We are family, I got all my Pinots with me, we are family, Get up everybody and sip!
Pinot, as a general term, refers to a group of varieties from a grape family that is believed to have originated in Burgundy, France. The term “pinot” translates from French to “pine cone,” which is thought to refer to the shape of the clusters.
The Pinot family starts with Pinot Noir, which is a dark-skinned grape, famous for making the red wines of Burgundy. In Germany, where it also grows. it is called “Spätburgunder,” and in Italy it is called “Pinot Nero.”
Pinot Noir is rumored to be genetically unstable grape, therefore it has been known to morph into grapes with different characteristics and colors that produce wines that reflect those differences. This morphing is referred to as “cloning.” If a particular Pinot Noir vine produces juice that is particularly aromatic, or has some other quality that the vine grower likes, they may take cuttings off that vine and propagate that characteristic, which in simple terms, makes that a clone.
In 1971, France release what are known as the Dijon clones (from Northern Burgundy). They are numbers 111 to 115, and some of them as still grown today. There are clones from California, from Mount Eden, and UC Davis.
Technically Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are clones or mutations of Pinot Noir. Pinot Blanc is the white variety that is called “Weissburgunder” in Germany, and “Pinot Bianco” in Italy. Pinot Gris (France) also known as Pinot Grigio (Italy) is a pink or purplish-gray grape. In Germany, Pinot Gris is called “Grauburgunder”. Pinot Meunier is a dark-skinned grape that is grown in Champagne, and may be used in regular Champagnes, Rosé Champagnes, and also Blanc de Noirs.
This coming weekend, June 11th and June 12th, City Vino will feature four wines from the Pinot family.
We will feature two Pinot Noirs, a Pinot Gris, and a Pinot Blanc for your enjoyment.
The first wine is the 2019 Boutinot Les Volets Pinot Noir, from the Pays d’Oc in France. The wine is 100 percent Pinot Noir, with aromas of ripe and freshly picked raspberries and flavors of cherries, strawberries, and raspberries, along with some earthiness. The wine was aged in large old oak barrels in order to give the wine a texture without imparting oak barrel flavors on this fruit-forward wine. This is a great wine for pairing with grilled lamb chops or herbed sausages.
Our second wine, and second Pinot Noir, is the 2015 Chateau St-Thomas Pinot Noir, from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The Bekka Valley is to the east side of the country, and provides altitude, therefore coldness, which helps to produce quality Pinot Noir. This wine is also 100 percent Pinot Noir, with a deep red ruby color. The wine arrives on your palate with strawberries and other ripe berries, sweet spices, earth, and fresh tobacco. For pairings, consider going Mediterranean with hummus and other Lebanese delights or cheeses like Brie, Manchego, or Camembert. This is a wine that can span pairings with chicken, grilled fish, red meats, and pasta.
The next wine on our tasting is 2019 Villa Wolf Pinot Gris from Pfalz Germany. This full bodied, dry, Pinot Gris that has aromas and flavors of pear, peach, green apple, lemon, grapefruit, melon, apricot, pineapple, minerals, stone, and a touch of honey. Giving complexity to the wine, the winemaker chose to ferment a portion in natural French oak, which softens acidity, some in cement, adding minerality, and some in stainless steel, adding the truest of the varietal’s character. Bring on the summer Halibut with cream sauce dishes, mussels and oysters, or gruyere cheese.
Our final wine in our Pinot Family is the 2016 Michel Fonne Pinot Blanc, which is also from the Alsace in France, and too is off-dry, like our previous wine. While most white wines are made to drink young, wines from cold regions like Alsace, with climates that can retain the acidity in the grape, can be incredible with age. This is a 2016 vintage that has orange blossoms, peach, apple, and pear aromas. On the palate, you may find honeysuckle, ripe citrus, and orchard fruits, along with a chalky yet vibrant minerality. This is also a wine that is a great aperitif, but would be delicious with salad, shellfish, and meat terrines or platters.
Tasting wine is fun and we’ve just begun, to get our share of this world's delights, High hopes we have for the future, and our glass is in sight, we are family!