What Grapes Are Used For Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is a type of red wine with a unique flavor and aroma. It’s one of the most beloved wines in the world, and it’s made from certain grape varieties that give it its signature characteristics. If you’re curious to know what grapes are used for pinot noir, read on! You’ll learn about regional variations, how different grapes affect the flavor of pinot noir, and why terroir plays a big role in what makes this particular wine special.

Overview of Pinot Noir

You know what makes this wine so special? It’s the unique blend of flavors that come together to create a truly remarkable flavor profile. Pinot Noir is a type of red wine made with grapes from the same namesake species. These grapes are believed to be one of the earliest varieties cultivated by humans and have been used to make wine since Roman times. The wines produced from these grapes range in color from ruby to garnet and have an earthy, fruity aroma with notes of raspberry, cherry, and even blackberry. They often express flavors of sour cherry, cranberry, mushroom, leather, game meat, and smoke. With its medium body and acidity level being on the lower side compared to other red wines, it can be enjoyed both young and aged. To further enhance its complex taste profile, many winemakers add oak aging which adds aromas such as vanilla or spice along with tannins for structure. Continuing on this journey into the world of Pinot Noir will take us through regional variations that are key in understanding why this grape has become so popular around the world.

Regional Variations

You may already know that Burgundy, France is the home of pinot noir, but did you know that California, USA and New Zealand are also popular producers of this grape? Pinot noir from these regions have their own unique characteristics and flavors—from bright cherry notes in California to earthy tones in New Zealand. Let’s explore the regional variations of pinot noir further to discover what makes each one special.

Burgundy, France

In Burgundy, France, you can see vineyards as far as the eye can see–all growing grapes for that famous Pinot Noir. The region is world-renowned for its excellent Pinot Noirs and other reds like Gamay and Pinot Meunier. It’s home to classic Grand Cru sites such as Chambertin, La Tache, and Clos de Vougeot. Grapes used in Burgundy are primarily the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties. Other minor grapes include Pinot Blanc, Aligote, Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet), Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay Noir a Jus blanc (Gamay), and Petit Meslier. While many of these grapes are blended together to create complex wines with depth of flavor not seen elsewhere in the world, Burgundy also produces some single varietal wines that show off how each grape expresses itself differently from region to region. With so much variety available within this one small area of France, it’s easy to understand why it produces some of the best examples of Pinot Noir in existence. Flowing seamlessly into the next section about ‘California, USA’, it is clear why this wine has become so popular around the world.

California, USA

California is the top producer of wine in the US, with over 90% of all domestic wine coming from this state. It’s home to some of the country’s most iconic wineries and vineyards, producing an incredible variety of styles from light-bodied whites to full-bodied reds. With its Mediterranean climate and diverse soils, California is a great place for growing classic varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot as well as lesser-known varietals such as Petite Sirah and Syrah. Pinot Noir is also cultivated here in California and has been gaining popularity among winemakers due to its versatility and complexity. Winemakers can use it to make both light-bodied wines with delicate aromas or bolder styles with more robust tannins. The range of characteristics that come out of Pinot Noir when grown in California are truly something special making it a favorite among many vintners. Moving on from California, New Zealand is another region where Pinot Noir thrives.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s cool climate and diverse soil types create ideal conditions for growing a variety of grapes, resulting in vibrant, complex wines that draw their unique character from the region. Pinot Noir is one of the most popular grape varieties grown in New Zealand, producing wines with an intense ruby color and classic aromas of cherries, raspberries, mushrooms and herbs. The two main regions for growing Pinot Noir are Central Otago on the South Island and Martinborough on the North Island. Each offers distinct characteristics that contribute to its overall flavor profile. In Central Otago, Pinot Noir shows more fruit-forward characteristics with aromas of blackberry and cherry as well as notes of spice and earthiness. Martinborough produces lighter-bodied versions with floral aromatics such as violets coupled with flavors of red berry fruits like raspberry and cranberry. Both styles feature a rich texture on the palate thanks to tannin structure derived from extended maceration times during fermentation. With these varied expressions in mind, it’s no wonder why New Zealand is becoming increasingly known for its excellent Pinot Noirs. Moving forward, let’s take a look at some specific grape varieties used for this varietal.

Grape Varieties Used for Pinot Noir

You may be familiar with the subtle and unique flavors of this classic varietal, Pinot Noir. Grown in both the old and new world, Pinot Noir has a wide range of expression that varies depending on the grape variety used:

  • In New Zealand, winemakers typically use clones of Dijon 115 or 777 for their Pinot Noir wines.
  • In California, Pommard clones are often used to produce structured and full-bodied wines.
  • In France’s Burgundy region, there are several dozen different clones used to make a broad range of styles.
    No matter what clone is chosen, all grapes influence the final flavor profile of a wine.

How Grapes Affect the Flavor of Pinot Noir

You now know the grape varieties used for Pinot Noir. But how do these grapes affect the flavor of a Pinot Noir? The answer lies in three main factors: ripeness, acidity, and tannin.

Ripeness Acidity Tannin
Sweetness Sour Bitter
Soft Tart Astringent
Fruity Light Dry
Mellow Crisp Full-bodied

Ripeness is determined by the amount of sugar in the grapes, which adds sweetness to the wine along with more fruity aromas. Acidity contributes to its tartness or sourness while providing balance and structure to prevent it from becoming cloying or heavy on the palate. Lastly, tannins add bitterness and astringency that can make a wine taste dry and full-bodied. When all three are balanced in harmony, you get an amazing glass of Pinot Noir! With this knowledge, let’s explore how terroir affects this delicate blend…

Impact of Terroir on Pinot Noir

Knowing how terroir influences the ripeness, acidity, and tannin of a wine can help you understand and appreciate the nuances that make each Pinot Noir unique. Terroir is an important factor in the production of any wine, but especially for Pinot Noir. It affects the grape’s flavor profile by providing specific characteristics based on climate, soil type, topography and other environmental factors. The combination of these elements contributes to everything from a wine’s depth of color to its texture and body. For example, warmer climates will produce riper grapes with higher sugar levels while cooler climates will create more acidic wines with less sugar in the fruit. Additionally, different soils can result in different flavors and aromas like earthiness or minerality that come through in Pinot Noirs from certain regions. By understanding what makes up a particular terroir you are better able to identify what aspects contribute to creating your favorite styles of this varietal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best temperature to serve Pinot Noir?

Pinot noir is best served slightly cool, between 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows its aroma and taste to properly express itself. Serve it too warm and you’ll miss out on the nuanced flavors that make pinot noir so special; serve it too cold and you won’t taste much of anything. So, when pouring a glass of pinot noir, make sure to give it some time to come up to temperature before serving.

What is the difference between Pinot Noir and other red wines?

Pinot noir is a type of red wine, but it’s unique compared to other red wines. It has an unmistakable flavor that sets it apart, making it a favorite among many connoisseurs. Pinot noir is made from the pinot noir grape, and its light body and silky texture make it a pleasure to drink. Unlike some heavier reds, pinot noir pairs well with food without overpowering it. With its subtle complexity and nuances, pinot noir offers something for everyone who enjoys wine.

Are there any health benefits to drinking Pinot Noir?

Yes, drinking pinot noir can be beneficial for your health. It contains a variety of antioxidants, including catechin and resveratrol, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Pinot noir also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, it is low in tannins compared to other red wines, making it easier to digest and helping prevent heartburn or indigestion. So why not enjoy a glass of this delicious wine while reaping the benefits?

How should Pinot Noir be stored?

Pinot noir is a delicate wine that requires careful storage to ensure it retains its unique flavor and aroma. To keep this exquisite beverage at its best, store your pinot noir in a cool and dark place, such as a cellar or pantry. Avoid placing the bottle in direct sunlight, as this can cause the delicate flavors to dissipate over time. It’s also important to make sure the temperature is consistent; if it fluctuates too much, you may find that your pinot noir has lost some of its character by the time you open it. Store carefully, and you’ll be rewarded with an enjoyable glass of this luxurious libation!

How long does Pinot Noir last after opening?

When it comes to pinot noir, you may be wondering how long it lasts after opening. Generally speaking, you can expect your bottle of pinot noir to stay fresh for three to five days if stored properly in the refrigerator. If left out at room temperature, however, the wine should be consumed within a day or two of opening. To get the most out of your bottle of pinot noir and keep it tasting its best for longer, store it in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 5 days.


You’ve now explored the complexities of Pinot Noir. You know that this popular red wine comes in a variety of styles, all based on different grape varieties and terroirs. From the bright, earthy notes of Burgundy to the spicy, cherry flavors of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, each bottle has its own unique flavor profile. But no matter where it’s from or what grapes are used, one thing remains true: Pinot Noir is a delicious and complex wine that deserves to be appreciated. So go ahead and pour yourself a glass – you won’t regret it!

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