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The world's top 5 Pinot Noir regions

The world's top 5 Pinot Noir regions

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Pinot noir is elegant and sophisticated, with a well-balanced, fruity taste. Due to its lighter body, many consider it the ideal partner wine-it works with anything from fish and chicken to mushroom risotto and more.

One misconception is that the wine is difficult to obtain. Pinot Noir grapes are grown globally and provide incredibly valuable bottles of wine, each with its own distinct flavor character.

While strawberries, raspberries, and cherries are often associated with Pinot noir, the taste of Pinot may vary substantially from location to region, making the process of tasting and sampling each one enjoyable. Here are five regions in which it is farmed and bottled.

1. New Zealand

Though winemaking extends back to colonial times, commercial plantings in New Zealand began in 1975. Presently, it is planted largely on the southern island, namely in Otago, Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury. Vineyard techniques in New Zealand are well-known for being environmentally conscious, with the majority of the country's wine producers farming organically.

As you travel south, aromas and tastes of brilliant cherry, red berries, plums, red flowers, and baking spices mingle with an array of rich, full-bodied dark berry flavors accented by savory notes, chocolate, and earthiness, depending on the producer.

2. Chile

Chile is the newest of the five major pinot-producing countries. Just over 100 hectares of its pinot noir were planted in the nation 20 years ago. Today, the majority of the plantings are located in three distinct places, each with the required cold environment that pinot noir requires. The southern coastal valleys of San Antonio and Casablanca are flanked by the ocean and, consequently, benefit from the morning fog and mild breezes brought by the Humboldt Current.

If you'd like to explore wines, Tastes of the Hunter Wine Tours offers you a complete tour and snapshot of the local craft beers, boutique wines, unique chocolates and cheeses, and medal-winning vodkas and liquors that you and your friends could enjoy.

3. California

Throughout the 1940s, the Napa Valley produced the majority of California's pinot noir. Vineyards were planted in Carneros around the coast in the 1960s, and later in the 1970s, both Mendocino and Monterey could lay claim to pinot noir plantations. The oversupply of the 1970s gave way to the revival of the 1980s and 1990s, a period marked by migration to cooler locations and increased understanding of the zone.

Today, the primary growing areas for pinot noir are Sonoma, Mendocino, and Santa Barbara Counties, with significant plantings scattered throughout. The vineyards nearest to the water, such as the Sonoma shoreline, have a mild marine environment with warmer afternoons as well as cold evenings, thanks to the cooling winds and the marine layer from the Pacific Ocean.

4. Oregon

At 25 years old, David Lett came to the Willamette Valley carrying 3,000 grape cuttings provided by Davis on the back of the horse trailer of his uncle in 1965. He first planted them at Corvallis, southern of Salem, while looking for vineyard acreage nearer to Portland within the Valley's northern part.

Lett acquired 20 acres inside Dundee Hills for $450 a piece in 1966. He released his very first pinot noir under the Eyrie brand four years later, which he sold for a price of $2.65 per bottle. In the very same year, David picked the first-ever pinot gris in the New World, a variety that would go on to become the Willamette Valley's renowned white wine vine.

Despite the fact that many cautioned Lett and some other Oregon trendsetters that the environment was far too cold for winemaking, he gambled regardless. In a blind assessment of American pinot noir vs French Burgundy in 1979, Lett's 1975 Eyrie Pinot Noir Southern Block Reserve finished second behind legendary Burgundy winemaker Joseph Drouhin's Chambolle-Musigny 1959.

Oregon had finally made it onto the global map, and eager pioneers were putting stakes in every bare bit of Willamette acreage they could find.

5. France

Burgundy is known as the "Holy Grail of Holy Grails" because it produces the greatest pinot noir in the world. Cte d'Or, located on the 47th north parallel, is home to around 11,000 acres of grown pinot noir, second only to Champagne.

Cte d'Or is divided into two relatively small cotes: Cte de Nuits, which extends from Dijon to well below Nuits-Saint-Georges in the southern side, and Cte de Beaune, which starts at Ladoix and stretches south towards Maranges before joining the Cte Chalonnaise. The bedrock soil is limestone, while the topsoil is a variable combination of flint, clay, and limestone.


Pinot noir boasts a wide range of tastes, from cranberries to black cherries. Ageing wine in oak barrels is one of the most important variables influencing its flavor. Long oak aging adds richness, tannin, and vanilla aromas, but less oak aging allows the Pinot noir's vibrant cherry notes to shine through.

Perhaps more than any other crop, pinot noir is influenced by its environment. It is a rustic, earthy, and acidic wine from France. It's luscious with deep black cherry flavors from Sonoma and has a greater alcohol content than French pinot noir.