Why is Pinot Noir considered a finicky grape?


Pinot Noir is different from many other varietals in that it is especially difficult to grow, it’s sensitive to soil types, weather, moisture, and sun, and it bruises easily, which often requires hand harvesting. The thin skin of Pinot makes it fragile and tricky for winemakers to handle and work with, which explains its “high maintenance” reputation. What this translates to for the consumer is that it is difficult to make good quality Pinot Noir, and it is even more challenging to make good quality Pinot Noir that is also affordable.

What does the term ‘ullage’ refer to?
‘Ullage’ is the empty space in wine bottles, barrels, or casks that develops as wine evaporates. The space in the bottle expands as wine evaporates over time, so older bottles typically have a larger space than younger bottles.

What is the difference between ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ tasting?
In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine from the same winery are tasted (it emphasizes the differences between various vintages). In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage, but are from different wineries. Keeping the wine variety and region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.

Originally Published in our Gold Wine Club "Wine Press" newsletter Barking Dog Winery Edition.