Pinot Noir Gets a Bad Rap
by Denman Moody, www.theadvancedoenophile.com
As published in Swoon Memorial, January 2023
Pinot Noir is one of the world’s great red wines, especially with chicken dishes and even with vegetables when one wants a red wine. Unfortunately, many don’t find Pinot Noir attractive. There is a reason for this. They have never tasted a Pinot Noir from a Pinot Noir glass. Also, in my opinion, most good Pinot Noirs start at about $25 a bottle.
A good Pinot Noir needs a good Pinot Noir glass more than any other wine. For your own experiment, obtain a top Pinot Noir glass (Riedel makes an outstanding vessel) and put any other type of wine glass beside it—perhaps a standard wine glass or a Cabernet glass. Pour 3 or 4 ounces of wine into each glass. First, tilt the Pinot Noir glass toward you, stick your nose down into it, and smell the bouquet—usually cherries, but also other lovely flavors. Then take a nice sip—also lovely. Now, pick up the other glass and smell the bouquet. I find that beautiful bouquet has almost disappeared. And a sip is equally unimpressive!
Some of my favorite Pinot Noir Producers are Alexana, Stewart, Gary Farrell, Calera, Dutton Goldfield, RAEN, Goldeneye, Migration, Patz and Hall, Cuvaison, and Donum. Of course, red Burgundies are Pinot Noir, and to drink an expensive red Burgundy ($250+) from anything but a Pinot Noir glass is a real tragedy!
Unfortunately, many fine restaurants with great California Pinots and red Burgundies serve them in their one standard wine glass, which works well for Chardonnay and Cabernet, but not Pinot Noir. Over the years, I have shamed several of them into having Pinot Noir glasses!