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    Pinot Noir – What to Expect

    English Wine 21st September 2022
    An open bottle of Lyme Bay Pinot Noir with a glass poured

    Pinot Noir grapes have been used for wine for a very long time, dating back to Ancient Rome, and more recently the variety has been vital to the UK winemaking industry; in no small part due to the fact it is one of the three grape varieties used in the traditional method for making champagne – alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

    Pinot Noir is the second most planted grape in the UK and the 10th most popular in the world. The juice can be found in a variety of wines, from a Cuvée to a Sparkling Rosé – but growing Pinot Noir grapes in the UK for the purpose of creating a still wine – and particularly a still red wine – is no small feat.

    Due to the cooler climate in the UK, the big challenge is to grow a grape yield that has all the attributes to make a good red Pinot Noir – and not one that is thin and lacking in flavour – which makes us immensely proud of our 2020 vintage!

    If you are new to the world of English wine and want to learn a bit more about the history, we’ve covered it in our brief guide here.

    The History of the Pinot Noir grape

    Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes used for winemaking and takes its name from the combination of the French word for pine (‘Pinot’) – reflecting how the fruit clusters resemble pine cones – and Noir from the dark natural colour of the grape’s skin.

    Dating back to before the first century A.D., the Romans who had invaded France noticed that Gallic tribes (believed to be located in what would later become Burgundy) were drinking wine made from the wild Pinot Noir grapes, which they kept stored in wooden casks.

    Surprised by the unique flavour of the Pinot Noir grape, the Romans quickly adopted Pinot Noir as their own and it became a much-desired item for more than 300 years.

    When the vineyards came under the control of the Catholic Church, the monks tending to the crop soon realised that the variety of grape would produce a different yield depending on where it was growing, and as such, produced different wines.

    With the Pinot Noir grape being the highest quality, it became the official wine for use during Communion and has remained a firm favourite amongst many, right up to the present day – it even has its own holiday, with International Pinot Noir Day celebrated every year on the 18th August.

    Pairing Pinot Noir with food

    Our IWSC Trophy-winning 2020 Pinot Noir is a complex and fruity number, with flavours of black cherries, raspberries, and bramble fruit. The powerful fruit flavours mean they are perfectly suited with salmon and other fatty fishes, pasta dishes and roast chicken.

    Pinot Noir is also a great match for some Asian cuisine. Due to the higher levels of acidity, it matches with dishes that have similar acidity levels, so those dishes that are heavily seasoned or come with a dipping sauce, as well as sushi.

    Lyme Bay’s 2020 Vintage

    As we mentioned earlier, Pinot Noir is a notoriously hard grape to produce a quality, still wine from in the UK. But the hot summer of 2020 allowed the grapes to fully ripen on the vine, resulting in fruit that was quite simply bursting with flavour.

    It was then aged in 30% new French oak, alongside American and Eastern European oak barrels, where it was left for nine months. The separate batches were then blended and left to settle for two weeks before bottling.

    The wine has been left unfiltered to retain the flavours of the fruit and oak and leaves a character that will develop even further with time.

    If you are experiencing our Pinot Noir for the first time, why not check out our beginner’s guide to tasting wine to really amplify the drinking experience?

    Enjoy our full range of English Wines

    Pinot Noir is just one variety of fantastic English Wines that we produce here at Lyme Bay, so why not check out our full range online, or pop into our Cellar Door shop if you’re passing and fancy a chat – we look forward to seeing you soon!

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