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Pinot Noir, France

Pinot Noir is a red grape that is one of the most challenging to grow in any part of the world. Due to its thin skin and tight bunches, it is susceptible to both mould and disease. However, when it is successful, it produces some of the most amazing wines in the world. Although its home is Burgundy, it has emerged as a popular variety in Australia. Representing only 1% of grapes crushed, it has built a high profile with a number of world-class, distinctly Australian wines being produced. The greatest examples coming from the cool climates of the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and the Yarra Valley.

Pinot Noir performs well on the deepish limestone based subsoils that are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or. However, yields need to be kept in check. Pinot Noir's concentration and varietal characters disappear rapidly if yields are excessive. Some of the best and most expensive wines in the world are still found in Burgundy.

Pinot Noir also plays a key role in Champagne, being blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. In the US, Oregon and Washington state are producing outstanding wines. In New Zealand, great Pinot Noirs are crafted in Martinborough and in Central Otago, New Zealand's only true continental climate.

The thin skins of Pinot Noir mean the wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However, the best wines have grippy tannins, fragrance and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, but as it matures, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouthfeel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey nuances emerging.
Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
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  1. Bertaine Et Fils Pinot Noir 2019
    The nose displays raspberry and cherry aromas with a hint of fresh herbs. A light-medium bodied palate, with ripe fruit flavours of red currant, cherry and strawberry fruits. Some hints of baking spices and subtle oak in the background. To ... Learn More
  2. Le Versant 'Vin De Pays D'Oc' Pinot Noir 2020
    Les Vignobles Foncalieu named 'Cooperative Winery of the Year 2012' by the Revue du Vin de France - the biggest magazine in the French wine industry! A strong and aromatic nose of red fruits mixed with liquorice notes. Medium bodied, ... Learn More
  3. Maison de Grand Esprit Côte de Nuits Villages La Belle Voisine 2009
    "Meaning Great Mind, Grand Esprit is a nod to the understanding of terroir, or the natural environment in which a great wine is produced. A Grand Esprit wine will always beautifully reflect the harmonious balance between the land it comes ... Learn More
  4. Chateau De Lachassagne Clos Du Chateau Monopole Bourgogne  Pinot Noir 2020
    Château de Lachassagne is an exceptional place, located in the very south of Burgundy, with a unique view over the Saône Valley. It is a 62 hectares propriety, totally surrounded by small walls called ’"Clos". A clean, pure expression ... Learn More
  5. Domaine Chavy Chouet Bourgogne Rouge La Taupe 2019
    Chavy-Chouet's Pinot Noir is classified as humble Bourgogne Rouge, yet its fruit comes from an excellent single-vineyard site near Pommard. Great value. This well-structured wine with rounded, sophisticated tannins gives instant pleasure but can be kept for up to a ... Learn More
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    Mark Faber
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    Jasper Morris MW
  6. Domaine Rossignol-Trapet Bourgogne Rouge 2019
    Brothers David and Nicolas Rossignol run this 100% Organic and Biodynamically farmed Domaine located in the very heart of Gevrey Chambertin. Very early to the Sustainable farming movement, all the family's vineyards, located in some of the most impressive vineyards in ... Learn More
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    Vinous
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    Allan Meadows
  7. Domaine Rossignol-Trapet Savigny-Les-Beaune 2019
    Brothers David and Nicolas Rossignol run this 100% Organic and Biodynamically farmed Domaine located in the very heart of Gevrey Chambertin. Very early to the Sustainable farming movement, all the family's vineyards, located in some of the most impressive vineyards in ... Learn More
  8. Domaine Matrot Auxey-duresses Rouge 2019
    Pinot Noir from vines with an average age of 35 years. Complete destemming followed by cold vatting for 3 to 6 days at 10°C. Fermentation with natural yeasts for 12 to 18 days. Pumping-over/pigeage twice a day depending on the vintage. 15 months maturing on ... Learn More
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    Burghound
  9. Jacquinot & Fils Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
    Jean-Manuel Jacquinot obtained a degree in Oenology at the esteemed University of Reims. After this he became trainee oenologist at the world famous house of Veuve Clicquot. Today, Jean-Manuel has over 20 years of experience in making Champagne, is a Member ... Learn More
  10. Eric de Suremain Monthelie Rouge 1er Cru ‘Clou des Chênes’ 2018
    This is always the demure wine of the group; shy and subtle. A beautiful ruby/garnet colour, very lifted and bright. Very fine aromas, delicate - red fruit, strawberries, jellied cherries. Very fine, very attractive. This has considerable finesse and ... Learn More
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    Decanter
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    The Wine Advocate
  11. Faiveley Beaune 1er Cru Clos de l'Ecu (monopole) 2005
    The "Clos de l'Écu" appellation dates back to the Middle Ages. This clos enabled owners at the time to pay the sums they owed to the Dukes of Bourgogne. It is a monopole parcel and was purchased in 2003 by ... Learn More
  12. Domaine Tortochot Gevrey Chambertin 'Champerrier' Vielle Vignes 2018
    The wine beautifully expresses its old vine origin, with intense, concentrated fruit upon first smell, displaying aromas of blackberry, cherry, raspberry and a delicious jamminess. The palate shows great balance and structure, framed by velvet tannins and a smooth mouthfeel. ... Learn More
  13. Domaine Chavy Chouet Volnay Sous La Chapelle 2020
    The young vines of this plot make it a purplish coloured wine, with a very intense fruity nose from the first nose. It is undoubtedly a Volnay with character, full in the mouth and always carried on the fruit felt ... Learn More
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    Mark Faber
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    Jasper Morris MW
  14. Thierry Glantenay Pommard 1er Cru Riottes 2019
    "The disarmingly modest Thierry Glantenay is emerging as one of the Côte de Beaune's most exciting producers of red wine." -William Kelley, The Wine Advocate Perhaps the Glantenays are not well known because not much was bottled and sold ... Learn More
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    The Wine Advocate
  15. Domaine Jacques Prieur Beaune Champs Pimont Rouge 1er Cru 2019
    Since 1868, Domaine Jacques Prieur has created one of the rarest mosaics of terroirs in Burgundy. This splendid Premier Cru is 100% Pinot Noir produced from a 2.06 hectare plot, 100% aged in new oak barrels for 17 months. The 2019 is intense and dark ruby ... Learn More
  16. Pierre Boisson Auxey-Duresses Rouge 1er Cru 2018
    A superb, indulgent Auxey-Duresses, with very great refinement. The nose is bursting with fresh cherry, blackcurrant, some floral notes and an earthy tone. The palate is deep and intense, with a juicy core, fine tannins and a velvet texture. A ... Learn More
  17. Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Chambolle-Musigny 2017
    Named Producer of the Year in 2016 by “Bourgogne Aujourd’hui,” Patrick Landanger has truly restored this historic estate to its former glory. Arguably the finest and most prestigious Burgundy house in Volnay, Domaine de la Pousse d’Or was originally ... Learn More
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    Allen Meadows
  18. Domaine Jean Tardy Nuits-St-Georges Bas De Combe Vieilles Vignes 2015
    (from 80-year-old vines adjacent to Vosne-Romanée): Moderately saturated dark red. Crushed blackberry and spicy oak scents are lifted by a subtle violet topnote. Full, supple and very ripe, with the high percentage of millerandé grapes giving the wine a ... Learn More
  19. Domaine Jacques Prieur Beaune Clos Feguine Rouge 1er Cru 2019
    Since 1868, Domaine Jacques Prieur has created one of the rarest mosaics of terroirs in Burgundy. This splendid Premier Cru is 100% Pinot Noir produced from a 2.06 hectare plot, 100% aged in new oak barrels for 17 months. The 2019 is intense and dark ruby ... Learn More
  20. Domaine Armand Heitz Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Poutures 2019
    It seems that the site of Pommard is one of the oldest winemaking activities of the Cote. Installed in this place for more than 2000 years, the Gaulois would have selected and multiplied the pinot noir. A temple dedicated to the ... Learn More
  21. Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens 2019
    Founded in 1731 in Beaune by Michel Bouchard, Bouchard Père & Fils, is one of the oldest wine estates in Burgundy, perpetuating tradition for nearly 3 centuries and 9 generations. In 1775, Joseph Bouchard acquired his first vineyards in Volnay in the famous “Les ... Learn More
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    Decanter
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    Burghound
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    Vinous
  22. Domaine Armand Heitz Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles 2019
    '"Bright crimson colour with ripe fruit aromas on the nose. Nice balance. Very chic on the nose, largely on red fruits but with attractive floral notes. Slight acidity with tannins at the end of the mouth. Very elegant." Jasper Morris ... Learn More
  23. Chateau de Pommard Clos Marey Monge Monopole Esprits 2018
    Clos Marey‑Monge is a collection of different micro-climates and soil types. Each of our seven terroirs – Simone, Nicolas-Joseph, Grands Esprits, Chantrerie, 75 Rangs, Micault, and Émilie – is a different composition of limestone, iron-rich clay, alluvium and other minerals essential to ... Learn More
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    Jancis Robinson MW
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    Alistair Cooper MW
  24. Domaine Comte Armand Volnay 1er Cru Les Fremiets 2017
    This is beautifully heady and perfumed. Some parcels are nearly 90 years old, and others 35 years old, with the crop a healthy 49.6hl/ha. Again, there is the impression of purity, sensuality and structure, aided in part by the contiguity of ... Learn More
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    The Wine Advocate
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    Vinous
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  25. Domaine Chavy Chouet Pommard Premier Cru Les Chanlins 2020
    Les Chanlins is located above and beside Les Rugiens, closer to the village of Volnay than to Pommard itself. It is a steeply sloping rocky plot producing a tense, mineral wine with very noble tannins ... Learn More
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    Jasper Morris MW
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    Mark Faber
  26. Thibault Liger-Belair Gevrey-Chambertin La Croix des Champs 2018
    Identifiable by its prosaic location by the bus-stop on the outskirts of Gevrey, this vineyard has quite heavy soil, whose effect Thibault leavens with plenty of whole-bunch (50%). The wine is bright and creamy with little ambition for complexity, but with ... Learn More
  27. Chateau de Pommard Clos Marey Monge Monopole 2011
    Clos Marey‑Monge is a collection of different micro-climates and soil types. Each of our seven terroirs – Simone, Nicolas-Joseph, Grands Esprits, Chantrerie, 75 Rangs, Micault, and Émilie – is a different composition of limestone, iron-rich clay, alluvium and other minerals essential to ... Learn More
  28. Thierry Glantenay Pommard 1er Cru Sausilles 2019
    "The disarmingly modest Thierry Glantenay is emerging as one of the Côte de Beaune's most exciting producers of red wine." -William Kelley, The Wine Advocate Perhaps the Glantenays are not well known because not much was bottled and sold ... Learn More
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    The Wine Advocate
  29. Domaine Ballot Millot Pommard 1er Pezerolles 2017
    ................... ... Learn More
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    Allen Meadows
  30. Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle Musigny 2018
    For more than two decades, Thibault Liger-Belair has been following organic and biodynamic practices. He believes that winemaking starts not with the fruit, but with the soil. “We all talk about terroir, but my focus is on the soil and ... Learn More
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    Jancis Robinson MW
  31. Domaine Faiveley Mercurey 'Clos des Myglands' 2015 (1.5L)
    Wonderful aromas of plums, orange peel and stones. Full-bodied, round and soft with a juicy finish. A deep and rich pinot. Fantastic wine. Made from six hectares. Best ever? ... Learn More
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    James Suckling
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    Wine Spectator
  32. Domaine Faiveley Nuits-St-Georges 'Aux Chaignots' 2015
    Bright red with ruby tones. Sexy scents of raspberry, redcurrant, rose petal and exotic spices (Flous says the wine's floral character is due to its whole-cluster component). Fresh and energetic, with suave, lightly saline red berry and spice flavors lifted ... Learn More
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    Allen Meadows
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    Vinous
  33. Thibault Liger-Belair Aloxe Corton 1er cru La Toppe au Vert 2018
    Just by Corton Les Maréchaudes, the vines are in a south-facing basin of broken rock, filled by eroded topsoil. This is not in the broad-shouldered Aloxe style; it’s delicate and linear, with appealing floral and red-fruit notes, and ... Learn More
  34. Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle-Musigny Les Foucheres VV 2018
    The plot is next to the Premier Cru "les Borniques" to the east and to the south, about fifty meters from the Grand Cru "le Musigny". Situated on reddish brown clays rich in iron oxides on about 30 cm then we ... Learn More
  35. Domaine Armand Heitz Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2019
    Rugiens has been renowned and vinified in isolated vats for several centuries. They were worshipped in the 19th century and considered, with Corton, as the best wines of Beaune. This adulation was reduced to the benefit of the name of ... Learn More
  36. Hudelot-Noellat Vougeot 1er Cru "Les Petits Vougeot" 2015
    Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat is a Burgundy producer of high-quality Pinot Noir from prestigious sites in the Côte de Nuits. The domaine was founded in Vougeot by Alain Hudelot in 1962, although the Hudelot family can trace its history in Burgundy ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
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    Allen Meadows
  37. Thierry Violot-Guillemard Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2017
    The grapes are all hand-harvested and the wine aged for between 15 and 20 months with the use of 50-60% new oak. There is no fining or filtering. Only 25% of the bottles produced are exported, mainly to the USA and Japan. ... Learn More
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    The Wine Advocate
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    Allen Meadows
  38. Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle Musigny Vieilles Vignes Magnum 2017
    For more than two decades, Thibault Liger-Belair has been following organic and biodynamic practices. He believes that winemaking starts not with the fruit, but with the soil. “We all talk about terroir, but my focus is on the soil and ... Learn More
  39. Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Chambolle Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2017
    For more than two decades, Thibault Liger-Belair has been following organic and biodynamic practices. He believes that winemaking starts not with the fruit, but with the soil. “We all talk about terroir, but my focus is on the soil and ... Learn More
  40. Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Charmottes 2018
    Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the lieu-dit Les Charmottes of 0.40 hectares of very old vineyards planted in 1962, located on the border of the Premiers Crus Argilats and Bousselots in the northern part of the appellation, on clay soils and ... Learn More
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