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Some trivia about Pinot Noir

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Considered one of the best and most expensive varieties in the world, Pinot Noir is distinguished by its elegance and delicacy. Native to French Burgundy, this grape variety is now planted worldwide. Here are five intriguing facts you may not know about this grape variety.

1. Its clusters are small and conical in shape.

Originally from the Burgundy area in France, this red grape variety got its name Pinot Noir from the French words pine (pineapple) and noir (black). These refer to its small cylindrical-conical clusters, made of black grapes resembling a pinecone.

2. It is most pleasant served chilled

Unlike the vast majority of reds, which tend to be served at room temperature,
Pinot Noir is among the reds best enjoyed when served slightly chilled, ideally at about 14°C when they are best appreciated. Otherwise, if a Pinot Noir is served too hot, it could feel too alcoholic and smoky, or if served too cold, lose its fruit flavors.

3. It is one of the most complex varieties to grow.

In addition to their conical and compact clusters, Pinot Noir grapes have a thin skin. They are, therefore, much more sensitive to sunlight and can ripen earlier, so pruning techniques and climate (ideally cool) are essential to achieve full ripening. Because of the composition of its clusters, Pinot Noir is also very susceptible to diseases, rather challenging in the vineyard, and requiring unique care.

4. Pinot Noir was used to create the Pinotage variety in South Africa.

Indeed, it was. As part of a research project, a deliberate crossbreeding of Cinsault and Pinot Noir varieties in a laboratory at Stellenbosch University gave rise to the Pinotage grape variety in 1925. Today, Pinotage is one of the most important grape varieties in South Africa, producing wines with red fruit flavors (strawberries, raspberries, and cherries) similar to Pinot Noir.

5. It rose to fame due to the film “Sideways.”

Pinot Noir sales skyrocketed by 150% in the United States immediately after the release of the American movie Sideways in 2004. The film tells the story of two old friends -one of whom is a Pinot Noir fan- who embark on a wine-tasting road trip. In one of its finest scenes, this grape variety’s virtues epitomize the characters’ lifetime friendship.

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