Pinot Noir is one of the world’s most popular red wines and is a type of wine grape as well as a style of wine.
A black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera hailing from France, the name is derived from the French words “Pinot” in reference to the pinecone (“pine”) shape of the grape clusters and “Noir”, which translates to “black”, reflecting the darker colour of the grapes.
While Pinot Noir grapes are grown in many different parts of the world including here in Australia, the grape is most commonly associated with the Burgundy region of France. Burgundy is where the grape is thought to have originated centuries ago (by the Cistercian monks) with the region's climate and soil ideally suited for growing the red varietal. Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy are some of the most highly sought-after and expensive wines in the world.
While Burgundy remains the spiritual home of Pinot Noir, today the grape is now grown in all corners of the globe, each with their own unique style.
Australian Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is one of the most consumed red wines in Australia. Grown in around 75% of all wine regions within Australia, Pinot Noirs produced here are known for their vibrant flavours with aromas of red fruits and spices, and are typically light to medium-bodied.
Historically, while there is evidence of Pinot Noir in Australia stretching as far back as the 1800s, it wasn’t until the 1980s where its re-emergence gained significant traction, alongside the growth of cool climate wineries and a changing demand of Australian consumers.
With vineyards extending across major cool climate regions throughout Australia, there are a variety of Pinot Noirs to choose from. Gaining as much popularity as the more traditional stronger red wine alternatives, Australian Pinot Noir is generally lighter in colour and features delicate flavours of plum, cherry and raspberry.
Wine regions renowned for producing high quality Pinot Noir include Tasmania, Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, South Australia’s Adelaide Hills and the Great Southern region of Western Australia.
Tasmania’s cool climate and diversity of vineyard terroir (ground) is perfect for Pinot Noir, producing some of the finest wines globally. Victoria’s Geelong, Gippsland, Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley regions are known for producing a variety of Pinot Noirs that are influenced by factors from location elevation to proximity to the bay and sea. The slopes of the Adelaide Hills deliver pristine grapes for harvest, resulting in wines with strawberry and cherry flavours. Meanwhile, Western Australia has seen in recent years an increase in both the production and quantity of Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir characteristics
The style of wine (of which there are many) produced from Pinot Noir grapes is often characterised by its delicate flavour and light colour. Many factors can influence wine production such as the region, climate and ground the vines are grown in, along with the winemaker’s style.
Being a thin-skinned grape, Pinot Noir is more fragile and susceptible to weather conditions, earning itself the reputation as being notoriously difficult to grow. The thin skin also allows the wine to have a more intense colour. Pinot Noir wines can range in colour from light red to almost purple and taste best when served slightly chilled.
Pinot Noir wines are characteristically light to medium-bodied with soft tannins, naturally higher in acidity and lower in alcohol compared to other red wines.
The flavours of Pinot Noir wines can be quite complex and include fragrant florals and red fruits like cranberry, cherry, strawberry and raspberry, with some styles also producing an earthier palate of mushroom, truffle and forest floor.
Cooler climates produce more delicate and light-bodied Pinot Noir, while warmer climate varietals contain higher alcohol and are riper and fuller-bodied. Some winemakers age their wines in French oak, which creates a fuller, textured wine with aromas of vanilla and baking spice (clove and liquorice).
Edenvale’s award-winning Premium Reserve Pinot Noir, with notes of ripe sweet cherry, dark fruit characters and an earthy palate, is a delicate yet intense alcohol-removed wine that delivers all the complexity and elegance of a traditional Pinot Noir without the effects of alcohol.
Food pairings with Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is one of those versatile and food-friendly wines that pairs well with almost anything, due to its more delicate nature and fruity and floral characteristics. Whether you're looking for a wine to pair with dinner or one to enjoy on its own, Pinot Noir is a great choice, given its soft tannins, high acidity and smooth finish.
Depending on the style of Pinot Noir, fruitier, less tannic versions match well with lighter dishes including fatty, oily fish, like salmon and sardines, tuna, roasted chicken or rich pasta dishes like spaghetti Bolognese, as well as creamy risottos. In fact, despite Pinot Noir’s French origins, it pairs particularly well with most Italian food, especially tomato-based sauces and dishes.
Medium-bodied, earthier Pinot Noirs on the other hand complement red meat dishes such as duck and lamb, casseroles and stews (Beef Bourguignon, Beef Stroganoff, Ossobuco) or white meats like turkey, pork and grilled chicken.
Pinot Noir is also a perfect match for many Asian dishes such as sushi or sashimi.
Great dessert pairings that work well include chocolate-covered strawberries, dark chocolate mousse or rich brownies.
Pinot Noir also complements a variety of different hard and soft cheeses – creamy brie, blue, goat’s cheese, aged cheddar, gouda – the list is endless.
Edenvale’s Pinot Noir can be enjoyed with a huge range of dishes from fresh spring vegetables and roasted white meats to seared salmon.
Celebrate Pinot Noir Day (August 18) this month by picking up a bottle of Edenvale’s Premium Reserve Pinot Noir online or from Dan Murphy’s, Coles, Woolworths & IGA. You can also shop via our retail partners: Sansdrinks, CraftZero, Brunswick Aces and Free Spirit Drink Co.