Tasting Tricks-grapes: Pinot Noir

First we learned about Cabernet Sauvignon. Now we will learn about Pinot Noir. These two grapes are very different from each other and very important for wine newbies like ourselves. We need to taste them both and remember their aromas. We need to learn the differences and make decisions as to what we like. I like both, because, depending on the occasion, they are versatile grapes that pair well with many dishes. Once we understand the differences and learn how to differentiate them, then we need to learn the region or country the wine comes from. With this basic knowledge we will not be new2wine for long! These are the first steps towards becoming real wine enthusiasts. For the complete list of top 10 monovarietal grapes, please write to new2winepr@gmail.com.

We have talked about how the soil where the grape vine is planted alters wine flavor, right? Well, a Pinot Noir from California has unique qualities that differ from a Pinot Noir from France. This grape is very delicate and needs cold weather to thrive. Its grape skin is thin so, once the wine is fermented, the tannins are not that strong and it is more acidc. This makes it great for food pairing.

TRIVIA: In Germany it is called Spatburgunder. Also, Pinot Noir is the red grape that most reflects its terroir.

REGIONS: The best regions where these grapes thrive are: Burgundy & Champagne (France), Russian River Valley AVA in Sonoma, Willamette Valley AVA in Oregon, Santa Maria Valley AVA and Santa Rita Hills AVA in Central Valley, CA (USA). Other important regions to look for: Marlborough (New Zealand), Tasmania & Yarra Valley  (Australia), Elgin (South Africa). The best and most expensive Pinot Noirs in the World come from Cote D’Or in Burgundy. Regions are always on the wine label so keep a close eye.

ORIGIN: The grape variety was created in Burgundy, France. This grape variety has a smaller leave and thinner skin than Cabernet Sauvignon.

AROMAS: In cool climates the aromas & palate perceived are STRAWBERRY +RED CHERRY + RASPBERRY. French Pinot Noir tends to be less fruity and have aromas of soil or wet leaves.

COLOR & CHARACTERISTICS: Pinot Noir wines are bright granate color, translucent, and have a guava rim. They are more acidic tan tannic.

FOOD PAIRING: Since this grape yields wines that are more acidic than tannic, they are the best for food pairings, very versatile. Pinot Noir goes very well with Salmon and other fatty fish. I really like Pinot Noir with spicy food, rice and beans, tacos, pork chops or baked chicken.

WINE RECOMMENDATIONS: Wine Spectator Top 100 wines 2016: #3 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge 2014 $60. In Puerto Rico, available at El Horreo de V Suarez: Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Westside Road Neighbors 2011 $98, Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir Two Creeks 2015 $40, Paul Hobbs $45. I recently bought at Bodegas Compostela, Six Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot from Lemelson Vineyards $30 (loved it!).

THE BEST: Anything from the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. They have 8 Grand Cru.

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