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  Editorial Issue 172, April 2018   
Pinot Noir: Yes, Please!Pinot Noir: Yes, Please!  Contents 
Issue 171, March 2018 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 173, May 2018

Pinot Noir: Yes, Please!


 Every time they ask me what is the grape or wine I like the most – I admit it – it is always very hard to give an answer. Of course, it is not for the fact I do not have a favorite grape or wine, indeed for the simple fact it is not just one. The preference, in fact, depends on many conditions and factors as, for this reason, I would not always choose the same grape or wine just because it is my favorite one. Each one of them can in fact become the favorite one depending on the occasion, a less favorite one in other occasions, clearly not a favorite one in other more. There are – of course – grapes and wines I consider to be my favorite ones in absolute terms, it is however hard, at least for me, to tell which one of them is in the top place of my personal list. I have a huge passion, for example, for Marsala, Jerez, Porto, Nebbiolo – in all of its expressions – Sagrantino, Verdicchio, Fiano and Pinot Noir. The list is however, unavoidably and on purpose, incomplete, clearly in a very short and essential form.


 

 In any case, among these grapes – and therefore wines – Pinot Noir has a very special place in my preferences. Elegant, refined, versatile and majestic. But also difficult, complicated, demanding and selective. Very selective. Pinot Noir, in fact, is – so to speak – a grape and a wine which is not within the reach of everyone and everything. Difficult grape, very difficult, starting from territory and climate, Pinot Noir certainly does not have the capacity of adaptation which is typical in other varieties. Cultivating Pinot Noir in viticultural and climatic conditions not “perfectly suitable” to it, inevitably means making a mediocre and disappointing wine, something that – unfortunately – frequently happens in wines produced with this grape. Pinot Noir, in being so strictly demanding, is not satisfied only by a suitable environmental and climatic condition. It requires, last but not the least, a great interpreter capable of “revealing” all of its greatness. Even in this case, it is not a grape for everyone: Pinot Noir is rigorous, selective and demanding. Very demanding.

 Finding a wine made with Pinot Noir – any style – capable of surprising and, so to speak, leaving an indelible mark, is certainly not simple. This is something notoriously difficult, but when you find one, everything else suddenly becomes insignificant and disappears from your mind. The magic of Pinot Noir is clearly unique and is expressed in different ways according to how it is used in wine making, something that – evidently – is true for every grape. The red Burgundian grape is capable of expressing results of amazing and absolute level, especially in two styles of wines: red and sparkling classic method, that is refermented in bottle. The primary references, in both cases, are inevitably French – homeland of Pinot Noir – for both red and classic method sparkling wines. Burgundy and Champagne are in fact the reference territories for their respective styles, not so easy to get the same level in other areas.

 It is not just a matter of taste or patriotism: some Pinot Noir wines produced in Burgundy and Blanc de Noirs from Champagne, hardly find worthy competitors of equal level. I am aware – for what I have just expressed – many will not agree, even accusing me of xenophilia. For me – in any case – the good is good anyway, it has neither a flag nor nationality. If it is good and has quality, this is enough for me for appreciating it. This applies – for me, of course – to wine as much as to people, cultures, food, art and any expression of intelligence and culture. After all, difference is a great wealth when you understand the opportunity to listen to it. Pinot Noir is – and has always been – among the grapes for which I have a huge interest and passion. Whether it is a red wine or classic method sparkling wine – possibly refined in bottle on its lees for a long time – the red Burgundian grape, in its best interpretations, is always capable of giving great pleasure and satisfaction.

 Pinot Noir is in any case a bizarre variety and does not like certain extreme or acrobatic wine making techniques, in particular, the excessive use of cask and barrique. It in fact takes little to ruin the elegance of Pinot Noir by fermenting and aging it in barrels with an excessive impact. What is obtained is a “flat” wine and evidently too robust for the grace of the aromas and balance of Pinot Noir's acidity. Provided, of course, you have properly cultivated it in vineyard, because all good wine – no matter the variety – originates from the vineyard and how man cultivates it. Pinot Noir is in fact a very demanding grape and if you force it to grow up in an unsuitable territory, it is so “touchy” that it makes fun of those who make it by giving a mediocre wine and lacking in elegance. Of course, I'm not saying Pinot Noir is not suitable for the aging in cask. The difference, of course, is how it is used and what impact it is given or imposed to the wine. The cask in Pinot Noir, when properly used, is certainly useful and increases its elegance, something they known very well in Burgundy.

 Not to mention the bubbles produced with Pinot Noir, of course, those made with the classic method, possibly with a long aging in bottle before disgorging. Of course, I don't want to deny the other grapes, in particular Chardonnay, but the touch of refinement and elegance Pinot Noir gives classic method sparkling wines is amazing. Not to mention structure: the presence of Pinot Noir is also very noticeable in this sensorial aspect. What a great grape is, Pinot Noir. Elegance and complexity of aromas, acidity opposed to the right astringency, class – a lot – an explosion of crispness, aromas and flavors, it is difficult to find a grape capable of similar magic. What a great grape is Pinot Noir. So demanding from vineyard to wine making, capable of giving all of its best only to a great interpreter capable of understanding and making it express the way it really is, without plagiarizing or overloading it with inappropriate wine making techniques. What a great grape and great wine is Pinot Noir, despite the difficulty of finding bottles capable of expressing its magnificence. But when you find one – ladies and gentlemen – enjoy the show of the senses, unique and unrepeatable. Pinot Noir: yes, please!

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 172, April 2018   
Pinot Noir: Yes, Please!Pinot Noir: Yes, Please!  Contents 
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