Growing Pinot Noir

Pinot is a difficult grape to work with. It's hard to get a consistent, great Pinot and the problem starts with the plant. Pinot Noir is genetically unstable. A parent plant can produce a plant with wildly different berry size and shape and even flavour. Cabernet Sauvignon has 12 genetically individual clones but Pinot Noir has up to 1,000 possible clones.

Pinot Noir seems to pick up every known vine disease, mould, fungus and/or pest. It's an early ripening variety so spring frosts are hazardous. When picked too late the thin-skinned berries will shrivel up and lose all flavour. Extracting all the colour is another challenge. When fully ripe, the Pinot Noir berry is a very light purple colour and requires careful handling to make the most of the light colour.

Pinot Noir goes through a range of changes as it matures. A young wine will show simple fruity characteristics including: cherry, plum, raspberry and strawberry. The complex flavours emerge as it ages revealing chocolate, earthiness, smoke and truffles.