Pinot Noir Taste, Regions & More

How to succeed in wine-drinking without really trying

Pinot Noir is one of the wine world's most popular and recognizable grape varieties, creating an array of delicious, easy-to-drink wines from a slew of global viticultural regions. Get to know a bit more behind what's in your glass through our Pinot Noir explainer—and stock up on fun facts to pour out at the next dinner party you attend. 

What It Looks Like

Pinot Noir is a red grape variety and is part of the vitis vinifera species. On the vine, Pinot Noir grapes are relatively small and have dark black skins, characterized by their growth in tight clusters. Fun fact: Pinot Noir gets its name from the French words for 'pine' and 'black,' named for its dark-hued, pine cone-shaped bunches.

Background Info

Pinot Noir is cultivated all over the world, specifically in cooler climate regions. The grape's high acid and low level of tannins make for light to medium bodied wines, many of which hold up pretty well in the cellar. The grapes' high acid also makes for killer sparkling wine production. 

Why Pinot Noir Can Be So Expensive

Pinot Noir is one of the most finicky grapes out there. The fruit's thick skins and tight clusters make it extremely susceptible to rot and disease, causing headaches for winemakers all over the world. It's also extremely sensitive temperature.

Where It Grows

The answer is "all over," but its most notable regions include Champagne, California, Oregon, New Zealand and Burgundy, where the grape is originally from. It's also making waves across Germany and Austria (where it's called Spatburgunder), Italy, New York and other French regions across.  

What It Tastes Like

Because of the grape's 'terroir-reflective' nature, Pinot Noir's flavor profile can be all over the spectrum. Cooler climates generally lead to a garnet-hued wines, with higher acid and flavors of tart red fruit, earth, red flowers and mushrooms. Warmer climate wines are usually darke, and have flavors of black cherry and juicy red fruit. These bottles are easy to drink, versatile on the table and pairing well with an array of meats, grilled fish and mushroom-based recipes.