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Pinot Noir: 5 Fun Facts

Pinot Noir: 5 Fun Facts

It's Pinot Month At Taylor's! November is a great time to reflect on what we are most thankful for and family is on the top of that list. Including the Pinot Family! We love a good pinot at the holidays, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris... 

Click here to Shop our Pinot Sale and Save on All Pinot Family Wines

Here's 5 Pinot Noir Facts that you can use with your family & friends to keep the conversation lively this holiday season:

1) The name "Pinot Noir" is French and means "Black Pine,"referring to the dark color of the skins and that the grape clusters were thought to resemble pine cones.

2) Pinot Noir is an old grape. Compared to most of the other varietals that are popular now, Pinot Noir is an old varietal, thought to be over 2000 years old and was popular among the ancient Romans. That means Julius Ceasar may have enjoyed a Pinot Noir while watching the gladiators at the coliseum! By comparison, Cabernet Sauvignon is only around 600 years old.

There are only a few other grapes still around as old as Pinot Noir and the only other one that is still popular is Muscat Blanc. Gouais Blanc & Timorasso are the only other two varietals still around, but relatively obscure that are as old as Pinot Noir. BTW, it was Gouais Blanc that crossed with Pinot Noir to create Chardonnay!

3) Pinot Noir is hard to grow. Those tightly bunched, pine cone-like clusters make Pinot Noir difficult for grape growers and winemakers. They are susceptible to lots of diseases and pests because of lack of air flow between the grapes, they also tend to ripen unevenly and the thin skins of the grape are easily damaged and can burst after rains.

4) Pinot Noir is genetically unstable. The Pinot family of grapes has lots of members because the variety mutates easily, giving us many sub-species that we are now familiar with like Pinot Grigio/Gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois... These other grapes didn't come about by crossing Pinot Noir with something else the way many of our new varietals are created, but are rather mutations that were kept by a grower and proliferated.

5) Don't the color fool you. Many wine drinkers associate deep color with big flavor, but with Pinot Noir, the opposite is often true. Because the grape has a low concentration of color-producing anthocyanin, Pinot Noir-based wines, especially those exceptional, world famous, super expensive, Burgundian offerings, tend to be light in color, yet deeply flavorful. It’s the cheap versions—those potentially blended with other grapes like Syrah, Petite Sirah or concentrates to boost color—that offer less on the palate.
pinot noir grapes
As you can see in the picture above (and its called Noir/Black too) that the grapes are darkly colored, but since the skin of the Pinot Noir grape is so thin, there actually ends up being less pigmentation going into the fermenter when compared to more red/purple colored, but thicker skinned grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Want to save big this November on Pinot? Click here to shop our November Pinot Sale and Save 10% on all wines in the Pinot Family and 15% off purchases of six or more bottles, Mix or Match