Pinot Noir Cheat Sheet

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  • Topic: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon
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Bailey Kathleen HansenMay 6, 2011

Professor Damien DuChampFood and Beverage

Pinot Noir

Origin: Pinot Noir is one of the oldest vine grape varieties known in the world. It was cultivated in Burgundy since the 1st century AD. There is a legend that Pinot arrived in Burgundy via the Aedui from their invasions of Lombardy and Italy. Another legend says that it arrived via Romans while other stories tell of Pinot Noir being already growing by the time the Romans got to the region. The monks used Pinot Noir for their sacraments and began to take control over the vineyards and by the 6th century they had created a variety through careful cultivation process

Cultivation: Burgundy is the home Pinot Noir. Within the Burgundy region it is a 30 mile long by 2 mile wide stretch of land know as the Cote d’ Or (Slope of Gold). This region produces some of Europe’s finest Pinots. The strip has ideal soil, chalky, well drained and ideal sun exposure with above average temperatures. Pinot Noir is grown in countries all over the world. There are Pinot vineyards in Australia, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States, and Yugoslavia. Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to deal with because it is genetically unstable. Parent plants can produce a plant with very different berry size and shape and even flavor. For example Cabernet Sauvignon has 12 genetically individual clones but Pinot Noir has up to 1,000 possible clones. Pinot Noir thrives in a cooler and fog prone climate. So it was not a surprise that when a Pinot Noir clone began growing so well and producing a great wine in Oregon, United States.

Problems with Cultivation: Pinot Noir seems to pick up every known vine disease, mold, fungus and pest. The plant is very delicate during its early ripening stage, the spring frosts can be devastating to the vine.

Popularity: In the late 1980s and early 1990s Pinot Noir began growing in California and Oregon. This is what began its popularity in the United States. In 2004, some of the best Pinot Noirs were coming out of California and Oregon. Pinot Noir is a great light bodied wine that goes well with a variety of foods. Since it has so many varieties from all over the world it would be very difficult for someone to not find a Pinot Noir that they can enjoy.

French Pinot Noir vs. American Pinot Noir: Many Pinot Noir vines that are in America, with careful planning and hundreds of years of subtle differences had been imported from the Cote d’Or (Slope of Gold) in Burgundy, France. American Pinots are fruitier they have more alcohol content, less structure and they tend to lose the ability to age well over the course of five years. Most of the Pinot Noir that is grown in America is grown in either California or Oregon. California seems to get a bad rap from most of the wine critics that taste the wine. There have been accusations that the wine is to smooth, to fruity and in many ways to likeable. There are a lot of critics who believe that wine should be bold and full of different flavors, aromas and bouquets. Although the Pinot Noir that is grown in Oregon has similar latitude of Burgundy, France, unlike the Pinot Noir grown in California, has more of the same types of foliage, fruits and soil. Such as blueberries, cherries, and raspberries, chanterelle mushrooms, chestnuts, hickory nuts, dogwood, fir trees, lavender, and truffles. All of these flavors can be found in an Oregon Pinot Noir and in French Pinot Noir.

|Varietal Aromas and Flavors |
|Fruit |Cherry | | |Strawberry...
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