Pinot Noir Description

Discover Pinot's Top Flavors & Aromas and How to Pronounce It

Discover a detailed Pinot Noir description, information on how it's different from other types of red wine and how to pronounce Pinot Noir. This is one of my favorites, and this section provides more details on it.

It also includes information on the differences between this red and other popular reds including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel.

pinot noir burgundy barrels

Pinot Noir wine aging in barrels in a cellar in Burgundy (Bourgogne), France

Before we get started with the description, I wanted to provide some tips and information on how to pronounce Pinot Noir. Pinot is pronounced with a silent 't', so the word sounds like it ends in an 'o'.

Noir is a French word meaning 'black'. This refers to the dark color of the grapes used to make this wine. It is pronounced in the same way as the noir in 'film noir'.

Click the play button below to listen to a pronunciation of Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir Description

Pinots are light to medium bodied wines. They are drinkable after only two to five years of aging. The aging process is an important part of bringing out more flavors in this red wine.

Pinot wines are able to stand on their own and are fairly soft. They are typically used as a single varietal wine and are rarely used in red wine blends.

Typical aromas and flavors in Pinots include red fruit such as cherry, raspberry and strawberry. You will also notice Asian and exotic spices along with some florals such as violets or rose pedals.

merry edwards pinot noir
Merry Edwards is a highly regarded winery in Sonoma's Russian River Valley

They are almost always aged in oak, so you will also notice hints of vanilla or oak.

On average, its grapes are only good enough for wine making about seven out of ten years. This makes it pretty expensive, yet fun and challenging for the wineries to create.

You should be able to find a wide variety of this red wine type in your local wine shop. also has a great variety.

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How is it Different from Other Red Types?

The Pinot Noir description makes it different from many of the other types of red wine. Here is how it compares to many of the other popular red wine types:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Pinot noir is much lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Cab wines are medium to full bodied wines and have more dark fruit flavors vs. the red fruit flavors in Pinots. Cabernet wines also take much longer to age than these wines.

  • Merlot: Merlots are also much heavier and bolder than Pinot wines. The Pinot Noir description is more of a lighter bodied wine and a Merlot is defined as a medium to full bodied wine.

  • Syrah: Syrah wine is also closer in body to a Cabernet or Merlot vs a Pinot wine. It's a heavier bodied wine and has hints of spice, pepper and only a little bit of fruitiness.

  • Zinfandel: Pinots are mostly grown in cooler climates, where Zinfandels are grown in warmer climates. Pinots are going to be lighter and smoother than most Zin wines. Zins are bolder, fruitier and more powerful than most Pinot wines.

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