Whether it’s a delicate Grigio or a robust Noir, you really can’t beat a good Pinot. This type of wine is incredibly popular with newbies and aficionados alike, and there’s a fascinating history that complements its reputation.
Despite being rather difficult to grow, vineyards across the globe put their expertise to full effect in order to keep Pinot Noir harvests strong. Originating in France, today you can find Pinot Noir grapes everywhere from Australia to California, representing its high marketability and well-deserved adoration amongst wine drinkers.
A dominant grape in France since the time when the Romans were still building roads throughout Europe, it might surprise you that it’s actually highly prone to disease and rot (similar to when Merlot almost disappeared in the 1950s). However, providing that it receives just the right amount of water and sunshine, followed by proper storage, the Pinot Noir grape results in the delectable wine that we all know and love.
Whilst Pinot Grigio was brought to everyone’s attention by Emperor Charles IV in the 1300s, Pinot Noir had been famous for centuries thanks to the Cistercian order of monks in Burgundy, who applied devotion and hard labour to their vineyards. These holy men not only grew and cultivated the Pinot Noir grape, they also documented its evolution in detailed written records, which helped future generations to understand the best locations, environments and techniques for optimal flavour.
As is to be expected, these monks weren’t massive capitalists, but when the other red grape of the region, Gamay, was outlawed (due to the Duke of Burgundy finding it too bitter and being a bit of a drama queen) Pinot Noir suddenly became a coveted commodity.
In later centuries, our Stateside friends took note of their European cousins and started planting Pinot Noir themselves, which was matched by vintners in Australia and New Zealand giving it a go too. And the rest is history, as Pinot Noir is now celebrated worldwide for being lighter than other red wines whilst still offering heady perfumes and sweet red berry flavours – perfect for parties and quiet nights in alike.
View our selection of Pinot Noir wines.
Light, zesty and utterly refreshing, Pinot Grigio is a major favourite around the world. A dry white wine with excellent levels of acidity and flavours of citrus and fresh fruit, you really can’t go wrong with a bottle of quality Grigio at any type of gathering.
Many believe it to have originated in Italy, yet its birthplace was also in France. Standing out from the crowd, the grape’s skin is greyish blue, rather than the usual green shade that comes with most white varieties.
Starting life in good old Burgundy and later transported to Switzerland in the 14th century, it was only later that it appeared in Italy, which is where it received its new name “Grigio” in place of the French “Gris”. Over the years, Pinot Grigio became the most popular wine in Italy, as well as the most imported wine in the USA.
You may come across some wine drinkers who consider it a very basic wine and beneath the sophistication of their palates, yet this is simply down to its enormous popularity. As is often the case, when something is adopted by the masses, the snobs seek out something different, abandoning their original preference. So if you ever offer someone a glass of Pinot Grigio and receive a raised eyebrow, take solace in the fact that you’re humble enough to enjoy a wine that remains excellent to this day, despite being widely available. It was, after all, quaffed by an emperor and is still served to royalty, so forget about the naysayers and immerse your senses in its delicate aromas and revitalising tang.
View our selection of Pinot Grigio wines.
Enjoy your wine