Updated: Sep 30, 2021
This week's featured wine was an obvious choice since it's National Pinot Noir Day! There's actually an International Pinot Noir celebration held in Oregon each year, though they had to postpone this one due to COVID-19. Definitely something I'd like to check out next summer.
The name "pinot noir" is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black", which refer to the coloration of the skin of the grape and the pinecone shaped clusters in which they grow. Actually, it's their tightly packed nature that is partially responsible for its difficulty in cultivating and transforming into wine.
Does anyone else feel a little bad for Pinot Noir? Like, if it were in a clique at school it would be in the group that the bullies pick on. It tries so hard to fit in with the other grapes, but it is notoriously finicky, temperamental, and a bit unpredictable (we all remember Miles' epic monologue about this from Sideways, am I right?!)
And still, despite all its adversity, the grapes that become wine are still picked on (no pun intended.) People are always grumbling about how it isn't robust enough compared to a Cab or Syrah. Well, I'm here to tell you, we all need to show a little love to this grape and should all be celebrating it together on National Pinot Noir Day. In fact, it's the 10th most planted grape varietal in the world and has gained a massive following of wine enthusiasts.
So what you may ask, is so great about it?
1. Pinot Noir is like the ancestor of all grapes and sits among the oldest grapes in the world, with roots dating back to the ancient Roman times. Who doesn't like celebrating something with historical value?!
2. It shares the EXACT same DNA structure as Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, the only difference is a mutation in color! Therefore, if you like Pinot Grigio...you're probably going to enjoy a frolic with this finicky fruit.
3. While Pinot Noir has the reputation for being light bodied and low in tannins, it is one of the few grapes that can be processed using the "Whole Cluster Fermentation" method. Basically, the entire pinecone cluster, including the stems, is crushed and fermented. The result? A tantilyzing tannic adventure.
And just for fun, I'll throw in a bonus reason: the move Sideways actually increased the popularity of Pinot Noir. Following the film's release, the sales increased by 16% in the US. It's estimated that the movie caused a loss of $400m for Merlot farmers in the decade following. Who knew Miles' wine advice would be taken so seriously?!
So there you have it; Pinot Noir is worth celebrating, so grab a bottle, fill up your glass, and enjoy the fruits of the labor that went into creating this highly quaffable creature.
If you want to watch my tasting notes for the specific Pinot I tried, check out my IG stories tomorrow for Wine Wednesday @thecandidcork or watch the WOTW highlight reel. Cheers, Candid Corkers!