I had to do a double take this week when I realized that we’re nearly half way through the year and this is the first Pinot Noir in New Wine This Week. Seems a bit funny I guess given that it’s without doubt one of the most iconic grapes going, what’s called a true “international” variety.
International varieties are what they sound like. They’re grapes that are grown in many countries across the world. Think about a grape like Chardonnay, maybe Merlot, things like that. Well Pinot Noir is right up there. It’s one of the superstars of the grape world.
It’s a cool climate grape, meaning it grows well in the cooler wine growing areas of the world. It needs a long growing season to ripen, but not necessarily the heat. In fact too much heat ruins the flavours in the grape, making them a bit too jammy and just a bit funny in the mouth.
Its famous home is in the Burgundy region along the eastern side of France, making arguably some of the finest red wines in the world, but that’s not all. It’s one of the 3 main ingredients in Champagne. It grows well in countries from the UK, all the way to southern Chile and Argentina. It’s famously grown in Santa Barbera County in the US, where they made the film Sideways.
Despite all this, it’s been in New Zealand that winemakers have produced a really iconic wine. It’s become a benchmark for a wine that’s grown all across the world. Pinot Noirs are usually either talked about being in the Burgundy style or in the Kiwi style. It’s that successful!
Hopefully, this week, we’re going to find out why!
Other posts in NWTW Week 23:
Sam Neill, of Jurassic Park fame, produces some of the finest Pinots in New Zealand at his Two Paddocks winery