Any list of “important” red wines must include Pinot Noir. For many people, such a list would be topped by that variety.
From its historic home of France’s Burgundy appellation to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and from Santa Barbara County to the North Coast of California, fabulous renditions of Pinot Noir are being crafted.
What is it that makes Pinot Noir so special?
While its aromas are enticing, its flavors are complex and its finish is long, the real allure of Pinot Noir is its mouthfeel — winespeak for how the wine feels in your mouth. It’s another way of expressing texture, and when it comes to Pinot Noir, texture comes in layers.
While Pinot Noir can age gracefully for many years… even decades… it is less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon, and that is another reason it is so appealing. One can enjoy Pinot Noir at a much younger “age” than Cabernet.
Because of that less-tannic quality, Pinot Noir also is more food-friendly.
Duck. Other game birds. Casseroles. Stews. Pasta dishes.
All pair wonderfully with Pinot Noir. And, of course, Pinot Noir was the inspiration for the groundbreaking book, “Red Wine With Fish,” which helped spark a culinary revolution in America.
But don’t take our word for it. Here is what others have said about Pinot Noir…
Natasha Hughes, Master of Wine — “When Pinot producers get it right, the wines have it all: gorgeous aromatics, silky texture, bright acidity and supple tannins. What’s not to like?”
Anonymous winemaker — “Cabernet is big and boisterous and tannic. Pinot is complicated and sexy.”
Karen MacNeil, author of “The Wine Bible” — “More than any other wine, [Pinot Noir] is described in sensual terms.”
So if you don’t want to give up red wine this summer but would prefer something a bit lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, we have two words for you: Pinot Noir.