How to Impress People with Your Pinot Noir Knowledge

How to Impress People With Your Pinot Noir Knowledge - TC Wine BlogThere’s something pretty sexy about a glass of Pinot Noir. It’s the seductress of the wine world that has punters weak at the knees. Many claim they’re lovers of Pinot, but do they really know much about the lustful grape? Today I have decided to put together 7 hot tips to show off your Pinot aficionado status when you’re next out to impress.

“The most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic”
– Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon

1. Know Pinot’s reputation

We all know Pinot has a sexy and sophisticated reputation. If I was heading out on a first date, knowing the guy knew about wine – then I’d order a Pinot. It’s just like when I went for my first coffee with Mr. Spittoon many moons ago and my friends suggested I order a ‘white chocolate mocha’ – apparently these ooze the fact I’m a sexy coffee lover!

So being a lover of Pinot and having the knowledge to order one must mean you should know about Pinots celeb status in the wine world. Here’s the quick breakdown.

  • It’s the primary red grape in the very fancy region of Burgundy in France
  • Along these lines, it’s the grape in the red DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) which is perhaps one of the world’s greatest producers and you guessed it – the world’s most expensive too. When I worked at Le Clos in Dubai airport about 6 years ago we had a bottle of the 2005 I think it was selling for US$28,000! Not your everyday #tcweekdaywine
  • It’s one of the 3 primary grapes in champagne (the other 2 being Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier). According to the Wine Folly book Pinot ‘adds orange and red fruit flavours’ to champagne. Don’t forget “champagne” is only made in the Champagne region of France – please don’t call Passion Pop or Jacobs Creek champagne!

“When it’s great, Pinot Noir produces the most complex, hedonistic and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world…”
– Robert Parker

2. Know Pinot’s disguises

You may not come across these other names for Pinot often but it’s always good to know they exist and hey if you do come across a bottle with one of the below on, then you can show off your sweet skills by telling everyone that intact it’s a Pinot Noir.

  • Blauburgunder
  • Spätburgunder
  • Rulandské modré

3. Know how to translate those sultry French words

Everyone loves to know what something translated from a foreign language is. How impressive will you look if you tell people that Pinot Noir is French and what it translates to and means in English? Super impressive is the answer!

‘Pinot Noir’ is French and literally, means ‘pine black’. The black refers to the berry skin and pine refers to the tightly clustered berries on the vines that resemble pine cones. Cue the surprised faces at your high level of knowledge on that wee glass of Pinot in front of everyone!

“it’s sex in a glass, so seductive, it’s hard to say no…”
– Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon

4. Know how to pronounce it with flair

Being someone who is literally terrible at languages I truly do feel the pain of those who struggle with foreign words. It’s highly embarrassing but sometimes you can’t help what comes out naturally.

In English, we’d typical say Pinot Noir as ‘pin-not naw’ yet the much more lovely sounding French version will not only make you sound like a pro but let me tell you, if you’re whispering ‘pee-no nwar’ into someone’s ear then you’re definitely on the way to getting lucky. If you know what I mean 😉

Remember drop the ‘T’.

5. Be aware of the dominant flavours

As you know I always promote listening to your palate and making your own assumptions of a wine. Wine is so subjective and no opinion is wrong. At the end of the day, a wine producer shouldn’t care if you love their wine because you think it tastes like under ripe fruit or salty broth.

However, if you’re wanting to show off you can arm yourself with knowing some of the typical flavours in Pinots from around the world. You can find everything from herbal & floral flavours to red fruit, black fruit, dried fruit, earthy flavours and oaked characteristics (think vanilla, allspice and brown sugar). Out of all the flavours there’s 6 which really dominate across a lot of Pinots, these are:

  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Plums
  • Cloves
  • Mushrooms

6. Show your global knowledge of the varietal

As we know, France is a huge hub for Pinot Noir but you’ll also already know that it’s grown in Australia, New Zealand and abroad. France and the USA grow the most Pinot followed by Germany, Moldova, Italy, NZ, OZ and Switzerland. Plus some other regions around the world with small amounts.

Typically in Californian (USA), Central Otago (NZ), South Australia, Chile and Argentina you’ll find those raspberry and clove flavours accentuated.

While the cranberry and mushroom characteristics are more likely to be found in Pinot’s from France, Germany, Italy and Oregon in the USA.

“It’s a hard grape to grow… thin skinned, temperamental, ripens early… it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention… it can grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who takes time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.”
– Miles from Sideways

7. Be able to match Pinot with food

While I was writing this post, World Chocolate Day occurred. I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across this post about matching wine and chocolate bars. The headline image is a glass of Pinot and a Snickers bar. Naturally, I thought it would be rude not to try out the combo seeing as I was writing this post and I was pleasantly surprised. Apparently, nuts and Pinot are a match made in heaven which is why the nuts in a Snickers bar work so well with the tasty elixir that is Pinot. Experts say that the saltiness of the nuts brings out the rich flavours from the Pinot.

Plus don’t forget the uber luxurious black and white truffles around the world go fabulously with Pinot. I’d highly National French Fry Day & Wines to Matchr recommend you try truffle fries and Pinot stat!

If you’re looking for savoury Pinot food matches I would suggest having a read though this article on Pinot food pairings. And FYI, I personally tried matched Snickers chocolate bars with Pinot and here’s what I thought.

So there you have it, perhaps a few new tips and tricks you now know about the wonderful grape that is Pinot Noir. If you have any hot tips of your own, make sure to leave a comment below 🙂


Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...

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