The Pinot Noir grape variety is finicky, troublesome, enigmatic, and challenging. But a great Pinot Noir can be one of the greatest wines ever. The prototype for Pinot Noir wine is red Burgundy, from France, where tiny vineyard plots yield rare treasures of wine made entirely from Pinot Noir. Oregon, California, New Zealand, and parts of Australia and Chile also produce good Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir’s production is limited, because this variety is very particular about climate and soil.
Pinot Noir wine is lighter in color than Cabernet or Merlot. It has relatively high alcohol, medium-to-high acidity, and medium-to-low tannin (although oak barrels can contribute additional tannin to the wine). Its flavors and aromas can be very fruity or earthy and woodsy, depending on how it is grown and/or vinified. Pinot Noir is rarely blended with other grapes.