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A Guide To Pinot Noir

Nepenthe Altitude Pinot Noir

What is Pinot Noir?

If you’re in the mood for a smooth and elegant red wine that is luscious and fruity but isn’t heavy or too rich, Pinot Noir is the perfect pick for you.

Pinot Noir is an easy-drinking light to medium-bodied red wine known for its earthy tones and cherry and red berry flavours. It was originally produced in French monasteries in the 14th century and is now one of the most popular wines in the world.

If you are familiar with the French language, you may have gathered that Pinot Noir is a black-skinned grape. While the grapes are known for their roots in Burgundy in France, Pinot Noir is now grown all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Chile.

Pinot Noir grapes are, however, notoriously difficult to grow. Its thin skin makes the grapes particularly sensitive to frost, wind and soil, making the terroir and climate of the growing region critically important. The ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir are in cool or temperate regions, with cooling influences from either the ocean or altitude.

Here at Nepenthe, our passionate winemakers and viticulturists take great pride in cultivating premium bottles of Pinot Noir grown locally in the rich soils and cool climate of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.


Is Pinot Noir red or white?

The answer to this question may seem obvious given our earlier description of Pinot Noir being a medium-bodied red wine. However, there is more to it. The black skin and clear flesh of Pinot Noir grapes make them incredibly versatile. Different wine varietals can be made depending on how much pigment from the skin is used during the production process.

For example, Pinot Noir can be a smooth red (full skin contact); a delicate and crisp rosé (limited skin contact); or it can be the star ingredient in a sparkling white wine or Champagne (zero skin contact).

Compared to its bold-flavoured and rich red cousins like Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, a traditional red Pinot Noir is paler in colour, and its flavours are delicate, earthy and fruity.


Is Pinot Noir sweet or dry?

Pinot Noir is traditionally cultivated as a light-bodied dry red wine that has a translucent ruby colour and is smooth and easy to drink.

To give Pinot Noir its dry taste, the wine producer will allow the full fermentation process to occur, with the yeast consuming most of the sugar.


What is the sugar and calorie content of Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir offers a lower sugar count than many other grape varieties at around one gram of sugar per 100ml. The amount of sugar in a bottle of Pinot Noir, however, can vary depending on where it is grown and whether the producer allows the full fermentation process to occur.

With a low sugar count, the calories in Pinot Noir come mostly from the alcohol content. There are around 80 calories in 100ml of Pinot Noir.


How should Pinot Noir be served?

Before serving your next bottle of this delicate and velvety wine, consider the following:

  • Pinot Noir can be kept for 10 years or more.
  • As it matures, you will be rewarded with greater earthy flavours.
  • Find a cool, dark place to store your bottle where the temperature remains consistent.
  • Chill at 12-14 degrees and pour into a large bell-shaped glass.
  • If you don’t finish the bottle in one sitting, store it in the fridge and use it within two to three days.
Nepenthe Pinnacle collection Pinot Noir

Is Pinot Noir good for cooking?

Pinot Noir is an excellent wine to cook with. Its fruity aromas and earthy undertones make it a fantastic ingredient in a herby dish with chicken and mushrooms or a traditional French coq au vin. It also makes a delicious sticky pan sauce or glaze for grilled lamb or pork.


What food goes well with Pinot Noir?

Due to its light, silky smooth texture and high acidity, Pinot Noir is an ideal partner for white meat like poultry or pork, lighter red meats like lamb, and rich seafood dishes.

Our favourite pairings include:


If you want to pair wine and cheese for your next event, Pinot Noir is also the perfect match for a range of cheeses, including brie, Zamarano, Comté and Taleggio.


Discover Nepenthe Pinot Noir

Nepenthe Altitude Pinot Noir: Lifted raspberry and morello cherry aromas with a touch of fragrant herbs. Bright summer berry fruit flavours extend onto the palate supported by subtle spice providing a soft, velvety finish.

Shop the Nepenthe red wine range today.