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Flashcards in Pinot Noir Deck (30)
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Is Pinot noir thick skinned or thin skinned?

Thin skinned


Pinot Noir generally prefers what kind of climate?:

  • warm to hot
  • cool to moderate

Cool to moderate

Within this category, Pinot Noir prefers more moderate climates so that it can fully ripen.


What happens to the flavors of Pinot Noir if it's grown in a climate that's too warm?

Flavors will lose their freshness, and overall the fruit flavors will present as cooked or stewed.


Is Pinot Noir considered very hardy or is it prone to rot and disease?

Pinot Noir is prone to rot and disease, primarly because of its thin skin.


Give a quick assessment of Pinot Noir: color in the glass, acidity, tannin, fruit profile.

  • Color: pale to medium
  • Acidity: usually high
  • Tannin: usually medium, but can be low
  • Fruit profile: red fruits, such as cherry, cranberry, strawberry, and pomegranate


Pinot Noir is often bottled as:

  • a single varietal
  • one component in big blends

A single varietal


Oak aging for Pinot Noir is most often done in:

  • small, new barrels
  • large, neutral barrels

Large, neutral barrels

Small, new barrels can overwhelm the delicacy of Pinot Noir.


Name some of the flavors that are expressed in a developing Pinot Noir.

  • Mushroom
  • Forest floor
  • Crushed leaves
  • Dried rose petals


What is arguably the single most important region in the world for Pinot Noir?

Burgundy, France


The most acclaimed vineyards of Burgundy are found in a particular part of the region called the ___ ___, which is divided into 2 sections: a northern half and a southern half.

What are the names of those 2 sections?

​Most acclaimed vineyards in the Côte d'Or.

Northern half: Côte de Nuits

Southern half: Côte de Beaune

Côte d'Or translates to 'golden slope'.


In Burgundy, which direction do the best vineyards face?


South and southeast

To take advantage of as much sunlight as possible to ripen the grapes in this cool-to-moderate climate.


List the appellation hierarchy of Burgundy from lowest to highest.

  1. Bourgogne AOC
  2. Village
  3. Premier Cru
  4. Grand Cru


Describe the differences between a Bourgogne AOC wine and a Village wine.

Bourgogne AOC will show lighter body, less intensity, and less longevity vs. a wine at the Village level.

Village-level wines will show more flavorful and complex characteristics, and will be better suited for aging than Bourgogne AOC.

Most Village-level vines are planted in vineyards with better-draining soils and beneficial slopes and aspect vs. Bourgogne AOC vines.


Name 3 famous villages for Pinot Noir in the Côte de Nuits.

  1. Gevrey-Chambertin AOC
  2. Vosne-Romanée AOC
  3. Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC


Name 3 famous villages for Pinot Noir in the Côte de Beaune.

  1. Pommard AOC
  2. Volnay AOC
  3. Beaune AOC


What are 2 subtle notes on a Pinot Noir that would indicate it had spent some time in oak?

  1. Clove
  2. Smoke


How do Village wines compare with Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines in Burgundy?

Village wines show flavor intensity, good complexity and length; they are also able to age a few years in the bottle.  Village wines come from well-positioned slopes and aspects with well-draining soil.

Premier and Grand Cru wines are the best of the best.  They are the most complex, the most concentrated, the most intense, and the vineyards are always mid-slope where the sun shines the longest.  They can age for many years, even decades.  Some are so rare their prices start in the thousands upon release.


Pinot Noir in California performs best when it's:

  • near the coast where it's cooler
  • inland where it's hotter

Near the coast where it's cooler

Fog and Pacific breezes help keep these coastal areas cool.


Name 1 appellation in northern California that's well known for its Pinot Noir.



Morning fog created by this body of water cools down Carneros.

San Pablo Bay


Western Sonoma is cooled by ___.

Pacific breezes


What makes Santa Barbara County a good place to grow Pinot Noir?

Cool Pacific breezes coming from the south and west help prevent Pinot Noir from developing over-ripe flavors.


Describe the main differences between Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Pinot Noir from California.


  • Ripe red fruits
  • Higher use of new oak (overt vanilla flavors)


  • Tart red fruits
  • Subtle use of oak (clove and smoke flavors)


Why is Oregon such a good place for growing Pinot Noir?

  • Northerly latitude
  • Exposure to Pacific Ocean and its breezes
  • Moderate climate (it's cooler than California)


Which region in Chile is showing promise for making quality Pinot Noir?

Casablanca Valley

Casablanca Valley is cooled by Pacific breezes and morning fog.


Pinot Noir production in South Africa is focused where: along the coast where it's cooler or inland where it's hotter?

Name one South African region that's known for its Pinot Noir.

Along the coast where Antarctic breezes cool down vines.

Walker Bay is known for its Pinot Noir.


Despite the general heat of Australia there are 2 regions that grow beautiful Pinot Noir in a more moderate climate.

What are those 2 regions?

  1. Yarra Valley
  2. Mornington Peninsula


Which ocean provides cooling breezes to Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula?

Southern Ocean


Name 3 appellations in New Zealand that are well suited for Pinot Noir production.

  1. Martinborough (North Island)
  2. Marlborough (South Island)
  3. Central Otago (South Island)


Why does Central Otago make some of New Zealand's most powerful Pinot Noir?

Central Otago is in a rain shadow which protects it from cool Pacific breezes and bad weather which give the grapes unlimited sunshine to fully ripen.