Did you know that pinot noir is one of the most expensive red wines because it isn’t the easiest grape to grow? Pinot noir is a red-wine grape variety, and the name also refers to wines created solely from pinot noir grapes.
Pinot noir is called the heartbreak grape because it’s picky about its soil (it likes to grow on limestone soil which adds to the minerality of the wine and complexity of its flavor), it doesn’t like heat, and it’s susceptible to bad weather like hail and frost.
Pinot noir needs cool climates to get its delicate flavors and the light, translucent drink you see in the glass. It has thin skin, so no to super wet climates either; too wet, and the grapes will start to erode.
The darker your Pinot noir, the warmer of a climate it’s from, pinot noir mostly comes from Burgundy in France, but it’s grown in other countries like the US, Italy, Moldova, and Germany.
So how do you drink pinot noir?
Pick the right pinot noir glass to get the most out of your wine, ensure your pinot noir is the right temperature and pair it with the right meals.
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about pinot noir and how to drink it.
Flavor Profile of Pinot Noir
Typical pinot noir is packed with red fruits. Think of strawberry, red cherry, cranberry, and raspberry. It also has earthy aromatics like dried leaves, mushrooms, potting soil, and tobacco. But don’t worry, these can’t do any damage; they simply add complexity to the wine.
If the pinot noir is aged in oak, which is pretty common, it’ll have woody notes like cedar and clove. Pinot noir is a dry, light wine that’s more acidic than most red wines. Its lightness makes it easy to drink.
How To Drink Pinot Noir
Here are some tips that can help you drink pinot noir like a pro.
1. Choose the Best Bottle
All bottles of pinot noirs are different depending on the region they’re brewed from. Some look darker, while some are translucent. The translucent ones are the ones you mostly find.
If you’ve never bought pinot noir, your best bet is to buy from an established wine region. The best pinots come from areas with cooler climates. These include Burgundy in France, North California in the US, and Piedmont in Italy.
You can also choose your pinot noir according to the occasion. A light pinot is perfect for an aperitif, while a rich and fruity pinot will complement a meal.
You should note that on the nose, aged pinots are medium to highly expressive, while recently bottled pinots are less expressive. So you may want to factor in the age when choosing a bottle of pinot noir.
2. Choose the Best Glass
The best glass for drinking pinot noir is the Burgundy glass. It’s round, almost balloon shaped. The Burgundy glass is wider in the middle and narrower at the top, it gives the varietal room to explode, and the wine is directed to the tip of the tongue so the drinker can taste all the wine’s ingredients.
You can use any bell-shaped glass, but the Burgundy glass is specifically for pinot noir. It also makes it easy to swirl the wine and open up its flavors.
3. Swirl and Sniff
If you’re an avid wine or whiskey drinker, you know it’s an unspoken rule to swirl and sniff before drinking. Hold your glass by the stem, then slowly move it in circles for a few seconds.
Swirling your wine opens up its flavors by letting oxygen in. Especially if the wine had been bottled for a long time.
After swirling, bring it towards your nose and sniff. Try to pick out a few aromas when sniffing. You won’t get them all on your first try, but you’ll learn to identify aromas and savor your drink.
When you sniff pinot noir, you’ll probably smell the dominant ingredients like cherry and plum, but as we talked about in the flavor profile section, there’s so much more to pinot noir than what meets the nose.
4. Sip Your Pinot Noir
You don’t take wine like pinot noir to get drunk, so quantity doesn’t matter. Instead of taking your wine in large gulps, relax. Try tasting the flavors you smell and pay attention to the flavor change with each successive sip.
Savor your wine and take each sip like it’s the last you’ll ever take.
How To Store Pinot Noir
For your pinot noir to taste its best when you serve it, you need to store it well. Below are some tips.
- Keep the wine at a steady temperature, not too hot or too cold. If you want a range, try between 13 °C – 55 °C. If you store your pinot noir in a place where the temperature is drastically changing, it can affect the flavor profile of the wine by damaging the compounds.
- Don’t keep your pinot noir in the freezer for long periods; it’ll get diluted, and you’ll miss out on the taste of some ingredients.
- You can leave it for 2 hours in the refrigerator, 5 minutes on ice, or 15 minutes in the freezer before serving. You’ll get the best temperature for your red wine.
How To Pair Pinot Noir With Food
Pinot noir pairs well with seafood because the fruitiness and freshness of the wine complement the fishiness of the food. Generally, seafood pairs well with red wines and not so well with white wines.
Some of the most common foods people drink wine with are chicken, meat, and pork, and there’s a reason why. The tannins in red wine and the protein in chicken combine to make a tasty combo.
Other foods that pair well with pinot noir include pasta, pizza, beef, vegetables, chocolate, cheese, fresh fruit, and stew.
There are no rules when it comes to drinking pinot noir; it ultimately comes down to your personal preference. However, to enjoy your wine, don’t drink to get drunk. Pair pinot noir with the wrong foods, or add ice.