The Pinot Noir variety is a grape that is as loved as it is hated. Praised for its elegance and ability to thrill, but detested for the difficulties involved in its cultivation. It is a very sensitive and vulnerable grape, an easy prey for numerous grapevine diseases. But it is also a grape extremely capable of displaying its terroir in every glass you pour.
It has been grown in Burgundy and parts of the Loire area in France ever since the Middle Ages owing to the proximity of these regions to Paris and the Royal household. The monks from Cîteaux and Cluny were the first to cultivate and make a firm commitment to Pinot Noir in Burgundy, leading to this delicate red grape eventually becoming a synonym for red wines from Burgundy. It is also found in many vineyards around the world these days but with mixed results. A sensitive grape, it does not adapt well to all kinds of climates or soils, but if it does feel at home it can create some of the most thrilling red wines in the world. Jura, Oregon, Austria, Germany, Alto Adige (South Tyrol), or even cool regions of New Zealand have all provided perfect homes for Pinot Noir, a grape known for its dislike of both warm climates and extremely cold ones due to its early budding. A special mention must also be made of Pinot Noir’s relationship with Champagne. Its skins create the wonderful aromas of red fruits and spices in Blancs de Noirs Champagne or vibrant sparkling rosés from Reims and Épernay.
Its nose offers aromas of cherries, strawberries and raspberries. Game, leather and mushrooms appear on ageing, or even hints of black plums in Californian wines. The body of Pinot Noir wines is both ethereal and deep, wide and silky, and often brings fragrances of smoky aromas and incense.
The Pinot Noir isn't a new variety in Italy, but its popularity has been limited predominantly to the Alto Adige region, where it can be found in all its elegance in mountain wines that are refined, very palatable, floral, fruity and velvety. Yet so many more nuances of the Pinot Noir exist in Italy. Although the Alto Adige is an ideal region for its cultivation thanks to its climatic conditions, the Pinot Noir also gives rise to fine and excellent wines in other parts of the country.
Following this variety's trail through Italy, we find it in other regions where it assumes the right balance between its own identity and the characteristics of its adopted terroir. So we can enjoy it in the Aosta Valley, where it's graceful, elegant and exposed to the sun; in the Oltrepò Pavese denomination, revealing itself powerful and sincere in a sparkling Blanc de Noirs; and in Umbria, where it comes into contact with the land's minerality to show us all the nobility and fineness it's capable of.