When you’re tasting wines, sometimes it’s fun to compare several varieties of a particular wine. Take Pinot Noir, for instance. It’s a sensitive little grape. Much like Goldilocks’ three finicky bears, it doesn’t like to be too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, and when it’s angry, it lets you know by filling your mouth with sharp green notes or the delightful, stewed flavor of mushy prunes. A perfect Pinot is a very subjective thing, but why not organize a wine tasting consisting of bottles from a variety of regions? It’s fun to explore what kind of Pinot (or other wine) is perfect for you.
If you’re not already familiar with Pinot Noir regions, here’s a quick overview:
- Burgundy – If Pinot Noir had to pick a single place to rest its dark and mysterious head, it would be in the heart of France. Burgundy is synonymous with Pinot, as the region’s oceanic soil and temperate (conservatively cool winters, moderate summers) weather make ideal conditions for a balanced wine that shows a considerable amount of earth with an underlying burst of bright cherry and cranberry.
- Oregon – Located on the same longitudinal lines as Burgundy, Oregon also boasts a similar microclimate and is quickly becoming the go to for oenophiles who want Burgundy taste at domestic prices. Oregon Pinots drink like a complex parfait of pomegranate and dark, tart cherries, drank as you inhale the rich scent of freshly turned soil.
- California – Transplant this feisty little grape to the hot, humid earth in California and things get interesting. Vineyards along the ocean benefit from the cool sea air, cooling off the grapes and preserving balance. Go farther inland, and in the wrong hands the grapes get the overripe, muddled flavor that often accompanies months under the hot sun in soft, vegetal soil. Buy California Pinot when you’re in the mood for the jam-like mouth feel of ripe cherry and strawberry with a dash of sweet vanilla, thanks to Oak aging.
Yes, it’s true – Pinot Noir is planted and produced in almost every wine-growing region in the world, but exploring these locales is a great way to start. Plug your findings into your wine tasting app, and see what you discover about your palate!