The Wine Cellar: The ever-popular Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties to be grown for the purpose of wine-making. The production of this wine dates back more than 2,000 years. The ancient Romans are known to have produced wine from this type of grape. More recently, it has received much attention since the release of the 2004 movie, Sideways, and consequently sales have increased.

Pinot Noir is a variety of red grape and is grown in many regions of the world, including Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, Argentina, Oregon and California. The most famous area where the Pinot Noir grape is cultivated is in France’s Burgundy region, although California and Oregon are gaining notoriety for their wines as well.

Generally speaking, Pinot Noir wines have a soft, velvety texture and are light to medium bodied. They have an aroma consisting of black cherries and raspberries. The grapes are sometimes used in the production of sparkling and still red wines.

Pinot Noir goes well with a variety of foods, including salmon, swordfish, lamb, pheasant, duck, pasta and any dish that includes mushrooms. This wine tends to be more expensive than other wines because Pinot Noir grapes are among the most difficult to grow and ferment. These grapes need warm days and cool nights to grow properly, and are also susceptible to frosts because it is one of the early leafing varieties.

Even if you are a person who doesn’t care for red wines, you are sure to find a Pinot Noir that will suit your taste. These wines have a smooth texture, and a variety of flavors and aromas. Some of these include tomato, violet, cinnamon, mint, chocolate, tea, olive and more.

Following are some of my favorites. Most of these are reasonably priced. However, many Pinot Noirs can cost as much as $80-$100 per bottle.

Sutter Home, California—This Pinot Noir has black cherry and blackberry flavors. It also has a smooth texture with spicy aromas. It is less expensive at around $7 a bottle. This is a good wine to try if you’ve never tried Pinot Noir before. It can also be found at almost any store.

Turning Leaf Vineyards, California—This wine has flavors of cherry and various spices. It can be found at almost any store, and is priced at around $10 a bottle. This is also a great wine to try if you’re just learning about Pinot Noir.

Smoking Loon, California—The main flavor in this wine is also cherries and it has a very smooth taste to it. It sells for around $10 a bottle.

Duck Pond, Oregon—The state of Oregon is famous for their Pinot Noir wine since their climate is ideal. This one has a peppery aroma as well as cherry flavors. It is a bit more expensive and sells for around $20 a bottle.

Kendall Jackson, California—This wine is also more expensive at around $24 a bottle. It has flavors of strawberry, cherry and blackberry with hints of chocolate.

Nicole Lindsay is an administrative assistant at Rockford College and a resident of Loves Park.

From the Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!