Pinot Noir. The ficklest of grape varietals, but also the most seductive. It needs the right kind of soil, temperature, and rainfall amount to excel (the combination of these natural elements which the French call “terroir”). Remove any one of those requirements and it will likely result in a wine that is either overripe and unbalanced, thin and bland, or overly acidic and characterless. Doesn’t sound very good to me!
What we want is silky and seductive, with beautiful floral notes and tasting of fresh picked strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. An ethereal wine that can also show intensity and strength. The greatest Pinot Noirs, largely agreed upon to be the Grand Crus of Burgundy, are wines that, in my opinion, outclass even the greatest wines from Bordeaux. It’s not every day that a wine steps into the ring with a First Growth Bordeaux and wins!
Outside of Burgundy, Pinot Noir also shines in Oregon and relatively cool climate wine regions in California (Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, and Santa Rita Hills, to name a few). Oh, and it is also, along with Chardonnay, responsible for making the great wines of Champagne.
We have loads of great Pinot Noirs lining our shelves. In fact, this is probably our biggest growing varietal category… we seem to add another nice one every week! One recent addition is Stolen Identity Pinot Noir from Oregon’s famed growing region, the Willamette Valley. This has all of those great rose petal, cherry, raspberry flavors, with just a kiss of toasty oak. It has quickly become one of our favorites and is, absolutely, worth a try as we celebrate National Pinot Noir Day (who knew?!) this Friday, August 18th.