Cheers to International Pinot Noir Day 2021!

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Today, 18th August is International Pinot Noir Day 2021: an occasion to celebrate this French red wine varietal.

International Pinot Noir Day 2021

Did you know that Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varietals in the world? 

Pinot Noir has been cultivated in Burgundy since the 1st century, it’s at least 1000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon!


Why is it called Pinot Noir?

Pinot noir is named as such because the grape bunches resemble black pine cones. Noir means black and Pinot comes from Pineau in French which is a diminutive of the word “pin” meaning pine.

Other names?

Pinot Noir is also known by the following names:

  • Blauburgunder,
  • Blauer Arbst,
  • Blauer Spätburgunder,
  • Burgunder,
  • Cortaillod,
  • Morillon,
  • Morillon Noir,
  • Mourillon,
  • Savagnin Noir, and
  • Salvagnin Noir.

The pinot noir grape doesn’t only make pinot noir wine

Apart from pinot noir itself, Pinot Noir grapes are also used in the production of:

  • champagne (normally blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier);
  • rosé wine,
  • wine in the style of Beaujolais Nouveau, and even
  • grey white wines (du vins blancs gris).


Pinot Noir is grown around the world

Pinot Noir has its origins in Burgundy, particularly in the Côte-d’Or.


It is also cultivated in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, in the northern parts of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, in Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States and Uruguay.

International Pinot Noir Day 2021

Australian pinot noir regions

In Australia, Pinot Noir is cultivated in many wine regions, such as:

  • Southern Highlands in New South Wales,
  • Yarra Valley,
  • Geelong,
  • Bellarine Peninsula,
  • Beechworth,
  • South Gippsland,
  • Sunbury,
  • Macedon Ranges and
  • Mornington Peninsula in Victoria,
  • Adelaide Hills in South Australia,
  • Great Southern Wine Region in Western Australia,
  • across Tasmania, and
  • Canberra District in the Australian Capital Territory.

Which pinot noir to drink for International Pinot Noir Day 2021?

French wine importers in Australia share their recommendations of French pinot noirs for all budgets.


Airoldi Fine Wines

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Daniel Airoldi of Airoldi Fine Wines shares his pinot noir recommendations with us.


How do French pinot noirs differ from Australian pinot noirs? 

It’s a very subjective question! In general, pinot noir is a varietal which reflects the climate in which it is grown even more than other varietals. So it depends on where it comes from, whether it be in a cold climate like Henty or Tasmania which would be comparable to Burgundy, whereas a more moderate climate like the Margaret River would be more comparable to the Languedoc.



If we have a small budget, which French pinot noir do you recommende? Le Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2017 de Domaine Dufouleur Guy et Yvan


Why? It is a Burgundy wine which offers very good value for money of a rather classic vintage and which is delicious.


What would you serve with it? Roasted beef filet with French style peas.


For a bigger budget, which French pinot noir would you recommend? L’Echezeaux Grand Cru ‘du dessus’ 2017 de chez Michel Noëllat


Why? It is an exceptional wine, with a bewitching aromatic intensity and power but with elegance and finesse at the same time


What do serve with it? Prime rib with pepper sauce and fried potatoes.


Cyrano Wines

Jean-Francois Gavanon from Cyrano Wines gives us his recommendations for International Pinot Noir Day 2021.


How do French pinot noirs differ from Australian pinot noirs?    

Pinot Noir is temperamental and sensitive to a whole range of influences in both vineyard and winery, the wine Pinot Noir wine style can vary a lot based on climate and producer style.


Ageing Pinot Noir in oak has major effect on the wine taste.


Cooler climates produce more delicate and light-bodied Pinot Noir.


Pinot Noir is an ancient and versatile varietal from which many other varietals have been cloned (Gamay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier but also Chardonnay, Aligoté…).


French Pinot Noir as a still wine mostly come from Burgundy. French Pinot Noir is often darker in colour, has a complex flavours including cherry, raspberry, mushroom and forest floor, plus vanilla and baking spice when aged in French oak.


Pinot Noir is a low in tannin, but French Pinot usually show more tannins than Australian Pinots. This is mostly due to fermentation/maceration technique rather than terroir.


Australian Pinot Noir is typically low in colour pigmentation, has a more perfumed nose and shows red fruit such as cherry, raspberry and blood plum flavours balanced by very smooth tannins.


For those with a smaller budget, which French pinot noir do you recommend for International Pinot Noir Day 2021?

Keep away from Burgundy! Other regions of France produce excellent Pinot Noir such Alsace, Loire… but they remain expensive.  


Most of these reputable regions are in the Northern half of France as Pinot Noir likes colder climates.


To find a cheap Pinot Noir I would go to the few cooler areas of the southern France. The wine won’t be enjoying a restricted appellation status but will possibly over-deliver for money, and be known only as a vin de France.


Such are the Catalan foothills of the Pyrénées mountains, where I have found the following wine

Maison Carrel Pinot Noir “ En Coteaux”

Translucent vermillon red.

Full of finesse evoking ripe cherries, freshly returned soil and earth.

Well-rounded and fresh wine which flows across the palate with an a light but intense taste of fruit.

Relishing aftertaste, marked by cherry stones and spices, and the bewitching earthy flavour.

Serve between 15 and 17°C



The authenticity of Pinot Noir at a very reasonable price.


What to serve with it?

Mixed grills, game, pork roast with prunes, grilled flank of beef, cold meat and cheese platters… 


For a larger budget, which French pinot noir do you recommend?

My favourite Burgundy wines are from the appellation Gevrey-Chambertain. There are so many to choose from …



A more concentrated Pinot Noir in all its dimension colour, bouquet and palate.


What to?

Boeuf Bourguignon, bien-sûr!


Le Plonque

Margot from Le Plonque recommends some pinot noirs for International Pinot Noir Day 2021.


How do French pinot noirs differ from Australian pinot noirs?

It’s difficult to compare Australian pinot noir and French pinot noir given that France produces a lot of different styles of pinot and Australia does too. I would say that the Pinot produced in Australia and the Pinot produced in Alsace are comparable in that they are produced in rather cool climates. 


Whereas Burgundy Pinot will probably be more similar to Yarra Valley Pinot. So if we compare what is comparable, Yarra Pinot and Burgundy Pinot, France has a more traditional approach to winemaking. The Pinot will surely spend a long time in oak barrels to make a wine that can be cellared, so we will find notes like vanilla. The Australian Pinots will not be particularly woody and may be drunk younger, more lively, less delicate, more fruit driven.


For a smaller budget, which French pinot noir do you recommend and why?

For a smaller budget, it’s best to turn to Alsace, they are far too unknown! The Pinot from Alsace is fruity, lively, full of joy, like those from New Zealand! 


I recommend Anne de Laweiss because it is accessible, good, fresh and what’s more it is on promotion on our website (only a little bit of stock remains). I love its red fruit notes, I like drinking it in Summer because it is very soft, very light. 


What to serve with it?

White meats or fresh cheeses, vegetarian dishes that are not too rich in spices also work well. Light wine means light dish (in flavors). We respect the balance.


For a larger budget, which French pinot noir would you recommend?

For a larger budget, I recommend a Burgundy. We have a beautiful pommard de Domaine Ardhui which is around $75 which is delicious.


And if we really want to treat ourselves, I recommend our Clos de Vougeot Domaine Frédéric Magnien which is $279. 



Because how can you say no to a Burgundy pinot? Haha.


More seriously, Les Lambots is a delicate wine with rich aromas. It has a complex aromatique palette and an incredible structure. 


And the Le Clos de Vougeot is simply a jewel, a a nugget, it comes from a terroir of excellence where the know-how is transmitted from generation to generation to always produce incredible wines. 


What would you serve with them?

These two reds will go well with red meats, not too strong either so as not to overshadow the wine, I recommend beef (boeuf bourguignon perhaps?).

Which pinot noir will you drink today for International Pinot Noir Day 2021?



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