The Many Faces of Pinot Noir

Jan 09, 2023Cambridge Wines

Pinot Noir is a red grape variety that's grown in many wine-producing regions around the world. It has a more delicate, aromatic taste profile than other varieties of grapes that are commonly used in wine production. Known as one of the most expensive wines on the market, Pinot Noir is also one of the most planted red grape varieties in existence.

Here we'll take a closer look at how this unique variety came to be and how it differs from other wines you may be familiar with.

How Pinot Noir has been interpreted in different places around the world.

Pinot Noir is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world. It can be grown in a variety of climates, but it thrives best in cool regions where it can develop its characteristic intense fruit flavors, like those found in Burgundy and Oregon. Pinot Noir is also grown around the globe, with notable producers coming from Italy (including Piedmont and Tuscany), France (Burgundy and Champagne), California, New Zealand and Australia

The grapes are often harvested earlier than other red wine grapes because they don't have as much sugar content to protect them from freezing during winter -- so if you find yourself sipping on a glass of Pinot Noir this winter season (or any time of year!) you're probably drinking something made from grapes that were picked before peak ripeness.

Pinot Noir in Burgundy

Burgundy is known for producing the best Pinot Noir in the world. In fact, Pinot Noir is probably the most famous of Burgundy's red wines, with a history that dates back to Roman times. It is also the most widely planted grape in the world and can be grown anywhere on earth where there are cool climates. However, it is only in Burgundy that this delicate wine will produce its finest expression.

The story of how Pinot Noir came to be cultivated on French soil begins with monks who brought cuttings from their homeland—the vineyards of Champagne—to northern France sometime during the Middle Ages (though no one knows exactly when). They found ideal conditions for growing grapes here: mild winters and hot summers that made it possible to cultivate both white and red varieties; fertile land; plenty of sunlight; and lots of rainwater from nearby rivers which would prevent too much evaporation from depleting soil moisture levels after heavy rains had soaked into thirsty ground before any fruit could be harvested from new shoots sprouting up over winter months. The monks eventually began selling wine produced by these vines locally under their own brand name "Coteaux du Layon" (or "Clos de Vougeot" when referring specifically to that particular appellation), giving birth to what became known as "Burgundy."

Pinot Noir in New Zealand

While Pinot Noir is the most planted grape in New Zealand, it's grown throughout several regions. In the Marlborough region, a cool climate produces wines that are lighter in body and brighter than those of the warmer Central Otago region. While many wineries make single-varietal Pinot Noir from grapes sourced from their own vineyards, others blend it with other grapes such as Chardonnay or Merlot to create a more balanced wine.

Pinot Noir is also often used to make sparkling wine—known locally as "Champagne" after its French namesake—with notable examples coming from producers such as Tastings and Villa Maria Estate.

Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, Oregon

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is a region that has become synonymous with Pinot Noir. It's one of the most important regions in the United States when it comes to Pinot Noir, and its reputation is well-deserved. The reason that California can't hold a candle to Oregon when it comes to Pinot Noir?

  • Climate: In most places, climate is an important factor in how grapes develop. But certain parts of the world have such ideal conditions for growing grapes that they're able to produce higher quality fruit than any other part of earth (and these are called "hot spots"). When it comes down to it, there are not many areas where you could grow these kinds of grapes—they demand very specific conditions that aren't found everywhere on Earth. For example: good drainage so water doesn't sit around too long; mild temperature swings during both day and night; sunshine during daytime hours (not just after sunset); etc... You get the idea!
  • Soil: Soil quality also plays an essential role in producing high quality wine grapes; however soil type alone does not determine which grape variety will grow best within those parameters. Instead soil type defines what kind of grapevine will thrive under those conditions—and since there’s no way for us humans yet known about how exactly each plant species evolved over millions years before our time here on earth began as well as which ones would be best suited for particular climates or soils types based off where their ancestors lived originally thousands years ago when people weren't around yet either; we need something else besides just knowing whether there’s gravel underneath our feet right now while walking outside tonight……

Pinots from different regions can show a surprising range of flavors and aromas. Which do you like?

While some Pinot Noirs are known for their fruitiness, others can be more complex, earthy and even floral.

The French region of Burgundy is known for producing lighter-bodied wines with a fruity aroma that makes them well suited to pairing with light foods like salads or poultry. Pinot Noir from New Zealand has a reputation for being more intense and earthy than the Burgundian version, but that doesn’t mean it only goes well with meat! Pinot Noirs from other regions—such as Oregon and California—also have distinct flavors and aromas that set them apart on the table and make them appropriate choices if you're serving up seafood instead of steak.


Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile and complex grapes in the world. It can be crisp and refreshing, or rich and fruit-forward. It can show notes of pepper, plum, or cherry—or even bacon! Pinot Noir is also known for its ability to pair well with a wide range of foods. So if you’re looking for something new in your glass, give one of these beautiful wines a try!

More articles