When done right, Pinot Noir can be divinely expressive, with gorgeous fruit purity, complexity, and a velvety palate. Lucky us! This grape has been around a long time, and the world’s winemakers have mastered the art of making the best of it.
Adored by many, the “King of Burgundy” has its own day dedicated to it, which is celebrated every 18th of August worldwide. Do you want to know what all the fuss is about? Here are ten reasons to celebrate International Pinot Noir Day.
1. Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes in the world.
It has been around since before the Roman times, and it is thought to be some 2,000 years old. To put its longevity in perspective, it is about a thousand years older than Cabernet Sauvignon!
2. It is incredibly difficult to handle.
Known to be the “the heartbreak grape,” Pinot Noir gets its nickname from its very thin skin that easily breaks requires gentle and thoughtful care in the vineyard and cellar, which is a worthy endeavor undertaken to produce this smooth and particularly easy to drink wine. It ripens relatively early and is not suitable for regions that are too hot and sunny, as it requires these high standards of attention. As much as it thrives in cold areas, it is highly sensitive to autumn rains, making it vulnerable to disease. Moreover, Pinot Noir produces low to moderate crops compared to other varietals. Vignerons aren’t kidding when they say it is a fragile grape, but still, most of them are obsessed with the generosity, delicacy, and deliciousness of Pinot.
3. It produces some of the most valued wines in the world.
Pinot Noir is known to be “the grande dame of grape varieties,” based on its unarguable attributes. Elegant and captivating, it makes some of the most seductive and intriguing wines in the world. Not ready to pay $558,000 for a bottle of 1945 La Romanée Conti? No worries, there are many winemakers around the world committed to producing beautiful, aromatic, and effortlessly elegant wines, at a fraction of that price.
4. It’s widely used in Champagne production.
Pinot Noir not only produces some of the finest reds of the world but also serves as a great blending component to Champagne and other sparkling wines. With it, Pinot brings red fruit aromatics and adds vigor, complexity, and a fuller body to these wines.
5. Its transparency developed the concept of Terroir.
Around the year 1,000 AD, the Cistercian order of Monks, who believed a devotion to hard labor brought them closer to God, began gaining authority outside of the modern city of Dijon and started cultivating vineyards. Over hundreds of vintages, they painstakingly maintained detailed records of their vineyards — describing in minute detail how and exactly where vines thrived or withered, and how the resulting wines tasted. In doing so, they created the world’s first harvest reports and simultaneously invented the idea of Terroir.
Sensitive to climate, soil, yield, and winemaking techniques, Pinot Noir checks all the boxes to be the most terroir-driven grape.
6. It makes excellent Rosé.
Because of its affinity to cold climates, Pinot Noir tends to produce a good acidity and lower sugar concentrations, which then translates into low alcohol wines. Along with notes of watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, a refreshing acidity, and moderate alcohol makes a perfect combination for a yummy Rosé.
7. It is Pinotage’s father.
Back in 1925, in South Africa, scientists crossed Pinot Noir vines with Cinsault and created a new variety called Pinotage.
8. It is a mutant and has many clones.
Pinot Noir can be particularly prone to mutation, and there are many different clones available, all with their own specific climatic needs and flavor notes. Thanks to this, in the New World, it has found multiple new homes where it thrives: Sonoma Coast and the Willamette Valley in the US, Patagonia in Argentina, Leyda in Chile, Tazmania in Australia and Central Otago in New Zealand, to name a few.
9. It has a bright future.
With multiple winemakers deeply committed to making world-class Pinot Noirs, many innovative projects are pushing the boundaries to find its next best spot. Hemel-en-Aarde in South Africa, Switzerland, and even Lebanon!
10. Pinot Noir is simply delicious.
Pinot Noir has such an evocative and seductive spirit that it has captivated the heart of all types of consumers. It is food-friendly and can be produced in many styles, thus providing a fascinating sensory record of place, vintage, viticulture, and winemaking.
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