Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Mysterious Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir has come a long way from a relatively unknown varietal to its current popularity. Perhaps one of the reasons to its added reputation is brought by the movie “Sideways” where it depicts a couple’s search about meaning in life through a wine tasting journey in a haze of Pinot Noir.

So, what exactly is so attractive about this grape? Pinot Noir is best celebrated in the gold slope of Burgundy with a perfumed aroma and a slightly sweet palate. It is relatively less bodied compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, making it more subtle and feminine. A young Pinot Noir is characterized by its smell of cherries. It reminds me of a young and cheerful lady dancing happily in the wind. Pinot Noir grows best in a climate where the fruit can enjoy a long growing season. The optimum condition is a short ripening cycle followed by a long fruit set to veraison. This enables the phenolic components to develop in the fruit, contributing maximum flavors to the wine. Renowned Pinot Noir regions are Burgundy (France), Carneros and Russian River (California), Tasmania, New Zealand. Other than the Burgundy, wines from these regions have a pronounced fruitiness that adds life to the texture.

Pinot Noir is one of the oldest varieties in the world of wine grapes. Ancient Romans called this grape Helvenacia Minor. It is grown all over the world, from Algeria to Austria, France, Germany, Italy, America, New Zealand, Tasmania. Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow, having being susceptible to most vine diseases. Growers take pride to nurture successful pinot noir vintage. It is the ultimate appellation that differentiates itself from the rest. This grape is sometimes grown for sparkling wine. In Champagne, it is blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to produce the much sought-after Champagne. In South Africa, the Pinot Noir is crossed with Cinsaut to form a red grape called Pinotage. It has become the varietal representative of South Africa.

Pinot Noir is best matched with food marinated lightly with pepper and salt, or those that is soya sauce based. In Asian cuisine, the roast chicken that comes with a small saucer plate of pepper & salt is the perfect dish for a nice, cheery Pinot.

Cher Lim
Wine Treasures Pte Ltd

Email: limce@singnet.com.sg



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