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Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the variety used in the superior red wines of Burgundy and one of the principal Champagne varieties. It is one of the few black varieties ripening early enough to succeed in the coolest viticultural areas such as those of Germany and Switzerland. It is grown in practically every country in which wine grapes are grown, usually not extensively and only in the cooler areas such as the north of Italy or the coastal valleys of California. Pinot Noir is a very old and variable variety. Pinot Noir is not vigorous and takes some years to develop vines of a reasonable size. Some clones show more upright growth than others. The leaves are small to medium, usually almost entire, but sometimes deeply 5-lobed on water shoots or unfruitful vines. They are rough, tend to fold inwards about the midrib and have a few tufts of hair on the lower surface. The bunches are small, cylindrical and winged, and because they are very compact the small, short oval berries are often pressed out of shape. The colour of wines from Pinot Noir is never intense and fruit from hot areas may make uninteresting wines lacking in colour and flavour. However, in cool areas the wines have a distinctive varietal flavour which is highly esteemed.

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