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DRAFT Turnbulls Wines for Cheese Guide: Californian Pinot Noir

The Wine

Your wine is a young and fruity Californian Pinot Noir. Its emphasis is on bright acidity and pronounced red fruit flavours such as strawberry and raspberry

BodyLight to medium body, with moderate acidity but low tannins
Grape flavoursRed Berries: ripe strawberries, cherries, and raspberry sauce.
Floral: violets or rose petals  
Winemaker added flavoursEarthiness: forest floor, damp leaves, or hints of mushrooms
Aged flavoursVanilla, allspice

More about Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir remains one of the most cherished and celebrated grape varieties, known for its finesse, delicacy, and ability to reflect the nuances of its terroir. Its rich history and diverse expressions make it a favourite among wine enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

Pinot Noir can be traced back to the Burgundy region of France, cultivated by the Romans around the 1st century AD. The name “Pinot” is derived from the French word for pinecone, reflecting the grape’s small, tightly clustered berries.

Monks in Burgundian developed the grape, selectively cultivating it within the local “terroir” – the idea that the specific location and soil conditions greatly influence the wine’s character. Pinot Noir spread beyond Burgundy, planted in Champagne, Alsace, and the Loire Valley among others. Each region gave rise to different styles of Pinot Noir wines.

Pinot Noir vines came to California and Oregon in the 19th century, but quality wasn’t recognised until the latter half of the 20th century. Pinot Noir gained worldwide fame and popularity largely due to the 2004 movie “Sideways,” which led to increased planting of Pinot Noir vines in California.

Local influence – Pinot Noir can produce a wide range of wine styles, expressing different terroirs and climates. In Burgundy, for example, Pinot Noir wines can vary significantly depending on the specific village or vineyard where they are grown.

Today, Pinot Noir is grown in various wine regions around the world, including the United States (especially California and Oregon), New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and even some parts of Canada. Each region brings its unique character to the wine, showcasing the grape’s adaptability.

More detailed tasting notes

Tasting notes for Pinot Noir encompass a wider range of flavours and characteristics than the wine you are tasting today, due to its versatility and sensitivity to terroir and winemaking techniques. Here’s a breakdown of its full potential:

Body:

  • Light to medium body: Pinot Noir is typically light to medium in body, offering an elegant and silky mouthfeel. It lacks the heaviness of many other red wine varieties.

Grape Flavors:

  • Red berries: Expect bright red fruit flavours, such as ripe strawberries, red and black cherries, and raspberries.
  • Cranberry: Some Pinot Noirs feature a distinct cranberry note, which adds tartness and complexity.
  • Plum: In riper expressions of Pinot Noir, you might find hints of plum or even black cherry.
  • Dried herbs

Sometime you can pick up more obscure notes of red liquorice, violets or hibiscus. Pinot Noir has a broad potential in primary flavours.

Flavour Potential from Yeast, Malolactic Conversion, or Oak:

  • Yeast: Some Pinot Noirs undergo aging on the lees, which can add complexity and creaminess to the wine. This process gives subtle biscuity or yeasty notes, enhancing the wine’s texture and mouthfeel.
  • Malolactic Conversion: This process softens the wine’s acidity and can bring buttery or creamy characteristics, contributing to a smoother texture.
  • Oak: Pinot Noir can be aged in oak barrels, imparting flavours like vanilla, baking spices, and sometimes a subtle smokiness. The level of oak influence varies, with some wines showing more pronounced oak characteristics than others. It can develop earthy notes, often described as forest floor, mushrooms, or truffle, adding depth and complexity.

Flavours Arising from Aging:

  • Earthiness: As Pinot Noir ages, it can develop earthy notes, often described as forest floor, mushrooms, or truffle, adding depth and complexity.
  • Tobacco: Some older Pinot Noirs may exhibit tobacco or leather notes, contributing to a mature and refined profile.
  • Dried Herbs: Aging can also bring out herbal undertones, such as thyme or dried leaves, further enhancing the wine’s complexity.
  • Spices: clove, cinnamon, vanilla

It’s important to note that the specific tasting notes of a Pinot Noir can vary widely based on factors like the region it’s from, the winemaker’s style, and the wine’s age. Pinot Noir’s charm lies in its ability to express its terroir and adapt to different winemaking approaches, making it a delightfully diverse wine to explore and savour.

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