Ask Wine Wizard

Discussing Pros v. Cons of Pinot Noir


Burt Reber —Sparks, Nevada asks,

I live in Nevada and I’ve been ordering frozen grapes in buckets for the past few harvests from Wine Grapes Direct, mostly Syrah, Zinfandel, and Cabernet. We’ve never tried Pinot Noir, though my wife has really been itching to give it a whirl. We’ve watched the movie Sideways and have also read that Pinot is really hard to grow and make . . . is that true?

Pinot Noir has quite a reputation. Often known as the “Heartbreak Grape” and lovingly discussed, dissected, and degustated (is that even a word?) by rabid Pinot-philes the world over, Pinot Noir was being talked about in the wine world well before the movie Sideways thrust it onto an international stage. Many years after Miles and friends brought the joys of Pinot to a wider audience, the tidal wave of Pinot Noir shows no signs of slowing down and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I grew up in California’s Santa Barbara County, spent my first harvest making estate-grown Pinot Noir at the unique Chalone Vineyard, and now make Pinot Noir at Garnet Vineyards. As a dyed-in-the-wool (or in the hair, during harvest) Pinot-freak, I wanted to share with you some quirky factoids and some common misconceptions about my favorite grape. Pinot Noir: A Little Fiddly in the Vineyard The tightly-clustered bunches and thin skins always means that Pinot Noir will be a bit more difficult during the growing season. If you’re going to be buying frozen grapes in a pail, you
Response by Alison Crowe.