Pinot Noir

Australian Pinot Noir wine regional and flavour profile



Pinot Noir tastes and aromas

Flavours and aromas of cherry, raspberry, strawberry, leather, cedar and spice

Pinot Noir mouthfeel

Light to medium bodied, high acidity, subtle in flavour, and delicate in texture, light tannins.

Pinot Noir cellaring potential

When aged, Pinot Noir exhibits distinctive gamey, earthy characters such as mushroom, forest floor, barnyard, truffle or undergrowth. To age Pinot Noir, look for pinot Noir from Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula

Facts about Pinot Noir

  • The movie “Sideways” (2004) main character Miles speaks fondly of Pinot noir, while denigrating Merlot. Following the film’s released in Australia, data from ACNielsen showed a dramatic initial surge in Pinot Noir purchasing just days after the film “Sideways” release – there was a 16% increase in sales compared with the same period a year earlier.
  • The name is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” alluding to the grapes tightly clustered dark purple pine-cone shaped bunches of fruit.
  • Pinot noir wines are among the most popular in the world. Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair describes Pinot noir as “the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic.” Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon calls pinot Noir” sex in a glass”.
  • Despite being a red grape, Pinot Noir produces some of Australia’s greatest sparkling wines when mixed with Chardonnay, and is one of the three varieties that Champagne is made from.
  • Pinot Noir has been called the “heartbreak grape” by some producers because it is one of the most difficult grapes to grow, so climate is critical – too warm and wines are jammy and lack freshness; too cold, and wines are herbaceous, sharp and bitter.

Australian regions that produce Pinot Noir

Yarra Valley
Pinot Noir is the Yarra Valley’s most widely planted red grape variety. Although it is a challenge to grow and make, it thrives in the Yarra’s cool climate, producing wines with cinnamon, mint, berries, mushroom and “forest floor” characteristics.

Mornington Peninsula
The cool maritime climate of the Mornington Peninsula creates supple, elegant and delicate Pinot Noir wines, married with intense structure and texture. The region, surrounded by water on three sides, is one of Australia’s most recognised regions for quality Pinot Noir wines.

Tasmania’s temperate climate nurtures plump pinot noir, producing wines of natural elegance and intensity. It consistently produces high quality, complex and rich refined wines.

Adelaide Hills
Adelaide Hills, South Australia’s leading producer of Pinot Noir, has many different microclimates within its region due to its numbers twisting hills and valleys, each with a different terroir. Its chalky soils, found in the hills, and cool nights, create wines with distinctive acidity and fine tannin structure, whilst its warm sunshine develops the cherry, strawberry and spice flavours of a Pinot Noir. Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir styles typically have fruity strawberry, raspberry and black cherry flavours to savoury, earthy gamey styles depending on where it was grown in the region and the winemaking techniques used.

New Zealand
In New Zealand, the Central Otago region has received world-wide attention for its Pinot Noir wines, which are increasingly sought after for their elegant wines with great ageing potential. It is the leading grape variety in Central Otago, estimated to account for 70% of all grape plantings.

What food to pair with Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of foods— its fruity berry, strawberry and earthy flavours match well with game and red meats, and its light fruitiness and silky mouthfeel make it make a great match with salmon or other fatty fish, roasted chicken or pasta dishes. Younger Pinots, with their lively fruit, seem to have a great affinity for beetroot – there is something about the combination of sweetness and earthiness in the vegetable that resonates perfectly with Pinot. Supple, fruity Pinots can handle gentle spicing.

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