The Pinot Noir Areas
Wine producers all over the world have tried to import the cultivation of this noble international grape variety to their territories, following its great success in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, where it probably originated. This area has always been considered its land of choice and still produces some of the best and most famous Pinot Noir and red wines in the world. Its success is linked to the unique climatic conditions of this area, to the strong winemaking tradition based on the differences of terroir and to the expert hand of great producers who have been able to get the best from this difficult and demanding grape. The main sub-zones are the Côte de Nuits, where the wines are elegant, complex and characterised by a good mineral imprint, and the Côte de Beaune where the fruity and fresh features dominate. In addition, in the Champagne region it competes with the production of the world's most famous sparkling wines.
In Italy, it mainly prefers the areas of the Alpine region, among which the Pinot Noir Alto Adige stands out, characterised by fresh and juicy aromas of wild berries. It is also popular in the Trentino and Brescia areas, which are famous respectively for the Trento DOC and Franciacorta sparkling wines, but also for fine and delicate reds. It can also be found in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and in some areas of the Oltrepò Pavese. Its reputation soon spread overseas, to the United States of America and the New World, including Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The processing of this vine is almost always carried out in purity in order to allow all of its qualities to be expressed to the fullest. Freshness is the distinctive feature of this grape variety, which, if not well controlled, can destabilise the balance of the taste. The tannin is not always very pronounced due to its thin and delicate skin. This grape is easily recognisable by the shape of the bunch, which is similar to that of a pine cone, from which its name also derives. It is a genetically very unstable type that can easily mutate and give rise to new varieties in the same family, resulting in the variants of Grigio, Blanc and Meunier.
This grape is often aged in wooden barrels to soften the taste and can have a different ageing time depending on the area and the producer.
Aroma, Colour and Suggested Pairings
Because of its thin and fine skin, this grape has rather clear and fairly transparent colour tones, with a ruby red colour in its youth that evolves towards garnet with ageing. When tasted, it presents a wide variety of aromas and characteristics that can vary greatly depending on the vintage and the area in which it is grown. The typical and characteristic aroma of Pinot Noir wine is manifested in fruity hints of raspberry, blackberry, cherry, black cherry and plum, with floral hints of violet and rose. Ageing in wood and maturation in the bottle enhance the bouquet, introducing toasted and undergrowth aromas, with spiced touches and converting the fruity scents into marmalade and jelly. The taste is fresh, not very tannic and well-balanced, tending to be elegant and fine. Its structure comes from the ageing in casks and is well-rounded thanks to the time spent in the bottle. The climate, the cultivation soil, the vintage, and the skill of the enologist and winemaker all affect the final product, rendering it always challenging even to taste. On the table, it pairs particularly well with mature cheeses, braised and roasted meats, and generally with all the more elaborate red meat dishes. The intense and complex taste characteristics of the more evolved versions also make it perfect for pairing with more flavoursome and structured dishes such as risotto with mushrooms, game and venison.
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