California

Pinot Noir

Study Guides > Varieties > Pinot Noir

Signature Styles & Characteristics

Although any grape can be interpreted in innovative and at times even outlying styles, the following chart represents the preponderance of what you can expect to find in California:

  • Dryness/Residual Sugar

    Still: 30 percent on a scale from Low to High of Dryness/Residual Sugar. Sparkling: 30 percent on the same scale.

  • Acid (potential)

    Still: 85 percent on a scale from Low to High of Acid (potential). Sparkling: 85 percent on the same scale.

  • Alcohol (potential)

    Still: 85 percent on a scale from Low to High of Alcohol (potential). Sparkling: 50 percent on the same scale.

  • Body (weight on palate

    Still: 100 percent on a scale from Low to High of Body (weight on palate. Sparkling: 50 percent on the same scale.

  • Texture

    Still: 100 percent on a scale from Tart and Lean to Round and Smooth of Texture.

  • Tannin

    Still: 50 percent on a scale from Low to High of Tannin. Sparkling: 50 percent on the same scale.

Aromas/Flavors

Influenced by climate, terroir, clonal selection and winemaking.

    Age
  • Red Fruit

    Fruit

    Red and black cherry, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, prune, plum, pomegranate, citrus, blackberry, red currant, orange peel, tangerine peel
  • Red Floral

    Herbal/Vegetable

    Coriander, rosemary, laurel, ginger, beet/beetroot, fennel, olive, cola nut, rhubarb, bay leaf
  • Red Floral

    Floral

    Lavender, jasmine, violet, mint, menthol, eucalyptus, tea leaf (chamomile), hibiscus, rose petal
  • Red Earth

    Earth

    Mushroom, truffle, mineral, gravel, humus, damp or dry leaves
  • Red Wood

    Wood (oak)

    Coffee, allspice, coriander, ginger, clove, cinnamon, cocoa, mocha, espresso, smoke, cedar, caramel, burnt sugar, walnut, roasted pecan, vanilla, coconut, toast, sandalwood, brown butter, coconut
  • Red Other

    Other

    Meaty (animal), soy, feral or farmyard, charcuterie

Ageability

3 to 35 years on average, pedigree-dependent; the best bottles can live even longer