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Naturally in Niagara

The Grape Files: Pinot Noir

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Pinot Noir is one of Niagara’s finest –  we make high-quality, terroir-driven wines that sing fruit forward but are earthy with incredible depth on the palate. Talk about a wine worth drinking! Our purveyors of Pinot Noir are passionate about letting the vineyard speak in the wine, encouraging the grapes to soak up their surroundings. This is one of the wines commonly referenced when winemakers note that great wine is made in the vineyard.

France’s Burgundy region is where Pinot Noir was cultivated to fame, becoming internationally renowned as one of the finest wines in the world. The ability of this grape to identify itself right down to the specific block in a vineyard is incredible, and for that reason, it is a favourite among aficionados. The Pinot Noirs of the old world are earthy and gritty and sometimes have a barnyard aroma to them (this is actually titled brettanomyces). They also exhibit fruitful notes, but the signature of the old world adds a rustic feel to the wine.

In the new world, Pinot Noir is cultivated as a brighter, more fruitful wine that uses earthiness as the secondary flavour component. It should be remembered that these are generalizations and certainly not an encompassing definition for all new world Pinot Noirs. You could come across a Pinot Noir that is full of earth and be digging to find the fruit (and if you do, comment and share!) New world regions that are famous for Pinot Noir are New Zealand, Washington, Oregon and, of course, Niagara.


Pinot Noir has been called the ultimate food wine – with a plethora of delicious dining partners, this wine is a knock-out when paired well.  On the meat side, keep it light and lean. Think turkey, pork, beef filet or even some turkey or duck. The earthiness of this wine is a perfect companion for mushrooms and truffles. Take your dish over the top with sweet spices and veggies like cinnamon and caramelized onions. And if you’re looking to indulge in a simple (as in low maintenance) pleasure, Pinot Noir loves Brie, Camembert, Havarti and herbed crèmes like Boursin!

The Author

Allie Hughes is the wine and culinary contributor to Naturally in Niagara, feasting on the decadent experience that is life in this region. With a fine wine sensibility honed at the International Sommelier Guild, Allie is taking the journey of Niagara by the glass with you with each new taste. Allie is also the creative mind behind the marketing of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, and owner of Hughes & Co., a boutique social strategy firm.

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