Every type of red wine explained

Pinot Noir comes from the Burgundy region in France. It is a delicate, thin-skinned grape that produces wines that are generally lighter in color and body (or mouthfeel) than most other reds. For this reason, it can be a good place to start your red wine journey as a dark, tannic style can be intimidating to beginners. Common tasting terms associated with Pinot Noir include cherries, anise, mushrooms, and violets (via Passionate about wine).

In Burgundy, the old real estate adage is particularly true: It’s all about location, location, location. Here, probably more than anywhere else in the world, the specificity of the vineyards counts in determining the qualities of the finished product. This concept is called terroir and it combines the different variables that influence the grapes during their growth: climate, soil composition, sun exposure, slope, longitude, latitude, etc. In Burgundy, Pinot tends to be earthy, complex and subtle, although elsewhere Wine Enthusiast explains that it is generally a fruity, light wine that is easy to drink.

It tends to thrive in climates that aren’t too hot because the thin skin can cause the fruit to dry out or acquire a cooked or jammy flavor – undesirable to a purist – when exposed to too much heat. Some areas of California specializing in this finicky variety include the Russian River Valley and Carneros (for Forbes). Both of these regions have the cooler climate necessary to make interesting and delicate wines. In addition, Oregon Pinot has become a true reference style.

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