Pinot Noir Pinot Noir makes some of the world's greatest wines - indeed, it's the principal red grape in the vineyards of Burgundy and Champagne. Notoriously difficult to grow well, it's not the most widely planted variety. However, some New World regions, particularly Oregon in the USA and Central Otago in New Zealand, are producing some spectacular examples. Being thin-skinned, Pinot Noir makes a noticeably pale wine, but has intense perfume and flavour. When young, its aromas range from freshly crushed raspberries or strawberries to plum jam. With age, Pinot Noir often shows violets, game or truffles. When destined to be a still red wine, it is rarely blended. In Champagne though, it's often blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to give some of the world's finest sparkling wines. Signature Style Satin-textured with ethereal notes of strawberry, raspberry and black cherry Famous Examples Famous Examples Felton Road, Michel Thomas Sancerre Rose, Domaine Henri Gouges Les Pruliers Principal regions Otago, Sonoma Valley, Oregon, Casablanca Synonyms Pinot Nero, Pineau, Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder Did you know? Red Burgundies from the Côte de Nuits to the Côte de Beaune, are labelled according to the village or even vineyard of origin. 'Pinot Noir' is rarely seen on the label. Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties to be cultivated for the purpose of making wine. Pinot Noir sales rocketed in 2004 following the release of the American wine comedy, Sideways. If you like Pinot Noir, you might also like: Pinotage - A variety created from Pinot Noir and Cinsault and arguably South Africa's 'trophy' red wine style. Blanc de Noirs Champagne - often made exclusively from Pinot Noir.