It’s PINOT NOIR month over at Specialist Cellars – a whole 31 days of celebrating all our New World Pinot Noir.
That’s right – while official Pinot Noir Day is on the 18th, we love this grape SO much that we’re dedicating a whoooole month to it. After all, it is New Zealand’s flagship red grape – so how could we not be obsessed with it?
But, of course, it’s not just New Zealand making great examples of this fantastic red. So, we thought we’d do a real deep dive into Pinot Noir, and show you exactly what we’ll be celebrating, all month long…
New World Pinot Noir: the breakdown
It’s one of the world’s most popular reds, and for good reason. Light to medium-bodied, elegant, with high acidity, silky textures and spiced cherry-raspberry-earth flavours – its difference makes it really stand out!
Of course, nothing good ever comes without a price. Pinot Noir is DIFFICULT. This high-maintenance grape is a grower’s nightmare: fickle, low-yielding, highly likely to suffer from rot or sunburn, and super-sensitive. But, when all that is overcome – the wines are so, so worth it.
New Zealand PN
New Zealand is – in our opinion anyway! – the New World home of Pinot Noir. The country’s cooler climate, longer sunshine hours and warm days provide the perfect growing combination for this famously tricky grape. A little easier-drinking than Old World styles, Pinots here are fruity yet serious: heaps of savoury flavours, umami notes, unusual spice undertones, and real concentration. Central Otago, Marlborough and Martinborough are all rocking the global stage – safe to say, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Pinot Noir might have been in Australia since the 1800s, but it’s taken a while for it to kick off here. In fact, much of the time, you’re as likely to find it in a sparkling blend as you are in a still single varietal. Much of Australia is too hot for this finicky grape – but coastal or mountainous areas, like Adelaide Hills, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Tasmania are producing great examples. Aussie Pinot tends to be quite perfumed, light in colour, and rich in red fruit flavours.
South African Pinot Noir
We’re fast approaching the centenary of the first Pinot Noir planting in South Africa! As with Australia, a lot of South Africa is so warm that the grape really struggles to grow – but in cooler, high-altitude or coastal regions like Stellenbosch or Hemel-en-Aarde, we’re beginning to see some real treats. Elegant, smooth and red-fruit-forward, a lot of these will age well, developing those earthy notes that we love so much.
Californian Pinot Noir
California = hot and sunny, and a producer of punchy wines. Right? Well, not so when it comes to their Pinot Noirs. In fact, many of California’s more mountainous vineyards are cooled by huge amounts of fog that come in from surrounding bays. These are where Pinot Noir is grown; the cooling fogs allow Pinot to grow and develop a softer character, still underlaid by sweet, ripe, juicy fruit. Expect velvety, silky Pinots, rich in creamy strawberry flavours.