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About the Pinot Noir Wine in Europe

Pinot Noir wine has been made since the Roman Empire. Over the centuries, the grape has mutated into many other varietals. These include Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir is currently grown throughout the world.

Burgundy

Pinot Noir is the noble red grape of France’s Burgundy region. Burgundy winemakers are largely concerned with translating the local terroir of their vineyard. Whereas climate is crucial in California, dirt reigns supreme in Burgundy.

The average temperature is lower here than in Bordeaux. Frosts can be a hazard during the early Spring. Until recently, this was the only region in the world to successfully make wine out of the finicky varietal.

The grape was saved during the Dark Ages when the Catholic Church began to grow Pinot for use in ecclesiastical wine. In the 14th Century, Phillipe the Bold Duke of Burgundy, promoted the grape over Gamay. The Cote d’Or was already prized above other areas at this time.

During the French Revolution, much of the Church’s vineyard land was seized and distributed to the families in Burgundy. Vineyard ownership in the region has been extremely fragmented since this time. Pinot Noir is subsequently produced in an amazingly large number of styles in Burgundy.

About the Pinot Noir Wine in Europe

Pinot Noir is lighter in Aexerrais in the north and fruitier in Cote Chalonnaise to the south. The Cote d’Or in Burgundy is the heart of Pinot Noir country. Many farm their vineyards using biodynamic principles. The guyot trellise system is normally used in Burgundy.

Champagne

Pinot Noir is 1 of the 3 grapes used for sparkling wines in the Champagne region. It is harvested by hand and used to make Blanc de Noirs. Plantings are concentrated in the hilly, chalky soils of Montagne de Reims.

Champagne has a marginal climate and frost during early Spring can ravage Pinot Noir. For this reason, cold resistant clones have been developed.

Only a few still red wines are made with Pinot Noir in the warmest parts of Champagne. The grape does not ripen enough in Champagne to produce still red wines with substantial body.

Other European Regions

Pinot Noir is grown in the Rheingau, Pfalz and Baden regions of Germany where it is known as Spatburgunder. However, it rarely trumps Riesling here. It is known as Pinot Nero in Northern Italy and Blauer Burgunder in Austria. The grape is also grown in small amounts in the Loire.