Pinot Nero

Pinot Nero,

Pinot Nero, for those who don’t know or couldn’t guess is the Italian term for the Pinot Noir grape. Pinot Noir was the wine of choice for many, coming off the back of Sideways the wine became more popular and consequently, more expensive. In Italy, Pinot Nero has a fairly chequered reputation and is really only grown in the North, so the Alto Adige and here in the Veneto, Friuli Venezia region.

So what can Italian Pinot Nero bring to the table? Well, it is not particularly well marketed or reviewed, no real Parker or WineSpectator information available but Italian Pinot Noir is infact, reputedly, pretty good and getting better. There’s even a very famous Pinot Nero out of Tuscany, with Ruffino (yes, Ruffino… am I sure there’s only Pinot in there?… oh… oh… lawsuit) producing the excellent Nero al Tondo. Yet the critics also bypass this offering so I am sans scores! So, *deep sigh* I’ll have to buy a bottle and review for Wine90.

Pinot Nero wines, at their best, can be incredibly long lasting and typically, in Italian terroir the grape is particularly tricky to cultivate and so excellence in an Italian Pinot Nero is really a super achievement. Today I have bought 5 Pinot Nero wines to try and will add the reviews to the bottom of this blog entry as soon as they’ve arrived! I have no experience of Italian Pinot Nero but apparently, and we shall soon see, the flavour profile is closely linked to the Burgundian Pinot Noirs (light, fruity, subtle).

Pinot Nero produces not only long lasting award winning reds, but can also produce whites and even sparkling wines. Produced mainly in the North and with Ruffino bringing in Tuscany I have gone for a cross section of years, producers, regions, colours and price points.

So which wines are up for review?

Ruffino Nero del Tondo 1990 – €40 – Tuscany Red
Bruno Giacosa Extra Brut Pinot Nero 2004 – €18.50 – Piemonte Sparkling White
Le Due Terre Pinot Nero 2005 – €27 – Friuli Venezia Red
Hoffstatter Pinot Nero Meczan Riserva – €19.50 – Alto Adige Red
Les Cretes Pinot Nero 2006 – €11 – Valle d’Aosta Red

I might know the names but having never tasted any of these wines it should be easy to be free from red eyed judging! I had to throw in a Bruno, I know, I know… but, BUT, the most interesting to me is the Les Cretes, Valle d’Aosta Pinot… I hope for good things especially at 11 euros.

So, no reviews, no questions of the day, no nothing! Tonight I head to my funky local wine bar so will have some more reviews to add. Tomorrow I’m away on my toes on the 4 o’clock train to Florence and then the 8 o’clock train to Perugia and making my way down to the Arnaldo Caprai vineyards for a Saturday morning appointment with Italy’s most accomplished Sagrantino di Montefalco producer. It’s a tough life guys, tough life. Ciao Ciao

Oh, and look out for the reviews of the wines to appear below on this blog post.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice choices, I never thought to look to Italy for Noir, will be interested in the results considering Oregon US Pinot prices

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi SarahI´m really enjoying your blog lately and I can´t wait to see the reviews of the Pinot Nero, will you be trying the Arnaldo Caprai Pinot soon too?Lucy Adler

  3. Viinipiru says:

    The only one I’ve tried from your list is Hoffstatter’s Pinot Nero Meczan (widely available in Helsinki for some reason) and I have to say it has become one of my favorite reds in the price range. Nicely balanced with velvet tannins and rich bouquet of plums, dark berries and even liquorice in the nose…Yummie.

  4. Pinot Nero in Italy is mainly produced in 2 areas: Alto Adige and Oltrepò Pavese (south of Milan, Lombardy). In other regions, it is generally made by “aficionados”, like Silvana and Flavio Basilicata (Le Due Terre) in Friuli.The hill of Mazzon (Alto Adige, between Trento and Bolzano) is considered the greatest terroir for Pinot Nero in Italy. Wines like Gottardi’s PN or Hofstaetter’s “Vigna S.Urbano” ae made.An other area, close to Italy, where good Pinot Noirs are now made is the Vipava Valley in Slovenia (just across the border with Gorizia and Friuli). The two top names are Tilia and Sutor (new release).

  5. Hey Viinipiru,Im trying the Hoffstatter tomorrow, I really enjoyed the Tondo del Nero but wil put all the reviews together on Friday.Pierpaolo,Thanks for the information, I didn’t know about that specific area. It seems Italian Pinot is hugely ignored and Im all about it this month, more reviews to come!Recommend me more Pinot Neros guys.ThanksSarah

  6. Anonymous says:

    I can't believe I just found your blog and I'm on my own quest for a good Pinot Nero. I just got back from Italy and had a wonderful bottle – Torti Pinot Nero 2005 at an inexpensive restaurant. I'm about to try Cormons' Pinot Nero froim Friuli ($14). I look forward to your results.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely loved the Hofstatter Pinot Nero Meczan. I am having a hard time finding it again in the Washington, D.C. area, so I had to buy a Peter Zemmer pinot nero 2006 (also Alto Adige).

  8. cellar says:

    I have come across a case of 2004 Pinot Nero -Alton Adige – Elena Walch.
    Is 2004 a good year for this wine?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to find some place in the US to purchase Ruffino, Nero AL Tondo. Pinot Nero

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