What is a Pinot Noir?

I only discovered Pinot Noir wine recently when someone suggested it. We get caught in our usual patterns of wine drinking and can miss out on something really good. This is the case with Pinot Noir pronounced Pee-noh N’war.
The name comes from the French words for pine and black (the grapes are dark and cluster conically – like a pine cone where the name may have come from) so it sounds a lot better in the original language. Don’t think Australian waiters would be impressed with an order for two glasses of the ‘83 Pine Black although after writing it down it is growing on me. Although French in origin (the Burgundy region) the Pinot Noir grapes are grown in cooler climates so we get very good varieties in Victoria and Tasmania.
The grapes are dark and grow in small, tight clusters which can make them susceptible to rot. A very good grape but a difficult species to cultivate and make into wine means more risk and work for the growers. Also the crop must be low yield to raise the quality and are at risk from frost and wind. Basically this grape is a pain from planting to bottling so appreciate the efforts involved. After you have tasted it you will think it is worth it.
So what about the taste? Pinot Noirs is considered a delicate wine with a red fruity flavour of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. After aging the flavors and aromas develop an earthy note of mushrooms, smoke and decaying leaves. So if you are after a light fruity wine then go for younger bottle whereas if you want something heavier get a matured bottle. Foods that are associated with drinking Pinot Noir include poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes.
Don’t buy too cheap or you won’t really experience the wine and try a young and mature version to see which you prefer.

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