Black Pinot, the first single-varietal website, is a tribute to Pinot Noir. For a great many decades now, Pinot Noir has been the subject of mystery, infatuation and fascination, so extraordinary the wines it produces can be. For wine lovers, critics, august sommeliers and discerning collectors alike, it is a grape in a class of its own – Pinot Noir is king.
While the origins of Pinot Noir hearken back to the dawn of time, one could say that the grape’s fabulous saga truly began in 14th century Burgundy. For it was there in 1395 that Philip the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy, decreed that Gamay would henceforth be banished from his lands in favour of Pinot Noir – considered more qualitative and above all more adapted to the Burgundian terroir. Meanwhile, centuries of work by monks in the region would profoundly transform our understanding of the cultivation and potential of this variety, notably through the study of the climats (or terroirs) of Burgundy, now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Moreover, it was the Cistercian order in the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, along with the Cluniac order in the Côte Chalonnaise, Mâcon and what is today Romanée-Saint-Vivant, who were the first to demarcate their vineyards into clos or walled enclosures, fundamentally reshaping the region’s landscape. Clos des Corvées, Clos Prieur, Clos de Vougeot... so many evocative, magical names for Burgundy Pinot Noir. Fortunately, though, Black Pinot does not stop in Burgundy!
Pinot Noir was widely introduced throughout all the great vineyards of Northern and Eastern Europe to satisfy the thirst of kings and nobles. Today, whether it is planted on ancient terroirs in France or in the rising vineyards of the New World , Pinot Noir is remarkable for its ability to express a sense of place, to transcribe each terroir in the most elegant and faithful manner. Depending on the region, it is known by numerous – though generally unambiguous – names: Pinot de Franconier, Maurillon Noir, Petit plant doré, Savagnin Noir, Bourguignon Noir, Petit Noirin... indeed, Pinot Noir has an abundance of synonyms due to its wide distribution: 30,700 hectares are planted in France alone. First place goes to Champagne and its 13,000 hectares, with Burgundy a close second at 10,500 hectares, followed by the Loire Valley, Languedoc Roussillon and Alsace. Today, Pinot Noir plantations around the world now exceed 80,000 hectares in total, with a strong presence in California (15,000 ha), New Zealand (5000 ha), Oregon (4500 ha), and finally Australia (4400 ha).
This sensitive grape variety, with its bluish black or dark purple sheen, has clusters so tight they resemble black pine cones, which is precisely how it got its name (in French, pin = pine, noir = black). It produces everything from sweet white juices without pressed without maceration, all the way to the most intensely coloured cuvées imaginable for red wines. On the nose, it is probably the grape variety with the most complex and interminable aromatic palette, boasting everything from fruit and spice to empyreumatic/toasted, animal and undergrowth aromas; one discovers notes of blackcurrant, cherry, blackberry, raspberry and morello cherry, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and tonka bean, but also coffee, tobacco, cocoa, leather, fur, wet earth, truffle... As for the taste, Pinot Noir is a veritable chameleon which somehow nevertheless remains unmistakable, and depending on the influence of the soil, the vinification and the ageing process, it is capable of producing a mosaic of different styles. For Black Pinot, our focus is on authentic wines whose profiles are representative of their terroir, often in the image of their winemaker. Pinots for quenching your thirst or for celebrating the grandest occasions; Pinots with a warm, modern structure, and marked tannins; natural Pinots with aromas so bewitching, you’d think it was voodoo; Pinots cultivated organically or biodynamically, and others with cooler, more classic profiles, which will slowly unveil their charms in 10 to 15 years.
Black Pinot is a showcase, the fruit of years of globetrotting. Whether it is called Pinot Noir, Blauer Spätburgunder, Rouci Modré, Blauer Klevner, Pinot Nero, or Schwarzer Burgunder, whether it is planted in Burgundy or elsewhere, you will find it here in all its forms and colours, gleaned from the four corners of the world for you. Black Pinot is a hymn to Pinot Noir, an embassy for the king of grapes, representing Pinot Noir in all its diversity. A window open to the world…