Skip to content
What is the history of Pinot Noir? - Pinot Noir is often called the ‘heartbreak grape’ due to its delicate nature, and has a rich history. Traced back to the Roman era and believed to have ancient roots possibly deriving from wild vines in Burgundy. The first documented mention of Pinot Noir in Burgundy is in 1345. The name also is French with ‘pinot’ meaning pine or pinecone, reflecting the distinctive shape of the Pinot grape cluster.

What is the taste profile of Pinot Noir: One of the first things you notice in the glass is its translucency compared to other grapes; this is due to the skin texture. The nose is red berried focus with raspberry, cherry and red currant. In some richer styles you will notice a darker fruit profile - like those from Central Otago, Felton Road in particular. On the palate it is light to medium body with light tannins (thanks to the thin skin), high acidity with alcohol typically around 12.5%. Allowing the wine to age a little (5+ years) will develop the mushroom and forest floor.

What are the classic regions of Pinot Noir - there are many regions where Pinot Noir absolutely thrives. In Burgundy, France of course, but also Australian regions of Geelong, Mornington Peninsular and Tasmania, and in the New Zealand region of Central Otago. A region to watch is the southern Germany region of Baden - with climate change allowing the fruit to ripen and producing some exceptional expressions of this variety. The commonality between these regions is a cooler climate, with cooling influences such as altitude, latitude and proximity to the ocean.

Clones of Pinot Noir - did you know there are over 1000 clones of Pinot Noir?! Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are both colour mutations of Pinot Noir – their bunches speckled with red and white grapes. Pinot Noir made its way to Australia in 1830 with cuttings from Burgundy. The most common clone is Australia is MV6 (Mother Vine Plant 6), from a vine in the Hunter Valley at Mount Pleasant Winery. MV6 provided Pinot Noir with structure and body with deep colour. The Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 arrived in the 1950’s. Today, winemakers and viticulturists have a lot of choice in the vineyard and the wine. The Dijon clones are a little more perfumed, with the 777 making refined and pretty expressions. The Abel clone - also known as the gumboot clone – was smuggled into New Zealand, with the cuttings allegedly lifted from the Domaine Romanee-Conti vineyard. The cutting was confiscated by customs officer Malcolm Abel who sent the cuttings through quarantine at his own expense and planted them in his own vineyard - Ata Rangi. The winery is still running, and produces wines with deep colour, complexity and structure – great for aging!

A few of our best Pinot Noir in store now:
Geelong - By Farr Tout Pres Pinot Noir 2021
Yarra Valley - Mount Mary Pinot Noir 2021
Central Otago - Felton Road Calvery Pinot Noir 2022
California - Peay Vineyards Ama Pinot Noir 2019
Burgundy - Chateau de la Tour Grand Cru Clos Vougeot Cuvee Classique 2015

With over 160 in store you'll find your perfect Pinot Noir
Previous Article Next Article