According to many wine connoisseurs, there are only great individual bottles of wine. Pinot Noir is no exception to this general rule, and it’s a flavorful wine choice that has grown in popularity in recent years. This type of wine is more of a challenge for wine makers in terms of growing and harvesting the grapes, but a resulting high quality bottle can be an excellent addition to any dinner party. Picking a good bottle of Pinot can seem like a daunting task; this very valued wine is best selected based on both flavor and vineyard region. Unlike Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot is difficult to produce in larger volumes, so savvy vineyard owners will focus the most on quality with every finished bottle.
Choosing by Taste and Region
The bouquet and flavor of Pinot Noir immediately set it apart from other red wines, and the taste differences are often more subtle between various brands. The best tasting Pinots are made from vineyard grapes grown in relatively cool climates during peak harvest seasons. Two of the most renowned wine making regions for these kinds of grapes are the Dundee Hills and the Willamette Valley, both located in Oregon. Pinot made and bottled in this region is known for its subtle fruit flavors and mild but seductive aroma. Vineyards in this part of Oregon also grown the widest varieties of grapes, so every small scale batch of this wine has its minor but unique characteristics.
Choosing by Alcohol Percentage
Good bottles of this wine are know for their balance between sweetness and sharpness, and both of these will become richer as each bottle of Pinot is allowed to age. As with any variety of wine, the year it was bottled is an excellent indication of richness. Another essential to check is the alcohol percentage as and indicator of wine quality. This content is vital to the flavor balance of any wine, but it’s extra important in Pinots due to their extra delicate sets of flavors. Any newly bottled Pinot starts off as dark in color, and the hue grows lighter as the flavor gets richer over time. When a bottle of this type of wine has an alcohol content above 14.5 percent, it means the wine maker probably had the grapes harvested when they were a bit too ripe. This can have a definite impact on the whole balance of flavors, and it frequently throws off the levels of acidity in a Pinot batch.
Tasting any wine before buying it is considered vital in many circles of wine enthusiasts, although some enjoy the mystery of opening a bottle and trying it only after purchase. Picking a good bottle of Pinot by tasting can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. Learning how to tell the differences in wine flavor undertones is akin to learning how to appreciate the notes of intricate classical music. Beginning tasters can soon learn to recognize the elegance, tannin texture, and perfume of different Pinot samples. Recognizing these unique characteristics can make selecting a good quality bottle more of a sure bet.
The first essential step in tasting any wine is to swirl the measure of it around in the glass to release the unique bouquet. Taking a small sip and holding it without swallowing right away will allow for all the flavor subtleties to become evident. The aromas of younger Pinot will be more pronounced as far as fruity tones, and slightly older batches will have more earthy flavor profiles. Some dedicated wine tasters describe these underlying notes as woody or vaguely smoky.
Pairing a Good Pinot Noir
Although growing the best grapes for Pinot is more challenging, the average price of a bottle is comparable to other red wines of similar years and qualities. This type of wine has also gained noticeable popularity for its versatility when it comes to food pairing. Newer batches of this wine are light enough to be paired with salmon or cod fish. Somewhat more aged Pinot Noir goes perfectly with richer meats, such as duck and lamb. When there’s more than one main meat selection at a dinner party, adding a few bottles of Pinot is a great choice.