The study of wine is a very confusing, never-ending maze. The sheer amount of information out there about wine is astounding; many people dedicate their entire lives to it. I am not one of those people, but I have had a deep fascination with wine ever since an incredible trip to Bordeaux, where I visited many chateaus and learned all about the detailed processes used to create what millions of people sip everyday.
I know quite a few wine snobs out there, so the tips and knowledge that I will write about in my wine posts will hopefully help anyone out there to hold up conversation with (and possibly stump) these so-called wine connoisseurs. I figure that I will start with my most favored wine, Pinot Noir. One of the more fickle grape varieties, Pinot Noir is notorious for being difficult to grow and cultivate. Originally hailing from Burgundy, France, Pinot Noir has now been expanded to select acceptable climates and terrain all over the world, including California.
Typical features of Pinot Noir are that it is a light to medium bodied wine (this means less tannins, thinner, and not overwhelming on the palate), it typically has strong notes of fruit in its taste and smell (my favorites are the ones with hints of cherry), and it is easily paired with many foods, including both seafood and meat (stand-out pairings for me are duck and pork).
Many of my favorite Pinot Noirs come from the Russian River Valley because the taste is very flavorful, without breaking the bank; perfect to be enjoyed at home or out. This region, in particular, really brings the quality, while affording you quantity, as well. A few favorite vineyards from this area are BearBoat, Twomey, and Freeman Winery.
Pinot Noir should be enjoyed in a glass that allows all of the aromas and flavors to be brought out, so a glass with a large bowl is desired (though, honestly, it would still taste good in a red solo cup if that’s all you have).