loves cheese too. Some people, myself included, think that wine and cheese should not mix. Cheese dulls the flavors of wine. Therefore, if you have expensive wines, do not drink them with cheese. However if you have Pinot, it goes well with creamy soft cheese like Brie, Camembert and Comté.
When you are ready to make the transfer from the world of white wines, then this is the first red variety you should move onto. I then would completely understand if you never want to move off of this wine. When you find a brilliant Pinot Noir, you will be challenged to find something better from any other grape variety.
The SA Wine Guy