Pinot noir has become a serious contender in the world of fine wine. There was a time when the name pinot noir was an obscurity amongst the average wine drinker. Those in the know understood that red burgundy was made from pinot and vintner-pioneers in Oregon and California had already started experimentation and the search for the perfect terroir to grow the varietal. However, to the consumer, pinot noir was an unknown. Then, around 2005, its popularity skyrocketed.
Many will say that the movie Sideways did much more good for pinot than it did badly for merlot, and I’m willing to accept that. I recall a merchant confessing to me that the number one red wine that people were requesting at the time was pinot, but they didn’t want to pay for it. The problem with pinot noir is that it’s a finicky grape that’s sensitive to wind, frost, soil types, and pruning techniques. It likes cool climates and yields must be low to produce serious wines. When you put this all together, you have a costly wine to produce.
However, there are a lot of reasons to love pinot noir and to justify the cost of a good bottle. I’ve had many friends express that if they could start their cellars over from scratch, they would buy nothing but burgundy. Pinot can be ripe, suave, and sexy, or it can be earthy, wild, and lean. From Burgundy, it can create wines that last decades, and in New Zealand, it can make rich, plummy examples that are hard to resist upon release. It’s a grape that is sensitive to terroir, much more than most, and can express the region it’s grown in better than any I know. With pinot, there’s something for everyone, which is why we must talk about food.
You see, pinot noir is not your average red grape, and if you think that a medium-rare Porterhouse steak is the way to go, think again. Each region gives us a unique expression and a new challenge. So, let’s take a look at pairing pinot noir.
— Eric Guido, Snooth