Ahhh…Pinot Noir. One of my favorite red wines. Well, when I can find a good one. Some people think that many of the greatest Pinot Noirs come from France’s Burgundy region. However, some of the best ones I have tried come from Oregon, such as Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir and Luminous Pinot Noir Lux.
Pinot Noir grapes create flavors that range from sweet blackberries to ripe red berries. Like a lot of red wines, they are categorized in two styles–Old World and New World. These are represented by style, not by the region they come from. Old World styles of Pinot Noir are more light-bodied and complex than New World styles and are lighter in color, almost looking watered down. Old World styles may be described as somewhat earthy and have subtle fruit flavors with sandalwood and cinnamon aromas. New World styles are more full bodied with more intense fruit flavors and tend to have more sweet scents.
A good way to compare the two different styles is to buy wines from different regions and have a taste test. Figure out which one you prefer, Old World or New World. You may even fancy both. Other places besides Oregon that produce good Pinot Noirs include New Zealand, California (especially the Sonoma region) and Chile. So try some of those Pinot Noirs and see what your palate prefers.
Pinot Noirs are very versatile wines. They are great when drinking alone and complement different flavors in many kinds of foods. It’s a good choice when dining out, especially when the diners order different things. Pinot Noirs are light-bodied enough to accommodate fish as well as different meats, as long as the sauce isn’t too overpowering. Try a light-bodied Pinot Noir with Ahi tuna salad, pork tenderloin or pasta. More robust Pinot Noirs pair well with duck, quail and beef bourguignon.
Here are a few Pinot Noirs I recommend:
• Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin (France)
• Felton Road (New Zealand)
• Domaine Drouhin Laurène (Oregon)
• Archery Summit Premier Cuvée (Oregon)
• Decoy Anderson Valley (California)
• Luminous Pinot Noir Lux (Oregon)
• La Crema Sonoma Coast (California)