Varietal 3: Pinot Noir| Part B: Climate Influences

Cool Climate:  Pinot Noirs thrive in cooler climates where their bright acidity and tart red fruit create light reds which can age beautifully.  Red fruits from strawberries, raspberries and just ripe red cherries dominate and the longer growing season allows them to stay fresh and juicy.  The fresh fruit and higher acidity in these climates can result in aromas leaning toward tart, even sour but do not let this fool you as these are some of the best wines for highlighting the Pinot Noir grape’s true varietal style.

Moderate Climate:  Grapes grown in moderate climates ripen earlier and tend to have lower acidity levels.  Over-ripe strawberries and cherries are the primary fruit flavors bursting from these wines.  The red fruits are often described as having “cooked” flavors, for example fresh baked cherry pie.  Unfortunately, many Pinot Noir vineyards have been planted in climates which are too warm resulting in dull, stewed fruit flavored wines with low acid and high alcohol and dull flat tastes.  With the increasing popularity of Pinot Noir, these warm climate wines are taking more and more space on shelves of wine shops and grocery stores making it even more important to know the best areas in the U.S. and globally making cooler climate wines truer to the grape’s most desired style (refer to Table X in Module 1 “The Have’s”).