Pinot Noir is a grape originally from the French region of Burgundy and typically grows in cooler climates hence why many of the noteworthy pinot noirs from the new world are produced in California and New Zealand, however this delicious grape and all its potential is absolutely not limited to the aforementioned.
Pinot Noir is a great aging grape which means if you invest in quality or higher priced bottle you can save it for that very special occasion and not worry about serving your guests a bottle of vinegar.
When serving a glass of pinot noir or Bourgogne (burgundy) you want to lean towards the traditional burgundy glass which has a wide middle and a narrower mouth. This is the type of wine screams “get your swirl on.” The wider bowl of the glass allows the aromatics to really build and spread while the narrower mouth channels the aroma right to the nose when you go in for a sip.
Not all Pinot Noirs are made/taste the same, however, some traditional elements are its bright, translucent colour, it has a fresh, earthy, bouquet and is classified as a dry or extra dry wine however it is incredibly juicy, like salivating, pass a napkin juicy. Pinot noir is an easy, approachable wine that appeals to most palettes.
So now that you know the basics here are a few pinot noirs I am loving right now and certainly worth a try.
1. Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017, California, USA
This gem arrived on store shelves in Ontario just this Spring and I am certainly glad it did. With all the traditional notes of a pinot noir, the dark berry and smokey notes, Meiomi Pinot Noir is ideal for everything barbequed, and yes, that including fish and vegetables. Although still classified as a dry wine Meiomi is a touch sweeter than the other wines on this list.
2. Foreign Affairs Winery The Embrace 2017, Ontario, Canada
This one is cheating a bit because The Embrace 2017 from Foreign Affairs Winery isn’t entirely a pinot noir but rather a blend of pinot noir and Gamay (two varietals with very similar profiles) but I decided to include it in this list anyway because it is just that good. I had the pleasure of visiting Cafe Cancan a few weeks ago for a lunch and tasting hosted by Foreign Affairs Winery. All four wines presented were delicious but The Embrace 2017 stood out to me. It was light but bodied, incredible flavours that fills your entire mouth, stood up beautifully to the stake that was served, which is rare for the subtle nature of a pinot noir. So although this wine isn’t 100% pinot noir it certainly made an impression and was worth listing. It will be available tomorrow, August 18th, 2018 in the Vintages section at LCBO stores.
3. Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand
I really enjoyed this IWC 2017 Gold Winner. What intrigued me about this wine was Sam Kim’s take on it in Wine Orbit, he describes it as a [combination of] gorgeous ripe fruit flavours with deductive savoury nuance, exhibiting dark berry, smoked game, clove, truffle and toasted almond notes on the nose.” Now I’m not sure I capture all of that but it really was a delightful wine that revealed itself more and more with each sip.
4. Bouchard Pere et Fils Pinot Noir Bourgogne, Burgundy France
I wanted to include a pinot noir that is from the Burgundy region and there are many to choose from, however, Bouchard Pere et Fils Pinot Noir, at its modest price was one that left me pleasantly surprised. As I mentioned before pinot noirs typically get better with age or air as in this case. At first open it can be underwhelming I will admit but let this baby breathe for a few hours and it is quite delightful. Now don’t get me wrong, it is a good wine straight out of the bottle but it comes off as a bit shy and needs to get familiar with its surroundings before it shows its true personality.
5 Juve y Camps Pinot Noir Brut Rose Cava, Spain*
I really wanted to include a Pinot Noir Rose on this list, after all it is summertime, but if we are completely honest rose is great all year round #RoseAllDay. Juve y Camps Pinot Noir Brut Rose Cava is a perfect sparkling rose. It’s a deeper pink colour, lots of strawberry, peachy flavours. It tastes a bit sweeter but certainly not overly so, just enough to round out the taste and still be considered dry.
*This item may not be available in the LCBO
Celebrate National Pinot Noir Day in Style
Meiomi wine has recently partnered with Brunette Label to create limited-edition Pinot Please sweatshirts so you can sip in style this upcoming National Pinot Noir Day — available online at Brunette the Label or in stores at Nordstrom.