PINOT NOIR

Pinot Noir - WineGrapesDirect.jpg

PLACE OF ORIGIN

Burgundy, France

GROWING CLIMATES

Cool

Moderate

COMMON SYNONYMS

Blauburgunder (Austria)

Pinot Nero (Italy)

Savagnin Noir (Switzerland)

Spatburgunder (Germany)

PARENTAGE

Unknown

MUTATIONS

Pinot Blanc

Pinot Gris

Pinot Noir Precoce

Pinot Teinturier

MAJOR OFFSPRING

Aligoté

Auxerrois

César

Chardonnay

Gamay Noir

Melon

Romorantin

Sacy

Savagnin

PREFERRED SOIL

Calcareous Clay

IN THE VINEYARD

Early Budding

Early Ripening

Thin Skinned

SUSCEPTIBILITY

Coulure

Downy Mildew

Fanleaf Virus

Frost

Leafroll Virus

Powdery Mildew

Photo Courtesy of Wine Grapes Direct

OLD WORLD PINOT NOIR WINES

Old World wines are typically labeled by location rather than by the grape variety. The following regions are known for Pinot Noir.

RED BURGUNDY

Red wines produced in French region of Burgundy are commonly 100% Pinot Noir. Wines are labeled by location, rather than grape variety. The most common labels are Beaune, Chambolle Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Pommard, Volnay, Vosne-Romanee, and Vougeot.

PINOT NOIR STYLES

Pinot Noir is a finicky grape variety that grows well in cool to moderate climates with access to cooling moderators such as altitude, fog, and/or wind influences. If the climate is too warm, Pinot Noir will ripen too quickly and create an unbalanced wine. Pinot Noir is typically bottled as a single varietal wine with the exception of sparkling wine. Oak aging is common with percentages of new oak typically increasing as grape quality increases. 

SPARKLING

Pinot Noir is a common grape variety used in sparkling wine production and the most planted grape variety in Champagne. When bottled on its own, it is often labeled as "Blanc de Noirs". When the grape is a part of a blend, Pinot Noir offers fruity aromatics, body, and structure to the wine.

COOL CLIMATE

Pinot Noir grown in a cool climate typically exhibit these characteristics: 

FLAVORS

CRANBERRY

BEET

VANILLA

TEA

STRUCTURE

BODY/TEXTURE

Light/Lean

ACIDITY

High

TANNIN

Moderate to Elevated

ALCOHOL

Moderate

MAJOR REGIONS

 

 

 

ALSACE

CHAMPAGE

LOIRE VALLEY

AHR

BADEN

CENTRAL OTAGO

PATAGONIA

TASMANIA

MODERATE CLIMATE

Pinot Noir grown in a moderate climate typically exhibit these characteristics:

FLAVORS

STRAWBERRY

POMEGRANATE

VANILLA

COLA NUT

STRUCTURE

 

BODY

Moderate to Full

 

TEXTURE

Round

ACIDITY

Moderate to Elevated

TANNIN

Moderate to Elevated

ALCOHOL

Elevated to High

MAJOR REGIONS

BURGUNDY

JURA

MARLBOROUGH

CENTRAL COAST

MENDOCINO

SONOMA

SANTA BARBARA

WILLAMETTE VALLEY

ALTO ADIGE

YARRA VALLEY

CASABLANCA

WALKER BAY

COMMON WINEMAKING TECHNIQUES (A-Z)

 

COLD MACERATION:

Cold maceration ("cold soaking") is conducted prior to fermentation. Skins are kept in contact with the juice at low temperatures (typically 40-58°F) for several days (typically 3-10). Antioxidants are necessary during this stage, commonly used are sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (typically in the form of dry ice). The results from cold maceration are anthocyanin extraction (creating a darker color to the wine), a softer extraction of tannins (creating a smoother mouthfeel), and aromatic concentration (creating a more aromatic wine).

EXTENDED MACERATION:

Extended maceration is conducted after fermentation. Skins are kept in contact with the wine for the winemaker's desired amount of time (varies from one week to 3+ months). Antioxidants are necessary during this stage, commonly used are sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (typically in the form of dry ice). The result is more extraction of tannin (creating more of a drying sensation and bitter flavor on the palate), and oxidative degeneration of anthocyanin (causing a loss of, yet more stabilization of color).

NEW OAK CONTACT:

Often in the form of a barrel, however, oak chips may be used to recreate the effect of using barrels in a fraction of the time and cost. This contact can occur during fermentation and/or aging. The higher the char on the oak, the more flavor imparted into the wine. These flavors often consist of smoke, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, baking spices, pie crust, and more.

STEM INCLUSION:

Stem inclusion can be conducted by leaving the stems attached to the berries or by destemming the berries and then adding a percentage of ripe stems into the vat. Fermentation occurs with the stems in contact with the juice. This technique requires mastery and precision, stems do not ripen as quickly as berries and underripe stems can have negative impacts to the wine. When stems are properly used, the results are a lowering of the ABV (due to water released by the stems), a loss of and stabilization of color (due to oxidative degeneration of anthocyanin), and heightened aromatics and flavors (such as florals and spices). This is less common in warmer climates due to stems having increased levels of potassium, which raises the pH, thus resulting in the lowering of acidity of the final wine. Also known as whole bunch or whole cluster fermentation. Typically punch downs occur to break the berries during this process, if berries are not broken, semi-carbonic maceration can occur.​ 

IMPORTANT PINOT NOIR CLONES (A-Z)

 

DIJON CLONE 113:

Structured with small berries and clusters. Originally from Domaine Ponsot in Burgundy.

Also known as FPS 44.

DIJON CLONE 114:

Early ripening with compact clusters producing complex, and tannic wines. Originally from Domaine Ponsot in Burgundy. Also known as FPS 46.

DIJON CLONE 115:

Early ripening, small, compact clusters with high anthocyanin, producing structured and spicy wines. Originally from Domaine Ponsot in Burgundy. Also known as FPS 73.

DIJON CLONE 667:

Compact clusters producing age worthy wines with dark fruit and spice notes. Originally from Domaine Ponsot in Burgundy. Also known as FPS 72.

DIJON CLONE 777:

Small, compact clusters producing highly aromatic and full bodied. Originally from Domaine Ponsot in Burgundy. Also known as FPS 71.

MARTINI CLONE:

A ripe and round heritage clone sourced from the original Martini 58 clone from Stanly Lane Vineyard in Carneros, California. Also known as FPS 13.

MOTHER VINE 6 (MV6):

Brought to Australia in 1831 by James Busby and commonly planted throughout Yarra Valley. Typically produces concentrated and savory wines. Originally from Clos Vougeot in Burgundy.

POMMARD CLONE 5:

Structured and earthy. Commonly planted in Oregon. Originally from Château de Pommard in Burgundy. Also known as FPS 91.

ROEDERER CLONE:

From Louis Roederer in Champagne and commonly used in sparkling wine production.

Also known as FPS 32.

SWAN CLONE:

An elegant heritage clone sourced from the Swan Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, California. Said to be originally sourced from Domaine de la Romanée Conti in Burgundy. Also known as FPS 97.

WÄDENSWIL CLONE:

Elegant and floral with thicker skins. Originally from Switzerland. Also known as FPS 02A.

CLONE CATEGORIES:

  • Pinot Droit refers to a category of clones that grow in a vertical, or upright fashion, are more vigorous, and typically have larger clusters.

  • Pinot Fertile refers to a category of clones that have larger clusters with lower sugar levels, and higher yields that are favored for sparkling wine production (Roederer Clone).

  • Pinot Fin refers to a category of high quality clones that droop downward, have smaller bunches, lower yields, higher anthocyanin, and produce more concentrated juice (113,114,115, 667, 777, Pommard, and Wadenswil).

  • Mariafeld refers to a category of clones with large berries and clusters, higher anthocyanin and total acidity, and are resistant to botrytis.