How About a 101 Crash Course on Pinot Noir?

There’s a reason the comedy Sideways with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church featured a good portion of content talking about the great grape for wine known as Pinot (and, no, it does not mean “Peanut of the Night”). Pinot Noir is a staple of red wine fare and has been for literally centuries. We’re not exaggerating (and we’ll get to that in a little bit).

So needless to say, you’re going to want the goods and the bits on this tannic titan of grape goodness known as Pinot Noir; because if you’re going to be a sommelier siren like Virginia Madsen, I’d suggest reading up on this. While this is a crash course, you’re not going to breeze through this tired info thinking it’s for beginners. This will, however, be the beginning of a beautiful adventure.

Pinot Noir Is the 10th Most Planted Grape in the World

And that’s saying something. Ever tried to find out just how many different varieties of wine grape there are? Dozens. And that’s truly an understatement. But what’s really amazing about Pinot Noir is the fact that this is one grape averaging in terms of pricing higher than most others due to the incredible demand.


The question then is why? Why is Pinot Noir so popular? Even more popular than those other Pinots, like the Grigio? Read on….

We’re Talking About a Grape That’s Way Older Than Even Cabernet Sauvignon (Over 1K Years, to Be Exact)

Sure, it doesn’t sound too spectacular given that many grapes of the world have been around that long….

  • Moscato
  • Timorasso
  • Gouais Blanc

What’s surprising, though, is that even today, Pinot Noir’s mass made as a top-notch red wine without any sign of slowing down or going extinct. That’s more than we can say for Gouais Blanc, a nearly extinct variety, and for good reason that this was a white grape hailed to be the grape of the medieval ages.

Even Timorasso’s considered extremely rare for a white grape, especially since you’ll only find 50 acres of this one in Italy (nowhere else to our knowledge). Moscato’s been around since Roman times, too, but with Pinot Noir’s longevity, we’re looking at another 1000 years of drinking red wine and loving it.

Speaking of White Grapes…. Ever Heard of Chardonnay?

That’s that white wine everyone continues to talk about on here. We’re willing to bet, though, that you didn’t know Pinot Noir’s one of the parents of this white wine. How’s that for an accomplishment?

Which other grape merged with the red variety to become Chardonnay? None other than the nearly extinct medieval grape we already mentioned — Gouais Blanc.

And Let’s Not Forget About the Other Pinots as Well as…. Germany?

We see you doing a double-take. Allow us to explain. You’ve heard of the other Pinots out there: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, yadda yadda. But what you didn’t know is that all of these varieties are actually color mutations of the original Noir. That’s right — Pinot Noir’s the godfather of Pinot red wine. It simply means that if you like the taste and texture of the Noir, chances are pretty good you’ll salivate at the others. They’re literally identical — with just differences in color.

But Germany? What about Germany? Here we have a country known for their beer and whatnot, but we’d hardly associate the Pinot Noir grape for something traditionally made out of France (one would think). But the fact is this — Germany’s the third largest producer of Pinot Noir next to France and the United States. The Germans there even have a special name for the red wine — Spätburgunder.

Now That We’ve Blown Your Tops With This Unique Crash Course….

You have to know that there’s loads more to learn about the red wine known as Pinot Noir. And you certainly don’t need one Paul Giamatti to clue you in on that. So experiment. Explore. Discover. There’s a reason this grape’s been around for so long and still going strong.

Because you can’t beat a good Spätburgunder with some venison. Finger-licking good.

See All Blog Posts