At a recent grand wine tasting, in order to help guide a fellow attendee (who cannot be named) through the wide selection of wines, I asked where his preferences lied. He responded with your typical male answer: just red, bold wines, California Cabs and anything but Pinot noir. In fact his exact comment was "Pinot noir is for girls." Normally those would be fighting words but instead I took it as a challenge to expand his limited wine horizons.
Many wines get a bad reputation for many reasons. Sometimes it is over production or extensive marketing. Other times it is just a new trend or even Hollywood. For instance, the sales of Merlot took a huge dip following the release of the movie "Sideways." Over the years I've heard that Chardonnay is too "oaky", that California wines aren't worth drinking, that French wines taste like dirt and let's not mention Zinfandel.
Wines made from Pinot noir have a very distinct flavor profile. Especially in the United States, they tend to have a fruit forward taste and a perfumed aroma. Pinot noir wines from the Russian River Valley in California or Willamette Valley in Washington can be extraordinary. The wines of Burgundy, France are some of the best in the world achieving a wonderful balance of fruit, earthiness and finesse. The famed wines of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti from Cote de Nuits sell in the thousands of dollars per bottle. And what would Champagne be if it were not for the Pinot noir grape?
Admittedly, Pinot Noir is not one of my favorite grapes but it definitely has its place on the dinner table. It pairs well with bacon, corned beef, game birds, ham, lamb, mushrooms and pork. It is also the wine of choice at many Thanksgiving feasts since it goes very well with turkey. So, in conclusion, since I drink Pinot noir I must be a girl! Are there any other girls out there?
A personal thank you to he-who-cannot-be-named without whom this blog would not exist.