Wine Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir

Everything you need to know about Pinot Noir.

One of the world's oldest grape varieties, Pinot Noir made it's entry into Australia with the First Fleet in 1788, and would have been part of the Busby collection established at Kirkton in the Hunter Valley in the early 1800s.

Pinot Noir can be recognised by their small, compact bunches with small round dark violet to black berries. Even when ripened under ideal conditions, Pinot Noir grapes tend to have lower amounts of colour and tannin than varieties such as Shiraz.

The aromas and flavours of the grape's change from strawberry through to raspberry, then to plum and boiled beetroot characters as the grapes ripen.

Sensitive to climatic changes, Pinot Noir does not respond well to hotter climates. Lifted fresh raspberry and plum aromas and flavours, with good acid and tannin for structured wine, tend to come from cool, to cool to warm climates. Cool climates produce soft textured medium-bodied wines with fully ripened flavours.

Pinot Noir grapes are sensitive to overcropping, with the vines struggling to ripen if overburdened.

In appearance Pinot Noir ranges from cherry red to medium plum red when young, with brown tones coming through with age.

Aromas (by nose) and flavours (by mouth)

Primary fruit characters include – herbs, spice, strawberry, red cherry, raspberry, black cherry, violet, perfume, black pepper, plum, stewed plum, rhubarb, beetroot, blackcurrant and prune.

Developed fruit characters include – earthy, cowyard, barnyard, gamey, leather, tobacco, bacon fat, mushroom, humas, and truffle.

Characters derived from winemaking include:

Barrel fermentation/barrel storage: spicy, coconut, smoky, chocolate and mocha.

Carbonic Maceration: spicy, cinnamon and fruity.

The Influence of Winemaking

The task of the winemaker is to balance the delicate aromas and flavours from the fruit with characters that come from winemaking techniques, particularly the influence of oak.

Learn more about the varieties of grapes that make great wine visit Wyndham Estate.

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