Sexy Sells: The Seductive Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir                                                                                                               

The Mystery. The Elegance. The Sensuousness.

The flavors are deep and riveting, and more than any other varietal, Pinot Noir is described in sensual terms. Erotic, supple, silky – these are the aromas and flavors that the wine exudes.

Dating back to the 13th century, Pinot Noir has been the staple grape in many of the world’s greatest wines. It is also a very temperamental grape in that it has extreme mood swings from year to year. As Miles, from the novel Sideways by Rex Pickett and the film starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church, describes it: “It’s a hard grape to grow. Thin skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. It can grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who takes time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.”

A common misconception is that because Pinot’s color is on the lighter side and the tannin structure is significantly less than Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Merlot or Syrah, is that it’s flavors will be flat and feeble, when in fact it’s just the opposite. Complex and sumptuous, but graceful, are what you will encounter instead. Imagine Alice on her way down to Wonderland, but rather than falling down a rabbit hole, she takes a luxurious Art Deco elevator, illuminated by gas lamps, and has a tuxedo-clad attendant to escort her to her destination. But this Wonderland isn’t a strange and bizarre place, rather a land of hedonism and sensuality.

Don’t believe me?                                                                                               

Here’s what Robert Parker has to say, “When it’s great, Pinot Noir produces he most complex, hedonistic and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world…”            

Still not convinced?                                                                                               

How about the words of Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon on Pinot Noir? “The most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic. Choke full of incredible texture and hedonistic pleasures. It’s sex in a glass, so seductive, it’s hard to say no…”

I can go on…

“Pinot Noir’s are sensuous, often erotic, above rational discourse, and beyond measured criticism” -Oz Clarke, Wine Writer

“…raw, succulent and fleshy textural sensuality…inherent elegance and grandeur…” -Richard Paul Hinckle, Wine Writer                                           

“Pinot Noir. It’s silky, sleek, sexy – the same feeling you get when slipping into a satin nightgown.” -Leslie Sbrocco, Wine Expert

Even Jancis Robinson, world renowned British wine critic calls it a “Minx of a vine.”

I’m sure by now you get my point!

Originating in Burgundy, France, the most famous Pinot Noir region in the world, with earthy and floral notes Pinot Noir also is prominent not only in the Loire Valley of France but is one of the three varietals only allowed in the making of Champagne. If you’re ever drinking Champagne and the bottle says Blanc de Noir (literally White of Black, meaning a white wine made from black grapes) that Champagne is 100% Pinot Noir.

We have Pinot Noir right here in the US as well, the majority coming from California. Stylistically, California Pinot tends to be more rich, fruity and lush, given the warmer climate of the state. But despite the heat, the temperamental grape works thanks to the cooling breezes and morning fog that come off the Pacific Ocean. A bit more north of California, however, in Willamette Valley, Oregon, Pinot Noir also thrives. There, the profile has more in common with it’s French counterpart. Earthy and floral; think mushroom and potting soil. The floral elements are delicate rose petals and Hibiscus, backed with fresh red fruits of cherry and raspberry, cranberry and strawberry. What’s cool about Oregon too is that it acts as a midpoint, a bridge between the more subdued and classical style of Pinot Noir from France and the more lush expressions from California. Oregon can be the best of answer to both worlds, or at the very least a nice segue between the two.

As you’ve noticed, we love our Pinot Noir around here at the Wine Shop. So come on out this Wednesday, the 18th and help us celebrate National Pinot Noir Day! We’ll be pouring some cool stuff from Burgundy, Oregon and California between 5 and 7, so you’ll have the opportunity to see what we mean. See you there!

Salud,

The Wine Shop Team

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