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Pinot Noir from California, Burgundy, South Africa

Pinot Noir from California, Burgundy, South Africa

The Pinot Noir grape is thought to have originated in northeastern France more than two thousand years ago and is fondly referred to as one of the “founder varieties” alongside Gouais Blanc, Savagnin, Cabernet Franc, and Mondeuse Noire in France, Garganega, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, and Luglienga in Italy, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains in Greece (or Italy), Cayetana Blanca in Spain, Rèze in Switzerland (or Austria), and Tribidrag in Croatia.

Because it’s been around for a long, long time, there are many clones and grandchildren of Pinot Noir out there. According to The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil, Pinot Noir is thought to be the great-great grandparent of Chardonnay and Gamay, and grandparent to Syrah. Even though it’s grown in many different regions around the world – France, Germany, United States, Moldova, Italy, New Zealand, and beyond – a bottle of Pinot Noir can almost always be described as silky, bursting with red fruit flavor, and with notes of forest floor. It pairs well with so many different foods making it one of those wines you always want to have on hand.

We asked our resident sommelier what makes Pinot Noir so special and they shared, “Pinot Noir can be poetic. It is transparent, showing the soul of the site or the terroir beautifully. It is a grape that is about finesse, not intensity. Its scent is complex, beguiling, and perfumed, but at the same time somewhat shy and in need of attention.” So, while notes of red fruit and forest floor might always be present, the Pinot Noir will also always take on characteristics of the microclimate in which it is grown. It’s truly special.

Try different Pinot Noirs; explore regions like California, Burgundy, and South Africa and choose your next bottles based on the tasting notes and aromas below.

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Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

9 Pinot Noirs from California

There are so many amazing Pinot Noirs from California. Travel throughout the region tasting the differences between these incredible wines.

  1. 2019 Amici Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: candied tree fruit and berries, dark cherry vanilla tart, black raspberry, rose, cedar box, ripe summer plum, dark chocolate

  2. 2018 Eden Rift Pinot Noir Lansdale: black cherry, blueberry, sagebrush, baking spices, blackberry, forest floor, cherry pit, oak

  3. 2019 Bien Nacido Estate Pinot Noir: black tea, mandarin, fresh cherries, sage, exotic spices

  4. 2018 Hirsch San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir: dark cherry, licorice, baking spice

  5. 2018 Papapietro-Perry Leras Family Vineyards Pinot Noir: ripened red fruits, crème brûlée, subtle baking spices, oak, earth, fresh-picked raspberry and cherry

  6. 2018 Papapietro-Perry Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: fresh berry, tart plum, subtle hibiscus, lush raspberry, sun-ripe strawberry, floral notes

  7. 2018 Halleck Vineyard Three Sons Cuvee Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: cherries, hint of cinnamon and pepper

  8. 2018 Halleck Vineyard Clone 828 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast: earth, minerals, red fruit, pomegranate, plum

  9. 2019 Anthill Farms Harmony Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir: dark cherry, raspberry, floral, wet soil

Pinot Noir from Burgundy

We leave California and make our way to France. These Pinot Noirs from Burgundy are bursting with juice red fruit flavor.

  • 2018 Domaine Liger-Belair Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru Aux Charmes: mixed black fruits, black truffle, autumn leaves

  • 2017 Domaine Vincent Ledy Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru les Porets Saint Georges: juicy Morello cherries, roasted coffee beans and chocolate

South African Pinot Noir

Last up are a couple of Pinot Noirs from another region of the world: South Africa. One is a touch sweet and the other is bursting with notes of rosemary, olive, and grilled meat.

  • 2020 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir Walker Bay: fruity, soft, and a little "sweet"

  • 2019 Crystallum Peter Max Pinot Noir Western Cape: cranberry, pomegranate, bruised strawberry, rose, rosemary, olive tapenade, soy, hint of grilled meat

Explore how this beautifully delicate grape expresses itself in both hemispheres and in vastly different terroirs – from Burgundy to South Africa to California. Tag us on social using @coravin and #ExploreByThePour. We can’t wait to see what you’re sipping on.