Like every wine obsessive, there are certain wines I like to pull out for special occasions, and since it's almost my birthday, I thought I'd let you in on what I'll be cheers-ing with this year: Pinot Noir.
I know that now that I'm in Arizona, I should perhaps adapt. and reach for a bottle of our secret, small batch, sparkling Malvasia Bianca... maybe next year. Don't get me wrong-- I love our sparkling Malv, but I'm really in the mood for something simultaneously earthy and ethereal, delicate and powerful. I'm in the mood for a Pinot.
Pinot is probably one of the most ancient grape varieties still in cultivation today, clocking in at something like 2,000 years of age. We can determine this based on the high number of mutations within its genome, and the huge number of parent-offspring relationships it has with other varieties. It has crossed with Gouais Blanc multiple times to create such varieties as Chardonnay, Gamay, and is the grandparent of Teroldego, and even the great-grandparent of Syrah. In addition, it is either the grandparent, or the sibling of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc-- which is unknown due to a missing genetic link between it and the grape Savagnin that would tell us which was the parent of which.
Pinot grows across the globe, but tends to do best in cooler climates, thus it can be found from its homeland in Northern France's Burgundy, to Russia, to Tasmania, to Patagonia, to Oregon, to the Verde Valley. It has a tendency to bud out early, and can ripen very quickly in hot climates. Its skin is very thin, making is susceptible to various fungal rots, easy to split if the vine takes up too much water, and an easy target for viruses. In short, Pinot is a pain to grow in most climates, and in those where it's not, it tends to taste boring. But when it tastes great, in my opinion, nothing can beat it. Frash berries, cherry cola, roses, black pepper, porcini mushrooms, cedar... the list goes on and on. Pinot is such a delight to sniff and swish.
Luckily, you don't have to wait long for another Pinot bottling from Aridus. This past year we worked with some folks up in Oregon's Willamette Valley to bring in a little Pinot, and we hope to have it bottled in the next few months for release sometime in 2018.
And without further ado, this is what I'll be drinking for my birthday:
Bubbly! Because for all it's beautiful still expressions, Pinot Noir makes a fantastic Champagne. And nothing says celebration like bubbles. I'll save the Burgundy for the Thanksgiving feast.
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