Pinot Noir (pron. pee-no nwahr)
Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult and temperamental grapes to grow and make into fine wine. It can also produce an amazing glass of wine when it is done properly. Why is this grape so difficult? It has very specific requirements for its growing conditions and it does best in cool climates. It needs warm days and cool nights and will throw viticultural tantrums at the slightest change in the weather. If Pinot Noir grapes receive too little heat in the growing season, its wines are thin and pale. If the growing season is too warm, the Pinot Noir wines have an overripe, cooked flavor. Winemakers must also watch the yield, or the amount of bunches of grapes allowed to grow on one vine. Pinot Noir vines provide lower yields than other grape varieties.
So why does anyone want to grow this temperamental grape? The answer is it is capable of making sublime, sexy and addictive red wines that exquisitely express their place of origin. Indeed, once you've tasted a great Australian Pinot Noir wine you'll be hooked. Smooth and silky Pinot Noir impresses with elegance rather than power. The color of the wine is typically lighter than other reds. Flavors of strawberry, raspberry and cherry are common in young wines, becoming earthy and gamey as the wine matures. Australian Pinot Noir also tends to have softer tannins and a long finish. Finish is winespeak for the flavors that hold on in your mouth after you have swallowed the wine. Pinot Noir grapes rarely makes "big," deeply colored wines, instead it’s known for its elegance and perfumed aroma.
The aging potential can range from 3 to 12 years depending on the quality and style of the wine. Pinot Noir is very versatile in its ability to match up with foods. Grilled seafood is an especially good match with most wines made from Pinot Noir.
To experience the best Australian Pinot Noir wines, try them from the cooler climates like Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the inland Orange region of New South Wales and in Western Australia, from the elevated Denmark region and the Margaret River ‘micro climate’ district of Rosa Glen.
Check out our Food and Wine Pairing Table to see the best choice for your Australian Pinot Noir wines.