Pinot Noir has been a wine of choice since the peak of the Roman Empire.
The initial attraction for red wines is often the full-bodied varieties like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. With it’s lighter body and colour, a Pinot Noir may seem to literally pale in comparison, but eventually many red wine lovers discover that the Romans were on to something. Pinot Noir offers an elegance and complexity that is truly seductive.
Today in the Okanagan Valley, there’s a growing consensus that this is a great place to produce it. It’s early ripening, making it suitable for more northern climates such as Germany where it’s known as Spätburgunder.
With the Central and North Okanagan areas leading the way, Pinot Noir has become the most planted red grape in British Columbia. The BC Wine Institute counted well over a thousand acres in production by 2014 and the trend continues.
“I know that Spierhead has had a ton of success over the last couple of years”, says The View Winery winemaker Mike Anderson, “and they’re just a stone’s throw away from us.”
That’s one of the reasons The View is preparing to debut it’s first Pinot Noir which was just harvested in 2017. “The flavours are there, the numbers from our early analysis of the wines are right where I want them”, says Anderson.
And he can’t help but notice that the big corporate wineries are also betting on Pinot Noir’s future both in the vineyard and in the marketplace.
“They’re buying up land in this area for Pinot and Chardonnay. That’s what they’re planting. And they don’t do those kind of big land purchases without doing their research.”
The View’s Pinot Noir program builds on the success of Pinotage, another closely-related early ripening grape which has been the winery’s signature red since 2007.
Other wineries with a focus on Pinot Noir include: Mission Hill’s Martin’s Lane, Tantalus Vineyards, Quails’ Gate, Meyer Family Vineyards, 50th Parallel, CedarCreek, Howling Bluff, Niche Wine Co., Moraine Estate Winery, Liquidity, Arrowleaf Cellars and See Ya Later Ranch. Further north Privato Vineyard and Winery in Kamloops is not just producing Pinot Noir, but winning awards with it.
We may be following an ancient path here, but don’t rush out and buy Roman style goblets. Really big wine glasses are the preferred choice for Pinot Noir. All the better to enjoy the fruity aromas that make it so special.