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Wine Park

Four Points Pinot

Not that one should need occasion to immerse the mind and palate in the most unique red wine there is, though International Pinot Noir is a good enough reason to dive headlong into a generous pour of illuminating facts on the beloved Burgundian red grape.
Born Burgundian
Pinot Noir is native to the cool northern French region of Burgundy where it still lords over the precious, rolling vineyards along with white counterpart Burgundy, turning out some of the world’s finest and most expensive wines. Cistercian monks set the ball rolling on growing and vinifying Pinot Noir over a century ago. A near perfect alignment of soil, climate and spectacular winemaking talent have collectively conspired to make Pinot Noir a phenomenon of religious proportion and you just need to drop the names Montrachet and Chambertin to know the effect Red Burgundy can have in the room simply by reputation, never mind an uncorking that might cause a riot among oenophiles.
Homegrown Style
Pinot Noir is an enigma for the sheer distinction of its style compared to weightier peers like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This thin skinned cool climate thriver in the best of conditions turns out a wine that light to medium bodied, fine texture and nice acidity, balanced by soft tannins. You can tell a good Pinot Noir when the palate beams with red berries like raspberry and cherry, a touch of earthy notes and herbs and hints of vanilla when barrel aged. What enamours wine enthusiasts most in the stunning complexity that this deceptively light wine exudes with a style that is so discernibly distinct – if you’re a pinotphile, you’ll easily pick it out in a random blind tasting.
New World, Conquered
What made Pinot Noir a sterling world phenomenon wasn’t the string of superb Burgundian vintages that few middle class oenophiles could afford. It was this finicky grape’s embrace of terroir in the new world, namely New Zealand’s Marlborough and Central Otago regions as well as California’s NapaValley where warmer climes and deft winemakers crafted a modern bolder style that’s more full bodied with an array of interesting flavours. The New World has played an indispensable role in elevating Pinot Noir to status of global phenomenon with a diverse range of expressions that perfectly compliment the traditional Burgundian red.
Winemaker’s final frontier
Picking up from the point afore, Pinot Noir is one hell of challenge and perhaps a straight up gamble. In fact, Pinot Noir is considered a litmus test of skill and character for any winemaker who dares to vinify this exacting grape. Pinot Noir is a thin skinned grape that prefers cool climate and buds early but ripens late into harvesting season which poses the most challenging scenario for both viticulturist and winemaker. Viticulturists in modern times have methods at hand to rescue harvests for a number of known grapes but for Pinot Noir, it’s the old fashioned equation of planting the grape in conditions that suit it best and constantly keep watch and nurse the fruit through to harvest. Complacency, climate shock or both can translate into a whole vintage’s work coming to naught. That’s the Pinot dilemma and the final point contains some enlightening advice on how to nail it.