It was once thought that Pinot Noir, along with Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier and a number of other Pinot varieties could be grouped into a Pinot Family, suggesting a common ancestry. However, thanks to DNA profiling, we now know that they are all in fact mutations sharing the same genetic fingerprint.
With over 50 officially recognized clones of Pinot Noir, achieving desired results from the vineyard to the glass requires proper clonal selection. Known to produce memorable wines of complexity and finesse, the ‘Dijon clones’ (113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and 828) tend to be most in demand. Other popular clones grown in California include the Pommard and Wente clones.
On The Vine
Finicky and demanding. Thin-skinned and delicate with a tendency to bud early. Early ripening with relatively low yields. Best suited for temperate, cooler climates with calcareous-clay soils.
In The Glass
In general, Pinot Noir has an easily approachable softness and fruity charm with bright red fruits such as cherries and raspberries showing most prominently in its youth and subtly nuanced earthy, savory notes that develop as it matures. Its best representations, most notably from Burgundy, are known for their distinctive expression of terroir, delicate complexity and potential for aging.
Burgundy and Champagne in France; Germany, where it is known as Spätburgunder; Central Otago and Marlborough, New Zealand; Oregon and California, United States.
Pinot Noir in California
Demand for Pinot Noir throughout the United States in general and California in particular surged in the early part of the 21st Century as a direct result of the wildly popular film Sideways, based on the book by Rex Pickett. The film, much of which was shot on location throughout the Santa Barbara County wine region, centers around a neurotic, wine-loving main character who loves nothing more than praising the many virtues of Pinot Noir, raising it to a level of exalted reverence.
With fog-cooled areas such as Santa Maria and Sta. Rita Hills ideally suited to growing Pinot Noir, there is no doubt the Central Coast has earned itself a place among the world's finest growing regions. Wine critics, scholars and enthusiasts all agree that Pinot Noir produced throughout the California appellations of Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Maria and Sta. Rita Hills have tremendous potential to achieve a level of greatness on par with the legends of Burgundy.
Pinot Noir at Fess Parker Winery
Pinot Noir has long been an important part of Fess Parker Winery's tradition with an emphasis on the two finest growing regions for Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County - Santa Maria and Sta. Rita Hills - as well as a commitment to producing wines of distinctive varietal typicity that best expresse vintage and terroir.