Pinot Noir
Overview
Pinot noir is a black wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

 variety of the species Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the grape variety's tightly clustered dark purple pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.
Encyclopedia
Pinot noir is a black wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

 variety of the species Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the grape variety's tightly clustered dark purple pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.

Description

Pinot noir's home is France's Burgundy region, particularly on the Côte-d'Or
Côte-d'Or
Côte-d'Or is a department in the eastern part of France.- History :Côte-d'Or is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was formed from part of the former province of Burgundy.- Geography :...

. It is also planted in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, north parts of Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, the Republic of Georgia, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

, Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

. The United States has increasingly become a major Pinot noir producer, with some of the best regarded coming from the Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley is the most populated region in the state of Oregon of the United States. Located in the state's northwest, the region is surrounded by tall mountain ranges to the east, west and south and the valley's floor is broad, flat and fertile because of Ice Age conditions...

 in Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 and California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

's Sonoma County with its Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. Lesser known appellations can be found in Mendocino County's Anderson Valley as well as the Central Coast's Santa Lucia Highlands appellation and the Sta. Rita Hills
Sta. Rita Hills AVA
The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Santa Barbara County, California. From its creation in 2001 through 2006, the wine appellation was officially named Santa Rita Hills AVA...

 American Viticultural Area in Santa Barbara County. In New Zealand, it is principally grown in Martinborough
Martinborough
Martinborough is a town in South Wairarapa, a district in the Wellington region on the North Island of New Zealand. It is 65 kilometres east of Wellington and 35 kilometres south-west of Masterton...

, Marlborough, Waipara
Waipara
Waipara is a small town in north Canterbury, on the banks of the Waipara River.It is at the junction of State Highways 1 and 7 60 kilometres north of Christchurch...

 and Central Otago
Central Otago Wine Region
At latitude 45° south, the Central Otago Wine Region is the most southerly wine producing region in the world. The vineyards are also the highest in New Zealand at 200 to 400 metres above sea level, on the floor of glacial valleys...

.

The leaves of Pinot noir are generally smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

 or Syrah and the vine is typically less vigorous than either of these varieties. The grape cluster is small and conico-cylindrical, vaguely shaped like a pine cone. Some viticultural historians believe this shape-similarity may have given rise to the name. In the vineyard Pinot noir is sensitive to wind and frost, cropping levels (it must be low yielding for production of quality wines), soil types and pruning techniques. In the winery it is sensitive to fermentation methods, yeast strains and is highly reflective of its terroir
Terroir
Terroir comes from the word terre "land". It was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestowed upon particular varieties...

with different regions producing sometimes very different wines. Its thin skin makes it susceptible to bunch rot
Botrytis cinerea
Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic fungus that affects many plant species, although its most notable hosts may be wine grapes. In viticulture, it is commonly known as botrytis bunch rot; in horticulture, it is usually called grey mould or gray mold.The fungus gives rise to two different kinds of...

 and similar fungal diseases of the bunch. The vines themselves are susceptible to powdery mildew
Powdery mildew
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants. Powdery mildew diseases are caused by many different species of fungi in the order Erysiphales. It is one of the easier diseases to spot, as its symptoms are quite distinctive. Infected plants display white powdery spots on the...

, and in Burgundy (and elsewhere) infection by leaf roll and fanleaf
Grapevine fanleaf virus
Grapevine fanleaf virus is a plant pathogenic virus of the family Secoviridae.-External links:**...

 viruses causes significant vine health problems. These complications have given the grape a reputation for being difficult to grow: Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson
Jancis Mary Robinson OBE, MW is a British wine critic, journalist and editor of wine literature. She currently writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, and writes for her website jancisrobinson.com...

 calls Pinot a "minx of a vine" and André Tchelistcheff
André Tchelistcheff
André Tchelistcheff was America's most influential post-Prohibition winemaker. Tchelistcheff is most notable for his contributions toward defining the style of California's best wines, especially Cabernet Sauvignon...

 declared that "God made Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the devil made Pinot noir." It is much less tolerant of hard, windy, hot and dry, harsh vineyard conditions than the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, or Grenache.

Pinot noir wines are among the most popular in the world. Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

 describes Pinot noir as "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic." Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon calls pinot "sex in a glass". Peter Richardsson of OenoStyle christened it "a seductive yet fickle mistress!"

The tremendously broad range of bouquets
Wine tasting descriptors
The use of wine tasting descriptors allows the taster an opportunity to put into words the aromas and flavors that they experience and can be used in assessing the overall quality of wine...

, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot noir can produce sometimes confuses tasters. In the broadest terms, the wine tends to be of light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black and / or red cherry
Cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

, raspberry
Raspberry
The raspberry or hindberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus; the name also applies to these plants themselves...

 and to a lesser extent currant
Blackcurrant
Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, is a species of Ribes berry native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia, and is a perennial....

 and many other fine small red and black berry fruits. Traditional red Burgundy is famous for its savoury fleshiness and 'farmyard' aromas (these latter not unassociated with mercaptans and other reductive characters), but changing fashions, modern winemaking techniques, and new easier-to-grow clones have favoured a lighter, more fruit-prominent, cleaner style. The wine's colour when young is often compared to that of garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

, frequently being much lighter than that of other red wines. This is entirely natural and not a winemaking fault as Pinot noir has a lower skin anthocyanin (colouring matter) content than most other classical red / black varieties. However, an emerging, increasingly evident, style from California and New Zealand highlights a more powerful, fruit forward and darker wine that can tend toward Syrah (or even new world Malbec) in depth, extract, and alcoholic content.

Pinot noir is also used in the production of Champagne (usually along with Chardonnay
Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

 and Pinot meunier
Pinot meunier
Pinot Meunier, , also known as Meunier or Black Riesling, is a variety of black wine grape most noted for being one of the three main grapes used in the production of champagne...

) and is planted in most of the world's wine growing regions for use in both still and sparkling wines. Pinot noir grown for dry table wines is generally low-yielding
Crop yield
In agriculture, crop yield is not only a measure of the yield of cereal per unit area of land under cultivation, yield is also the seed generation of the plant itself...

 and of lesser vigour than many other varieties, whereas when grown for use in sparkling wines (e.g. Champagne) it is generally cropped at significantly higher yields.

In addition to being used for the production of sparkling and still red wine, Pinot noir is also sometimes used for rosé
Rosé
A rosé is a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.- Production techniques :There are three major ways to produce rosé...

 still wines, and even vin gris
Vin gris
Vin gris is white wine made from red grapes, in particular pinot noir. Pinot noir is a black grape, but can also be used to make rosé, blush wine, or white wine. When the grapes are brought to the winery and crushed, the juice is run off and removed from contact with the skin, leaving the colour...

 white wines. Its juice is uncoloured.

History, mutants and clones

Pinot noir is almost certainly a very ancient variety that may be only one or two generations removed from wild, Vitis sylvestris, vines. Its origins are nevertheless unclear: In De re rustica, Columella
Columella
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella is the most important writer on agriculture of the Roman empire. Little is known of his life. He was probably born in Gades , possibly of Roman parents. After a career in the army , he took up farming...

 describes a grape variety similar to Pinot noir in Burgundy during the 1st century AD, however, vines have grown wild as far north as Belgium in the days before phylloxera
Phylloxera
Grape phylloxera ; originally described in France as Phylloxera vastatrix; equated to the previously described Daktulosphaira vitifoliae, Phylloxera vitifoliae; commonly just called phylloxera is a pest of commercial grapevines worldwide, originally native to eastern North America...

, and it is possible that Pinot represents a direct domestication of (hermaphrodite-flowered) Vitis sylvestris.

Ferdinand Regner has argued that Pinot noir is a cross between Pinot meunier
Pinot meunier
Pinot Meunier, , also known as Meunier or Black Riesling, is a variety of black wine grape most noted for being one of the three main grapes used in the production of champagne...

 (Schwarzriesling) and Traminer, but this claim has since been refuted. In fact Pinot meunier has been shown to be a chimerical mutation (in the epidermal cells) which makes the shoot tips and leaves prominently hairy-white and the vine a little smaller and early ripening. Thus Pinot meunier is a chimera
Chimera (plant)
Chimeras in botany are usually single organisms composed of two genetically different types of tissue. They occur in plants, on the same general basis as with animal chimeras...

 with two tissue layers of different genetic makeup, both of which contain a mutation making them non-identical to, and mutations of, Pinot noir (as well as of any of the other colour forms of Pinot). As such, Pinot meunier cannot be a parent of Pinot noir, and, indeed, it seems likely that chimerical mutations which can generate Pinot gris from other Pinots (principally blanc or noir) may in turn be the genetic pathway for the emergence of Pinot Meunier.

Pinot gris
Pinot gris
Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir grape, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name but the grape can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance...

 is a Pinot colour sport (and can arise by mutation of Pinot noir or Pinot blanc), presumably representing a somatic mutation in either the VvMYBA1 or VvMYBA2 genes that control grape berry colour. Pinot blanc
Pinot Blanc
Pinot blanc is a white wine grape. It is a point genetic mutation of Pinot noir. Pinot noir is genetically unstable and will occasionally experience a point mutation in which a vine bears all black fruit except for one cane which produced white fruit....

 is a further mutation and can either naturally arise from or give rise to Pinot gris
Pinot gris
Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir grape, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name but the grape can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance...

 or Pinot noir; the mutation - reversion path is multi-directional therefore. The general DNA profiles of both Pinot gris and blanc are identical to Pinot noir; and other Pinots, Pinot moure and Pinot teinturier, are also genetically similarly close. It should be noted therefore that almost any given Pinot (of whatever berry colour) can occur as a complete mutation or as a chimera of almost any other Pinot As such, suggestions that Pinot noir is the fundamental and original form of the Pinots are both misleading and highly tendentious. Indeed, if anything, Pinot blanc may be the original human-selected form of Pinot, although given the genetic variability of this longstanding genetic line, thinking of Pinot as a familial cluster of grapes sharing a fundamental and common genetic core is almost certainly nearest the truth. It is this 'core' around which the sub-varietally identifying colour variations (blanc, rouge, noir, gris, rose, violet, tenteurier, moure, etc.) occur, along with the more striking chimeric morphological mutation that is Pinot meunier, and the interesting further mutations of this variety as Pinot meunier gris and as the non-hairy mutation which the Germans classify as 'Samtrot' (effectively 'Pinot red velvet').

A white berried sport of Pinot noir was propagated in 1936 by Henri Gouges of Burgundy, and there is now 2.5ha planted of this grape which Clive Coates calls Pinot Gouges, and others call Pinot Musigny. There is however no published evidence, nor any obvious reason, to believe that this is other than a (possibly quite fine) form of Pinot blanc, having simply arisen as a selected natural mutation of the original Pinot noir in the Gouges' vineyard.

Wrotham Pinot is an English variety with white hairs on the upper surface of the leaves. Edward Hyams of Oxted Viticultural Research Station was alerted to a strange vine growing against a cottage wall in Wrotham
Wrotham
Wrotham is a village situated on the Pilgrims' Way in Kent, at the foot of the North Downs. It is located one mile north of Borough Green and approximately five miles east of Sevenoaks. It is within the junction of the M20 and M26 motorways....

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, which local lore said was descended from vines brought over by the Romans. An experimental Blanc de Noir was made at Oxted, and in 1980 Richard Peterson took cuttings to California, where he now makes a pink sparkling Wrotham Pinot. Wrotham Pinot is sometimes regarded as a synonym of Pinot meunier, although it is claimed it has a higher natural sugar content and ripens two weeks earlier. However, in the absence of proper identification, and particularly of DNA classification, it remains highly probable that it is simply a locally-distinctive clone of Pinot meunier.

Pinot noir can be particularly prone to mutation (suggesting it has active transposable elements
Transposon
Transposable elements are sequences of DNA that can move or transpose themselves to new positions within the genome of a single cell. The mechanism of transposition can be either "copy and paste" or "cut and paste". Transposition can create phenotypically significant mutations and alter the cell's...

), and thanks to its long history in cultivation there are nowadays hundreds of different clones
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 in vineyards and vine collections worldwide. More than 50 are officially recognized in France compared to only 25 of the much more widely planted cabernet sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

. The French Etablissement National Technique pour l’Amelioration de la Viticulture (ENTAV) has set up a programme to select the best clones of Pinot. This program has succeeded admirably in increasing the number of quality clones available to growers. Nonetheless, in the new world, particularly in Oregon, wines of extraordinary quality continue to be made from the (ex-University of California at Davis) Pommard (principally UCD4) and Wadensvil (UCD 1A and / or 2A) clones.

Gamay Beaujolais
Gamay Beaujolais
Gamay Beaujolais is a varietal designation for a Californian grape variety that is an early ripening clone of Pinot noir.- History :In the late 1930s an early pioneer of the American viticulture, Paul Masson, brought with him several Burgundian grapes for his winery in California...

 is a Californian misnomer for a UCD clone series of upright-growing ('Pinot droit') Pinot noir. Planted mostly in California it also became established in New Zealand. In this latter country, its disposition to poor fruit set in cool flowering conditions can be problematic. Claims that the 'Gamay Beaujolais' Pinot noir was brought to California by Paul Masson. are not correct. It was in fact collected in France by Harold Olmo for UCD in the 1950s and was one of the first Pinot noir vines this institution offered as a high health clonal line from about 1962 onward. However, it was always, and very misleadingly, identified at UCD as a 'Gamay Beaujolais' type (of Pinot noir). In general, these upright growing 'Pinot droit' clones are highly productive (in suitable, hot-to-warm, flowering conditions) and in California and New Zealand they give robust, burly, wines favoured by those who like muscle rather than charm and velvety finesse in their Pinot noir wines. In Burgundy, the use of (highly productive) Pinot droit clones is reportedly still widespread in inferior, Village appellation, or even non-appellation, vineyards and Pinot droit is consequently regarded, arguably with very good reason, as a (genetic) sub-form significantly inferior to classical, decumbent, 'Pinot fine' or 'Pinot tordu', clonal lines of Pinot.

Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir Précoce) is an early-ripening form of Pinot noir. Across the Pinot family, ripening in typical climates can be dispersed by as much as four, and even six, weeks between the very earliest (including Précoce) clones and the very latest ripening. Virus infection and excessive cropping significantly add to delaying of Pinot noir ripening.

In August 2007, French researchers announced the sequencing of the genome of Pinot noir. It is the first fruit crop to be sequenced, and only the fourth flowering plant.

Crosses

In the Middle Ages, the nobility and church of northeast France grew some form of Pinot in favoured plots, while peasants grew a large amount of the much more productive, but otherwise distinctly inferior, Gouais Blanc
Gouais Blanc
Gouais Blanc or Weißer Heunisch is a white grape variety that is seldom grown today but is important as the ancestor of many traditional French and German grape varieties. The name Gouais derives from the old French adjective ‘gou’, a term of derision befitting its traditional status as the grape...

. Cross-pollination may have resulted from such close proximity, with the genetic distance between the two parents imparting hybrid vigour
Heterosis
Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, or outbreeding enhancement, is the improved or increased function of any biological quality in a hybrid offspring. The adjective derived from heterosis is heterotic....

 leading to the viticultural selection of a diverse range of offspring from this cross (which may, nevertheless, have also resulted from deliberate human intervention). In any case, however it occurred, offspring of the Pinot - Gouais cross include: Chardonnay
Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

, Aligoté
Aligoté
Aligoté is a white grape used to make dry white wines in the Burgundy region of France, and which also has significant plantings in much of Eastern Europe including Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria. With , it was the 22nd most planted vine variety in the world in 2004...

, Auxerrois
Auxerrois
Auxerrois is a historical province of France. Named after the city of Auxerre in Burgundy, it gives its name to several grape varieties:* Auxerrois Blanc is a white wine grape that is widely grown in Alsace, and also in Lorraine, Germany and Luxembourg...

, Gamay
Gamay
Gamay is a purple-colored grape variety used to make red wines, most notably grown in Beaujolais and in the Loire Valley around Tours. Its full name is Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc. It is a very old cultivar, mentioned as long ago as the 15th century...

, Melon and eleven others. It should not however be inferred that Pinot noir was the Pinot involved here; any member of the Pinot family appears genetically capable of being the Pinot parent to these ex-Gouais crosses.

In 1925 Pinot noir was crossed in South Africa
South African wine
South African wine has a history dating back to 1659, and at one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world. Access to international markets has unleashed a burst of new energy and new investment. Production is concentrated around Cape Town, with major vineyard and...

 with the Cinsaut
Cinsaut
Cinsaut or Cinsault is a red wine grape, whose heat tolerance and productivity make it important in Languedoc-Roussillon and the former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco...

 grape (known locally by the misnomer 'Hermitage') to create a unique variety called Pinotage
Pinotage
Pinotage is a red wine grape that is South Africa's signature variety. It was bred there in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut...

.

Australia

Pinot noir is produced in several wine growing areas of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, notably in the Yarra Valley
Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley is the name given to the region surrounding the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia. The river originates approximately 90 kilometres east of the City of Melbourne and flows towards it and out into Port Phillip Bay...

, Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula
Bellarine Peninsula
The Bellarine Peninsula is a peninsula located south-west of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, surrounded by Port Phillip, Corio Bay and Bass Strait. The peninsula, together with the Mornington Peninsula separates Port Phillip from Bass Strait...

, Beechworth
Beechworth, Victoria
Beechworth is a well-preserved historical town located in the north-east of Victoria, Australia, famous for its major growth during the gold rush days of the mid-1850s...

, South Gippsland
Gippsland
Gippsland is a large rural region in Victoria, Australia. It begins immediately east of the suburbs of Melbourne and stretches to the New South Wales border, lying between the Great Dividing Range to the north and Bass Strait to the south...

, Sunbury
Sunbury, Victoria
Sunbury is a regional city, located north-west of Melbourne's central business district, in the state of Victoria, Australia. Its Local Government Area is the City of Hume. At the 2006 Census, Sunbury had a population of 31,000...

, Macedon Ranges and Mornington Peninsula
Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is a peninsula located south-east of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. It is surrounded by Port Phillip to the west, Western Port to the east and Bass Strait to the south, and is connected to the mainland in the north. Geographically, the peninsula begins its protrusion...

 in Victoria, Adelaide Hills
Adelaide Hills
The Adelaide Hills are part of the Mount Lofty Ranges, east of the city of Adelaide in the state of South Australia. It is unofficially centred on the largest town in the area, Mount Barker, which has a population of around 29,000 and is also one of Australia's fastest growing towns.- History :The...

 in South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

, Great Southern Wine Region
Great Southern Wine Region
The Great Southern Wine Region in Western Australia's South West is Australia's largest wine region a rectangle 200 kilometres from east to west and over 100 kilometers from north to south...

 in Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

, all Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, and the Canberra District in NSW.

Austria

In Austria, Pinot noir is sometimes called Blauburgunder (literally Blue Burgundy) and produced in Burgenland
Burgenland
Burgenland is the easternmost and least populous state or Land of Austria. It consists of two Statutarstädte and seven districts with in total 171 municipalities. It is 166 km long from north to south but much narrower from west to east...

 and Lower Austria
Lower Austria
Lower Austria is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria since 1986 is Sankt Pölten, the most recently designated capital town in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria had formerly been Vienna, even though Vienna is not officially part of Lower Austria...

. Austrian Pinot noir wines are dry red wines similar in character to the red wines of Burgundy, mostly aged in French barriques. Some of the best Austrian Pinots come from Neusiedlersee and Blaufraenkischland, (Burgenland) and Thermenregion (Lower Austria).

Canada

Quality Pinot noir has been grown in Ontario for some time in the Niagara Peninsula
Niagara Peninsula
The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Southern Ontario, Canada lying between the south shore of Lake Ontario and the north shore of Lake Erie. It stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario in the west. The population of the peninsula is roughly 1,000,000 people...

 and especially the Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a Canadian town located in Southern Ontario where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region of the southern part of the province of Ontario. It is located across the Niagara river from Youngstown, New York, USA...

 and Short Hills Bench
Short Hills Bench
The Short Hills Bench is a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula .-Flora and fauna:A Carolinian Climatic Zone, the Short Hills Bench has been acknowledged for its unique soils, topography and climate by the governing body of wine production, the Vintners Quality AllianceOntario and by the...

 wine regions, as well as in Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County Wine
Prince Edward County Wine is produced in Prince Edward County located in south eastern part of southern Ontario, the most southerly part of Canada. Prince Edward County was designated as the fourth and newest Designated Viticultural Area in Ontario in 2007...

 and on the north shore of Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

. It has also been grown recently in the Okanagan, Lower Mainland
Lower Mainland
The Lower Mainland is a name commonly applied to the region surrounding and including Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As of 2007, 2,524,113 people live in the region; sixteen of the province's thirty most populous municipalities are located there.While the term Lower Mainland has been...

, and Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

 wine regions of British Columbia, the Annapolis Valley
Annapolis Valley
The Annapolis Valley is a valley and region in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located in the western part of the Nova Scotia peninsula, formed by a trough between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundy.-Geography:...

 region of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 and the Lanaudière
Lanaudière
Lanaudière is one of the seventeen administrative regions of Quebec, Canada, situated immediately to the northeast of Montreal. It has a total population of 429,053 inhabitants.-Geography:...

 region of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

.

UK

Pinot noir is increasingly being planted in the U.K., mostly for use in sparkling wine blends such as Nyetimber. It is sometimes made into a fairly light still red or rose wine, in the style of Alsace; Chapel Down are particularly keen on it. Some heavier, oaked styles are made which retain the red fruit and spicey notes of the lighter Pinot Noirs but with more body, tannin and typical oak characters.

France

Pinot noir has made France's Burgundy
Burgundy wine
Burgundy wine is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France, in the valleys and slopes west of the Saône River, a tributary of the Rhône. The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as "Burgundies" - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from...

 appellation
Appellation
An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown; other types of food often have appellations as well...

 famous, and vice-versa. Many wine historians, including John Winthrop Haeger and Roger Dion, believe that the association between pinot and Burgundy was the explicit strategy of Burgundy's Valois dukes. Roger Dion, in his thesis regarding Philip the Bold
Philip the Bold
Philip the Bold , also Philip II, Duke of Burgundy , was the fourth and youngest son of King John II of France and his wife, Bonne of Luxembourg. By his marriage to Margaret III, Countess of Flanders, he also became Count Philip II of Flanders, Count Philip IV of Artois and Count-Palatine Philip IV...

's role in promoting the spread of Pinot noir, holds that the reputation of Beaune
Beaune
Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy in the Cote d'Or department in eastern France. It is located between Paris and Geneva.Beaune is one of the key wine centers in France and the annual wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune is the primary wine auction in France...

 wines as "the finest in the world" was a propaganda triumph of Burgundy's Valois dukes. In any event, the worldwide archetype for Pinot noir is that grown in Burgundy
Burgundy wine
Burgundy wine is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France, in the valleys and slopes west of the Saône River, a tributary of the Rhône. The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as "Burgundies" - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from...

 where it has been cultivated since AD100.

Burgundy's Pinot noir produces great wines which can age very well in good years, developing complex fruit and forest floor flavours as they age, often reaching peak 15 or 20 years after the vintage. Many of the wines are produced in very small quantities and can be very expensive. Today, the celebrated Côte d’Or area of Burgundy has about 4,500 hectares (11,000 acres) of Pinot noir. Most of the region's finest wines are produced from this area. The Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais regions in southern Burgundy have another 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres), but their wines are typically very much less fine.

In Jura département, across the river valley from Burgundy, the wines made from Pinot noir are lighter.

In Champagne it used in blending with Chardonnay
Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

 and Pinot meunier
Pinot meunier
Pinot Meunier, , also known as Meunier or Black Riesling, is a variety of black wine grape most noted for being one of the three main grapes used in the production of champagne...

. It can also appear unblended, in which case it may be labeled blanc de noirs. The Champagne appellation has more Pinot planted than any other area of France.

In Sancerre
Sancerre
Sancerre is a medieval hilltop town , commune and canton in the Cher department of central France overlooking the Loire River. It is noted for its wine.-History:...

 it is used to make red and rosé
Rosé
A rosé is a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.- Production techniques :There are three major ways to produce rosé...

 wines, much lighter in style that those of Burgundy, refreshing served chilled, especially in warmer years when they are less thin.

In Alsace
Alsace wine
Alsace wine or Alsatian wine is produced in the Alsace region in France and is primarily white. These wines, which for historical reasons have a strong Germanic influence, are produced under three different Appellations d'Origine Contrôlées : Alsace AOC for white, rosé and red wines, Alsace Grand...

 it is generally used to make , a varietal
Varietal
"Varietal" describes wines made primarily from a single named grape variety, and which typically displays the name of that variety on the wine label. Examples of grape varieties commonly used in varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot...

 rosé
Rosé
A rosé is a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.- Production techniques :There are three major ways to produce rosé...

 wine. However, it is also used to make genuine red wines usually called Pinot noir rouge, which are similar in character to red Burgundy and Beaujolais wines but are consumed chilled. Prominent examples are Rouge de Barr and . Pinot noir rouge is the only red wine produced in Alsace. Lack of acidity and complexity often prevent Alsatian Pinot noir from achieving anything more than pleasant, easy drinking, quality levels.

Germany

In Germany
German wine
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions ...

 it is called Spätburgunder (lit. "Late Burgundian"), and is now the most widely planted red grape. Historically much German wine produced from Pinot noir was pale, often rosé
Rosé
A rosé is a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.- Production techniques :There are three major ways to produce rosé...

 like the red wines of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

, and very simple; over-cropping and bunch-rot were major contributing factors to this. However recently, despite the northerly climate, darker, richer reds have been produced, often barrel (barrique) aged, in regions such as Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

, Palatinate
Palatinate (wine region)
Palatinate is a German wine-growing region in the area of Bad Dürkheim, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, and Landau in Rhineland-Palatinate. Before 1993, it was known as Rhine Palatinate . With under cultivation in 2008, the region is the second largest wine region in Germany after Rheinhessen...

 (Pfalz) and Ahr
Ahr
Ahr is a river in Germany, a left tributary of the Rhine. Its source is at an elevation of approximately 470 metres above sea level in Blankenheim in the Eifel, in the cellar of a timber-frame house near the castle of Blankenheim...

. These are rarely exported and are often very expensive in Germany for the better examples. As "Rhenish", German Pinot noir is mentioned several times in Shakesperean plays as a highly prized wine.

There is also a smaller-berried, early ripening, lower yield variety called Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir Précoce
Pinot Noir Précoce
Pinot noir précoce or, as it is called in parts of Germany, Frühburgunder is a dark, blue-black, -skinned, variety of grape used for wine, and is a form or mutation of Pinot noir which differs essentially by ripening earlier than normal...

, lit. "Early Burgundian") which is grown in Rheinhessen
Rheinhessen
Rhenish Hesse refers to the part of the former Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt located west of the Rhine river and now part of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is a hilly countryside largely devoted to vineyards, therefore it is also called the "land of the thousand hills." Its larger towns include:...

 and Ahr
Ahr
Ahr is a river in Germany, a left tributary of the Rhine. Its source is at an elevation of approximately 470 metres above sea level in Blankenheim in the Eifel, in the cellar of a timber-frame house near the castle of Blankenheim...

 area and can produce very good wines. In the last 20 years or so, serious efforts have been made to develop and husband good quality high health clones of Frühburgunder selected from Wurtenburg vineyards, and the future of this form of Pinot noir in Germany consequently looks promising.

Italy

In Italy, where Pinot noir is known as Pinot nero, it has traditionally been cultivated in the Alto Adige, Collio Goriziano, Oltrepò Pavese and Trentino regions to produce Burgundy-style red wines. Cultivation of Pinot noir in other regions of Italy, mostly since the 1980s, has been challenging due to climate and soil conditions.

In Alto Adige (called also Südtirol or historically Tirol) the variety is first noted 1838 as "Bourgoigne noir" in a grape wine buy list of the "k.u.k. Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft von Tirol und Vorarlberg, Niederlassung Bozen" and later called "Blauburgunder" like in Austria. The first analytical descriptions are from Edmund Mach (founder of Ist. Agr. San Michele a.A.) in the year 1894: Friedrich Boscarolli - Rametz/Meran - Rametzer Burgunder 1890, Chorherrenstift Neustift - Blauburgunder 1890, R.v.Bressendorf - Vernaun/Meran - Burgunder 1890, C.Frank - Rebhof Gries Bozen - Burgunder 1889, Fr. Tschurtschenthaler - Bozen - Burgunder 1890 & 1891, Fr. Tschurtschenthaler - Bozen - Kreuzbichler 1889 & 1891 & 1887. Today very small quantities from certain micro-zones (Mazon/Neumarkt, Buchholz, Eppan Berg, Vinschgau) are regularly on the top of Italian Pinot nero degustations. See for example the Pinot nero days

Moldova

Large amounts of Pinot were planted in central Moldova
Moldovan wine
With a production of 124,200 tons of wine , Moldova has a well established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of of which are used for commercial production. The remaining are vineyards planted in villages around the houses used to make home-made wine, or "vin de casa"...

 during the 19th century, but much was lost to the ravages of phylloxera
Phylloxera
Grape phylloxera ; originally described in France as Phylloxera vastatrix; equated to the previously described Daktulosphaira vitifoliae, Phylloxera vitifoliae; commonly just called phylloxera is a pest of commercial grapevines worldwide, originally native to eastern North America...

; Soviet control of Moldova from 1940 to 1991 also reduced the productivity of vineyards. Quality is somewhat variable; Moldovan Pinot can be overoaked and rather rough.

New Zealand

Pinot noir is a grape variety whose importance in New Zealand is extremely high. Initial results were not promising however, for several reasons, including high levels of leaf roll virus in older plantings, and, during the 1960s and 1970s, the limited number and indifferent quality of Pinot noir clones available for planting. However since this time importation of high quality clones and much-improved viticulture and winemaking has seen Pinot noir from Martinborough in the north to Central Otago in the south win numerous international awards and accolades. Pinot noir is now one of New Zealand's most sought-after varieties and is its pre-eminent red varietal (outside of the Syrah and Bordeaux varietals produced in Hawkes Bay).

Historically, one notable Pinot noir wine was the St Helena 1984 Pinot noir from the Canterbury
Canterbury, New Zealand
The New Zealand region of Canterbury is mainly composed of the Canterbury Plains and the surrounding mountains. Its main city, Christchurch, hosts the main office of the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Regional Council - called Environment Canterbury - and the University of Canterbury.-...

 region. This led to the belief for a time that Canterbury might become the natural home for Pinot noir in New Zealand. While the early excitement passed, the Canterbury region has witnessed the development of Pinot noir as the dominant red variety. The next region to excel with Pinot noir was Martinborough
Martinborough
Martinborough is a town in South Wairarapa, a district in the Wellington region on the North Island of New Zealand. It is 65 kilometres east of Wellington and 35 kilometres south-west of Masterton...

 on the southern end of the North Island. The moderate climate and long growing season gives wines of great intensity and complexity. In the 2000s, other sub-regions in the Wairarapa
Wairarapa
Wairarapa is a geographical region of New Zealand. It occupies the south-eastern corner of the North Island, east of metropolitan Wellington and south-west of the Hawke's Bay region. It is lightly populated, having several rural service towns, with Masterton being the largest...

 have been developed to the north of Martinborough
Martinborough
Martinborough is a town in South Wairarapa, a district in the Wellington region on the North Island of New Zealand. It is 65 kilometres east of Wellington and 35 kilometres south-west of Masterton...

.

At around this time the first plantings of Pinot noir in the Central Otago wine region
Central Otago Wine Region
At latitude 45° south, the Central Otago Wine Region is the most southerly wine producing region in the world. The vineyards are also the highest in New Zealand at 200 to 400 metres above sea level, on the floor of glacial valleys...

 occurred in the Kawarau Gorge near Bannockburn
Bannockburn, New Zealand
Bannockburn is a small historic gold mining town located outside of Cromwell in Central Otago, New Zealand.The area was first made known as a rich alluvial gold field and was mined extensively in the 1860s....

. Central Otago had a long (for New Zealand) history as a producer of quality stone fruit and particularly cherries. Significantly further south than all other wine regions in New Zealand, it had been overlooked despite a long history of grape growing, albeit with little serious wine production. However, Central Otago benefits from being surrounded by mountain ranges which increased its temperature variations both between seasons and between night and day making the climate unusual when compared with the typically maritime conditions in New Zealand; Central Otago's climate is in fact markedly continental.

Some of the first vines were planted in holes blasted out of the north facing schist slopes of the region;, such highly marginal conditions underscore the initial difficulties confronting contemporary 'pioneering' vineyards in this region. The first results coming in the mid to late 1990s excited the interest of British wine commentators, including Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke. The latest sub-region appears to be Waitaki, near Kurow, on the border between Otago and Canterbury.

A recent blind tasting of New Zealand Pinot noir featured in Cuisine magazine (issue 119), Michael Cooper reported that of the top ten wines, five came from Central Otago, four from Marlborough and one from Waipara. This compares with all top ten wines coming from Marlborough in an equivalent blind tasting from last year. Cooper suggests that this has to do with more Central Otago production becoming available in commercial quantities, than the relative qualities of the regions' Pinot noir. In addition, as the industry has matured, many of the country's top producers have made the decision to no longer submit their wines to reviews or shows.

Typically, New Zealand Pinot noir is fruit-driven, forward and early maturing in the bottle. Alcohol levels are markedly higher than for Burgundies, and natural acidity lower. Many New Zealand Pinot noir producers leave their fruit on the vine much longer than is either possible or acceptable in Burgundian vineyards, and plummy flavours, heavier textures, and consequently more Syrah-like wine structure, results. Markedly, the wines tend to be quite full bodied (for the variety) and very approachable in their youth. High quality examples of New Zealand Pinot noir, particularly from the Martinborough region, are distinguished by savoury, earthy flavours with a greater complexity. Central Otago Pinot noirs have become characterised as 'fruit bombs': big, soft textured, wines rich in flavours like boysenberry and Blackboy peach, high in alcohol and low in natural acid. More subtle, finer, examples are produced however, but they are usually elite wines only. Tamarilo characters, which were prominent in the above-mentioned St. Helena Pinot noir, continue to characterise many large production Waipara Pinot noirs and most Canterbury ones as well. Specialist producers in these co-mingled regions can surpass these limitations however, and a range of wines, from burly, bold, tannic and dark new-world style 'Reserves' to finer, more Burgundian-influenced Pinot noirs are now becoming more prominent. Marlborough Pinot noirs are often fragrant and appealingly round, but can lack depth and proper tannin ripeness. Multi-area blends made by large producers (usually blending Marlborough, Waipara, and Central Otago fruit) can offer good value and good drinking at affordable prices.

Slovenia

In Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, the pinot noir is produced especially in the Slovenian Littoral
Slovenian Littoral
The Slovenian Littoral is a historical region of Slovenia. Its name recalls the historical Habsburg crown land of the Austrian Littoral, of which the Slovenian Littoral was a part....

, particularly in the Goriška Brda sub-region. In smaller amounts, the pinot noir is also produced in Slovenian Styria.

Spain

Pinot noir has recently been produced in small amounts in Lleida province
Lleida (province)
thumb|250px|Monastery of [[Santa Maria de Bellpuig de les Avellanes]].Lleida is a province of north-eastern Spain, in the western part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. It is bordered by the provinces of Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Zaragoza and Huesca and the countries of France and...

, Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, under the appellation
Appellation
An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown; other types of food often have appellations as well...

 "Costers del Segre
Costers del Segre
Costers del Segre is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines located in the province of Lleida and is divided into several separate sub-zones. The four original subzones created in 1988 are Artesa, to the northeast of Lleida, Valls de Riucorb to the east, Garrigues and Raïmat...

" DO
Denominación de Origen
Denominación de Origen is part of a regulatory classification system primarily for Spanish wines but also for other foodstuffs like honey, meats and condiments. In wines it parallels the hierarchical system of France and Italy although Rioja and Sherry preceded the full system...

.

Pinot noir is recently being produced in small amounts in Ronda (province Malaga, Andalusia) by Cortijo Los Aguilares. It got a Great Golden Medal at the Pinot Noir Competition, in Sierre (Valais, Switzerland), this year.

Switzerland

Pinot noir is a popular grape variety all over Switzerland. In German speaking regions of Switzerland it is often called Blauburgunder. Pinot noir wines are produced in Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, St. Gallen and Bündner Herrschaft. Neuchâtel, across the border from Burgundy, is renowned for its Pinot noir, a full bodied dry red wine. In Valais, Pinot noir is blended with Gamay to produce the well known Dôle.

United States

By volume most Pinot noir in America is grown in California with Oregon coming in second. Other regions are Washington State, Michigan and New York.

California wine regions known for producing Pinot noir are:
  • Sonoma Coast
  • Russian River Valley AVA
    Russian River Valley AVA
    The Russian River Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area in Sonoma County, California. Centered around the Russian River, the Russian River Valley AVA accounts for about one-sixth of the total planted vineyard acreage in Sonoma County. The appellation was granted AVA status in 1983 and...

  • Central Coast AVA
    Central Coast AVA
    The Central Coast AVA is a large American Viticultural Area that spans from Santa Barbara County in the south to the San Francisco Bay Area in the north. The boundaries of the Central Coast include portions of six counties. With around planted to wine grapes, Chardonnay accounts for more than...

  • Sta. Rita Hills
  • Monterey County / Santa Lucia Highlands
    Santa Lucia Mountains
    The Santa Lucia Mountains or Santa Lucia Range is a mountain range in coastal California, running from Monterey southeast for 105 miles to San Luis Obispo. The highest summit is Junipero Serra Peak, in Monterey County...

  • Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
    Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
    The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is an American Viticultural Area centered around the Santa Cruz Mountains. It includes three counties in California: Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo. Recognized as an AVA in 1981, the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation was among the first to be defined by its...

  • Carneros District
    Los Carneros AVA
    Los Carneros AVA is an American Viticultural Area which includes parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties in California, U.S.A.. It is located north of San Pablo Bay. The proximity to the cool fog and breezes from the bay makes the climate in Los Carneros cooler and more moderate than the wine...

     of Napa
    Napa Valley AVA
    Napa Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Napa County, California, United States. Napa Valley is considered one of the top wine regions in the United States...

     and Sonoma
    Sonoma County wine
    Sonoma County wine is wine made in Sonoma County, California, USA. County names in the United States automatically qualify as legal appellations of origin for wine produced from grapes grown in that county and do not require registration with the United States Department of the Treasury, Alcohol...

  • Anderson Valley
    Anderson Valley
    Anderson Valley is a sparsely populated region in western Mendocino County in Northern California. Located approximately 100 miles north of San Francisco, the name "Anderson Valley" applies broadly to several rural, unincorporated communities in or near the alluvial terraces along Anderson Creek...

  • Livermore Valley
    Livermore Valley
    The Livermore Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area in Alameda County, California, surrounding the city of Livermore in the Tri-Valley region. Both the AVA and the city are named after Robert Livermore, a landowner whose holdings encompassed the valley. The groundwater basin underlying the...

  • San Luis Obispo County / Arroyo Grande Valley, Edna Valley
    San Luis Obispo County, California
    San Luis Obispo County is a county located along the Pacific Ocean in the Central Coast of the U.S. state of California, between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2010 census its population was 269,637, up from 246,681 at the 2000 census...



Oregon wine regions known for producing Pinot noir:
  • Willamette Valley AVA
    Willamette Valley AVA
    The Willamette Valley AVA , is an American Viticultural Area which lies in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The AVA is the wine growing region which encompasses the drainage basin of the Willamette River...



Although Oregon Pinot noir pioneer David Lett
David Lett
David Lett was the founder and winemaker for The Eyrie Vineyards in the U.S. state of Oregon. He was a pioneer in the Oregon wine industry.Lett grew up in Utah and studied dentistry in California...

 of Eyrie Vineyards
Eyrie Vineyards
The Eyrie Vineyards is an American winery in Oregon that consists of in several different vineyards in the Willamette Valley. The vineyards and winery were established by owner and winemaker David Lett, who produced the first Pinot gris in the United States...

 is widely credited for first having planted Pinot noir in Oregon in 1965, Richard Sommers of Hillcrest Vineyards should be regarded as the first to plant and produce Pinot noir. He planted the variety in 1959 at his vineyards in the Umpqua Valley and produced wine from those vineyards in the early 1960s. In the 1970s several other growers followed suit. In 1979, David Lett took his wines to a competition in Paris, known in English as the Wine Olympics
Wine Olympics
A Wine Olympics was organized by the French food and wine magazine GaultMillau in 1979; a total of 330 wines from 33 countries were evaluated by 62 experts from ten nationalities. The 1976 Trefethen Vineyards Chardonnay from the Napa Valley won the Chardonnay tasting and was judged best in the...

, and they placed third among pinots. In a 1980 rematch arranged by French wine magnate Robert Drouhin, the Eyrie vintage improved to second place. The competition established Oregon as a world class Pinot noir producing region.

The Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley AVA
The Willamette Valley AVA , is an American Viticultural Area which lies in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The AVA is the wine growing region which encompasses the drainage basin of the Willamette River...

 of Oregon is at the same latitude as the Burgundy region of France, and has a similar climate in which the finicky Pinot noir grapes thrive. In 1987, Drouhin purchased land in the Willamette Valley, and in 1989 built Domaine Drouhin Oregon, a state-of-the-art, gravity-fed winery. Throughout the 1980s, the Oregon wine industry
Oregon wine
The state of Oregon in the United States has established an international reputation for its production of wine. Oregon has several different growing regions within the state's borders which are well-suited to the cultivation of grapes; additional regions straddle the border between Oregon and the...

 blossomed.

Recent popularity

During 2004 and the beginning of 2005, Pinot noir became considerably more popular amongst consumers in the United States of America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 possibly because of the movie Sideways
Sideways
Sideways is a 2004 comedy-drama film written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne and directed by Payne. Adapted from Rex Pickett's 2004 novel of the same name, Sideways follows two forty-something year old men, portrayed by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, who take a week-long road trip to...

. Being lighter in style, it has benefited from a trend toward more restrained, less alcoholic wines being at or around 12% alcohol by volume. Robert Parker
Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. is a leading U.S. wine critic with an international influence. His wine ratings on a 100-point scale and his newsletter The Wine Advocate, with his particular stylistic preferences and notetaking vocabulary, have become very influential in American wine buying and are...

has described Pinot noir in Parker's Wine Buying Guide:

External links

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