The aroma of Pinot noir in some ways defies description such is its potential complexity. It has a highly fruity composition of blackcurrant and raspberry and over time develops aromas of game and Autumn leaves. Pinot noir is an early ripening grape variety and is not suited to climates that are too hot, though neither does it fare well in climates that are too wet. Consequently, it is fair to say it is quite a temperamental grape variety.
The Côtes-de-Nuits and Côtes-de-Beaune areas are unrivalled for their Pinot noir offerings. There is no finer place in the world to grow the varietal. The resultant wines have the propensity to age as long as they retain fruit. Other French regions also stand out for their Pinot noir: Champagne, where it is an essential component of the varietal range, and the Loire, particularly Sancerre where it develops aromas of red berry fruits and a measure of ‘minerality’.
Without straying too far from France, Pinot noir is Riesling’s red counterpart in Germany. It goes under the name of ‘spätburgunder’ and is found across the country. It is probably most highly regarded for its quality in the region of Ahr although Palatinate and Baden are also worthy of consideration. On the other side of the world, Tasmania produces some top Pinot due to its felicitous climate, whereas the rest of Australia is generally too hot. New Zealand is also a very suitable place to grow Pinot noir and Central Otago produces some top bottlings. In the United States, some regions enjoy a microclimate or elevations that allow it to be grown and Oregon is a major producer region for Pinot noir.