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Pinot Noir

Top 20 Wines of 2021

All About Pinot

Pinot Noir is the world's most popular red wine. It can be light and fruity, or bold and earthy. Find the perfect Pinot for you.

All About

Pinot Noir

What is Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir is a red wine grape used in creating still red wines, rosé wines, and sparkling wines, which includes Champagne. Pinot Noir is considered one of the most notable red wines in the world, and it’s beloved for its complex aromas and softer tannins.

What kind of wine is Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir wine is a red wine made from the Pinot Noir grape. Pinot Noir is usually a pale, dry red wine with flavors that are more delicate overall compared to wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

Where does Pinot Noir come from?
While Pinot is made all over the world today, Pinot Noir’s reputation comes from the wines made in the Burgundy region of France. Pinot is one of the oldest grape varieties, and its winemaking history dates back to the first century AD.

The grapes grow in tight clusters that resemble a pine cone, which is “Pinot” in French. Noir is the French word for black to distinguish the red grape from its cousins Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. On wine labels, the words red Burgundy or Bourgogne Rouge are synonymous with Pinot Noir. The best Pinot Noir comes from winemaking regions from all over the world that have cool climates, including the Champagne region and Burgundy region in France, New Zealand, Australia, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and California’s Russian River Valley, Los Carneros, and the Central Coast.

What does Pinot Noir taste like?
Pinot Noir is a susceptible grape, and its flavors and aromas vary depending on the soil and climate of where it’s planted. Most Pinot Noir tastes of plums, raspberries, and strawberries along with aromas of rose petals, cola, mushrooms, vanilla, and a hint of smoke from aging in toasted oak barrels.

How is Pinot Noir made?
Just like all wine, Pinot Noir starts in the vineyards where Pinot grapes are tended to until they’re ripe. When the grapes are ready, they are harvested, pressed, and the resulting juice is fermented. After fermentation, the juice is aged in oak barrels and then blended to create wine.
1. The winemaking process starts with picking grapes at the right time when they are sweet and ripe, with ample acidity that gives the wine freshness.
2. The stems are removed from the grape clusters, and then the grapes, juice, and seeds go into a large metal tank for cold soaking. The tannin, flavor, and color in red wine all come from the grape’s skin.
3. Next, yeast is added to start fermentation. As the yeast eats the sugar in the Pinot Noir grape juice, it turns the sugar into alcohol. As it ferments, the grape juice gets warm and bubbly because of the heat and carbon dioxide gas released during the process.
4. Once the fermentation is over, the grape skins are pressed, and the new wine is transferred to barrels to start aging. Aging in an oak barrel allows the flavor, aroma, and texture of the young wine to improve and mature. The barrel also can contribute subtle flavors such as vanilla, bittersweet cocoa, or coffee to the finished Pinot Noir wine.
5. When the winemaker decides the wine has aged long enough, they perfect the final blend and then bottle the Pinot Noir.

Is a Pinot Noir dry or sweet?
While Pinot Noir grapes are sweet, they are used to typically make dry red wines, Champagnes, or rosés that aren’t sweet. Of course, winemakers have quite a bit of leeway in winemaking styles, which allows them to make Pinots in any style. Sometimes, they leave a touch of sweetness in their Pinot Noir wines and make them in a very fruity style.

Do you chill Pinot Noir?
Just like other red wines, Pinot Noir tastes best when it’s chilled slightly. The goal is to serve your Pinot at 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which is known as cellar temperature.

This guideline dates back to the days when most people had a cellar underneath their home for storing vegetables and other perishable foods. You can keep your Pinot in a wine refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it or pop a bottle into a regular refrigerator for 20 minutes before uncorking, and then you’ll be good to go!

What does Pinot Noir pair with?
Pinot Noir is considered the most food-friendly of all the red wines because of its higher acid profile and bright, sheer flavors. Some of the best food and wine pairings for Pinot Noir wines include mushrooms, pork, salmon, duck, and lamb. Pinot Noir is also a key ingredient in classic French dishes coq au vin and beef bourguignon.

Is Pinot Noir Keto-friendly?
As long as you watch your portion size, Pinot Noir is one of the most Keto-friendly red wines. Pinot Noir is dry with little or no residual sugar left in the final wine, so you can enjoy the occasional glass while following a ketogenic eating plan.

What is the difference between Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are both wine grapes that are distant cousins. But Pinot and Cabernet are two different grapes with their unique aromas, flavors, and ideal growing conditions. Cabernet Sauvignon is a hardier grape and can grow in a variety of wine regions while Pinot Noir prefers cooler growing sites.

Cabernet and Pinot Noir also differ in their color and flavor. Pinot Noir tends to be a lighter color red wine, usually a pale ruby-ish color, while Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be a bolder, deeper ruby color. When it comes to the flavor profile, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to be bold and taste of red and dark fruits like dark cherries, blackberries, cocoa. Pinot Noir tends to be a lighter wine, in both mouthfeel and flavor, with aromas and flavors of raspberries, strawberries, rose petals, and earth.

What are the popular brands of Pinot Noir wine?
Total Wine & More has all the most popular Pinot wine brands. With such a wide selection of Pinot Noir under $20, you can be sure to find a Pinot that you’ll like. Some of our most popular brands of Pinot Noir wine include:

• A to Z
• Angeline
• Barefoot
• Belle Glos
• Boen
• Bread & Butter
• Decoy wines by Duckhorn
• Elouan
• Erath
• Flowers
• Hahn
• Josh Cellars
• La Crema
• Line 39
• Mark West
• Meiomi
• Mirassou
• Underwood
• Vennstone Pinot Noir
• And many more!

Browse our full selection of Pinot Noir wines above and take home a couple of bottles today, or visit our wine buyers top Pinot Noir list to find some great values, both in quality and price!

Want to learn more about Pinot Noir?
Visit our Guide to Pinot Noir to learn more about Pinot from Oregon, California, and around the world.