Pinot Noir possess an unforgettable personality and flare that makes her absolutely irresistible. She’s like a woman in charge with her grace, strength, and versatility. She satisfies the taste buds having substance and virtuosity with a controlled and soulful finish.
What I love best is her poetically understated flavors that keep you coming back for more. She really knows how to grab your attention in the most sophisticated way. That’s what makes her so sexy. She’s regal in poise and is confident in who she is.
One of the things I find most intriguing about this powerhouse varietal, is the fragility at the core of her being. Unlike vigorous varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir needs cool weather and EXTRA TLC to evolve into the seductive beauty that we’ve all come to love. If she doesn’t get her way or get the attention she demands, she becomes extremely finicky and moody — making her one of the most challenging varietals to grow.
Yet despite her temperamental mood swings, she’s a team player too. As the most food versatile of all varietals, Pinot doesn’t discriminate and can hold her own with pretty much any meal. Her acidity and tannins combined with suppleness of fruit is what makes her versatile. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for her.
My Favorite Picks
Historically, Burgundy, France or “Bourgogne” has been the home of high quality Pinot Noirs. One of my favorites for the price is the 2013 Gerard Seguin “La Place” vineyard from the town of Fixin which is adjacent to the world famous Gevry-Chambertin. She gives off the aroma of coffee beans, sizzling bacon, mushroom and thyme. Her palate has lovely acidity, yummy sour cherry fruit, and a toasty finish. The savory / herbally character of the Gerard Seguin pairs perfectly with the richness of Coq au Vin. She is sophisticated, slightly uptight, and dry with an English sense of humor. Not until you pair her with food does she really open up. I call this one Lady Diana.
Another one of my favorites similar to the Bourgogne style is the 2013 Ayres Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley in Oregon. She’s my Kate Winslet. Her complex earth tones of evergreen, herbs and forest floor balance out the generous cherry fruit and rich tannins. Like that of Bourgogne, she’s grown in a region that happens to be located near the 45th parallel. This makes for having a similar terrior (climate and soil type), of her French cousin. It’s the cool, wet weather that forces the vines to struggle in ripening their grapes creating a delectable tension you can taste from start to finish. What makes her different is that she tends to have more pronounced fruit to go with the amazing balance, because of the slightly warmer temperatures she gets in Oregon. You’ll love this wine, especially at $26, with grilled salmon with mushrooms and a Pinot Noir sauce.
Last but not least, my #1 choice comes from Green Valley in Russian River Valley — Paul Mathew’s 2013 Bohemian Vineyard. She is an absolute bombshell beauty; kind of like Scarlett Johansson. Despite California having the reputation of being too hot for making great Pinot Noir, it’s the consistent fog and the Petaluma Wind Gap in Green Valley that keeps temperatures cooler and regulated. This forces the grapes to ripen slowly and is the secret to crafting artisan quality Pinot Noir. With notes of mushroom, cherry cola and vibrant acid the Bohemian Vineyard Pinot Noir will blow your mind when paired with curried lamb shanks.
When it comes to Pinot Noir, earthy complexity, supple fruit, and acidic tension are the key ingredients. Burgundy, Willamette Valley and Green Valley are the ones you have to try, so don’t miss out on getting to know these special ladies.
Check them out and let me know what you think. I’d like to know if there are other producers from Burgundy, Willamette Valley or Green Valley that you particularly love? I also want to know what you paired these gals with and why? Leave me a comment or question. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing the conversation.
We can never know too much about wine. Let’s keep learning.