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PINOT NERO (Pinot Noir)

Pinot Nero, in french called Pinot noir (French pronunciation: [pinoˈnwaʁ]) is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the varietals' tightly clustered dark purple pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.

History

Pinot noir is an ancient variety that may be only one or two generations removed from wild vines. The origins of the variety are unclear: In "De Re Rustica", Columella describes a grape variety similar to Pinot noir in Burgundy during the 1st century AD, however, vines have grown wild as far north as Belgium in the days before phylloxera, and it is possible that Pinot represents an independent domestication of Vitis vinifera. The vines of southern France may represent Caucasian stock transported by the ancient Greeks.

Ferdinand Regner has proposed that Pinot Noir is a cross between Pinot Meunier (Schwarzriesling) and Traminer, but this work has not been replicated. In fact Pinot Meunier appears to be a Pinot Noir with a mutation in the epidermal cells which makes the shoot tips hairy and the vine a little smaller. This means that Pinot Meunier is a chimera with two tissue layers of different genetic makeup, one of which is identical to Pinot Noir. As such, Pinot Meunier cannot be the parent of Pinot Noir.

Pinot Gris is a bud sport of Pinot noir, presumably representing a somatic mutation in either the genes that control grape colour. Pinot Blanc may represent a further mutation of Pinot Gris. The DNA profiles of both Pinot Gris and Blanc are identical to Pinot Noir; the other two major Pinots, Pinot Moure and Pinot Teinturier, are also genetically very similar.

The Wrotham (pronounced "ruttum") Pinot is an English variety with white hairs on the upper surface of the leaves, and is particularly resistant to disease. Edward Hyams of Oxted Viticultural Research Station was alerted to a strange vine growing against a cottage wall in Wrotham in Kent, which local lore said was descended from vines brought over by the Romans. An experimental Blanc de Noir was made at Oxted, and in 1980 Richard Peterson took cuttings to California, where he now makes a pink sparkling Wrotham Pinot. Wrotham Pinot is sometimes regarded as a synonym of Pinot Meunier, but it has a higher natural sugar content and ripens two weeks earlier.

Pinot Noir appears to be particularly prone to mutation (suggesting it has active transposable elements), and has a long history in cultivation, so there are hundreds of different clones such as Pinot Fin and Pinot Tordu. More than 50 are officially recognized in France compared to only 25 of the much more widely planted Cabernet Sauvignon. The French Etablissement National Technique pour l’Amelioration de la Viticulture (ENTAV) has set up a programme to select the best clones of Pinot. This program has succeeded admirably in increasing the number of quality clones available to growers. Nonetheless, in the new world, particularly in Oregon, wines of extraordinary quality continue to be made from the earlier Pommard and Wadensvil clones.

Gamay Beaujolais is an early-ripening clone of Pinot Noir. It is used mostly in California but is also seen in New Zealand. It was brought to California by Paul Masson. Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir Précoce) is an early-ripening grape that is thought to be a clone of Pinot Noir - it's possible that the two are the same mutant.

In August 2007, French researchers announced the sequencing of the genome of Pinot noir. It is the first fruit crop to be sequenced, and only the fourth flowering plant.

Italian Wine Regions

In Italy, where Pinot Noir is known as Pinot Nero, it has traditionally been cultivated in the Alto Adige, Collio Goriziano, Oltrepò Pavese and Trentino regions to produce Burgundy-style red wines. Cultivation of Pinot noir in other regions of Italy, mostly since the 1980s, has been challenging due to climate and soil conditions.

Viticulture and winemaking

This is one of the finest red grapes and difficult in the world. Its natural habitat is the Bourgogne, where it gives still wines unsurpassed for charm and elegance. It 'a plant that demands a lot, is the winemaker to winemaker who does not give regular results, it needs relatively cold climates, with good temperature range day / night, and when the conditions and quality of the land allow it (preferring calcareous), is able to offer wines of rare beauty. For this reason it has been implanted in almost all wine regions of the world, except those with warm climates produce wines that "cooked", lacking the features that have made ​​so famous Pinot Noir. The origins of this vine back, probably, almost two thousand years ago, his presence is mentioned in Burgundy as early as the fourth century AD (although at that time was called Morillon Noir). In France they were officially recognized for 46 clones, Champagne also has an important role in the clonal selection of Pinot Noir. On a much smaller scale also the region of Trento where TrentoDOC wines are produced and the Franciacorta as well. On average, tend to germinate early, it raises the risk of spring frost and sag, also suffers from the attacks of downy mildew, rot (some clones have a thin skin), the viruses that produce leaf rolling and curling, it is his own weakness that led in the seventies, to a widespread clonal selection.

 

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