Pinot Noir: The Family Tree
Elegant, sexy, and capricious, Pinot Noir is perhaps the most beloved grape in the world. Its allure drives winemakers to become artists, and wine lovers to spend enormous sums of money. Many sommeliers see their lifelong quest to discover the ultimate experience of this boutique wine.
In the Pinot Noir class, you are taken on a worldwide survey of everywhere the grape is grown, extending from Burgundy to the New World. Wine lovers will gain a broader understanding and appreciation of fine wines; aficionados will have their passion fed.
This class mixes luxury and learning like few sessions can. We will feature rare wines from some of the greatest Pinot Noir vineyards and regions in the world. However, you will also discover a few wines that are actually affordable, too.
In this class, we don’t just feature Pinot Noir, but selections from its family tree.
The Pinot Family Tree
The Pinot family tree is the most complex. This is only partly because Pinot (Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc have identical DNA profiles) and an obscure eastern French, pale-skinned variety Gouais Blanc produced so many progeny… But Gouais Blanc, encountered today occasionally as Gwäss, has also been shown to be a parent of dozens of other varieties including Riesling, the great grape of Germany; Chenin Blanc; Colombard; the middle-European dark-skinned Blaufränkisch; and Muscadelle, the third white wine grape of south-west France with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Few of the other parents are known.
Unexpectedly, the Pinot of Burgundy is related to Syrah and Viognier of the Rhône as well as to a host of Italian grape varieties, including those most famously responsible for Valpolicella and Soave respectively. Other varieties apparently descended from, or at least closely related to, Gouais Blanc include such varied vines as the Petit Verdot of Bordeaux, Furmint of Tokaj in Hungary and Silvaner of Germany and Alsace.
Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine
Tasting Sheets from Previous Classes
1. Gatinois Aÿ Grand Cru Brut (France)
1. Hannes Reeh 2017 Weissburgunder (Austria)
2. Villa de Moreschi 2017 Pinot Grigio (Italy)
1. Domaine des Billards 2014 Saint-Amour Beaujolais Cru (France)
2. Southern Right 2017 Pinotage (South Africa)
1. Westrey 2010 Pinot Noir (Oregon)
2. Wilde Farm 2014 Donnelly Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir (California)
1. Domaine Arnoux Pere et Fils 2013 “Les Pimentiers” (France)
There is No Pinot. Everything is Pinot
1. Ployez-Jacquemart NV Champagne Extra Quality Brut
What is Pinot but Should Not Be
1. Wild Horse 2013 Central Coast
2. Cashburn 2011 Central Otago
Two Bees in a Russian River Valley
1. Balletto 2012 Santa Rosa Plain
2. Baliwick 2010 Green Valley
The Glorious O-S-P
1. Lucia 2006 Santa Lucia Highlands
2. Shea Wine Cellars 2008 Yamhill-Carlton
1. Domaine Bruno Colin 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes
2. Domaine Henri Boillot 2010 Pommard
1. Moutard Grande Cuvée Brut Champagne
1. Domaine de L’Arlot 2009 Côte de Nuits Villages Clos du Chapeau
2. Louis Latour 2007 Volnay Grand Vin de Bourgogne
1. Siduri 2007 Sonatera Vineyard Sonoma Coast
2. Loring Wine Co. 2006 Santa Rita Hills, Clos Pepe Vineyard
1. Lachini Vineyards 2008 Chehalem Mountains Estate
2. Shea Wine Cellars 2008 Shea Vineyard Block 22
1. Ayala “Majeur” Brut
1. Hospices de Beaune 2006 Beaune Premier Cru
2. Domaine de L’Arlot 2009 Cote de Nuits Villages, Clos du Chapeau
1. Adrian Fog 2007 “Numbers” Sonoma Coast
2. Evening Land 2010 Sta. Rita Hills, Estate Vineyard
Northern Willamette Valley
1. Chehalem 2006 Ridgecrest Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA
2. St. Innocent 2006 Seven Springs Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills
Think you have Pinot Noir handled? Take our Wine Quiz and find out!