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Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is arguably the most charismatic of all grape varieties, and without doubt the hardest to get right. When it works, though, it's sublime. No other grape has the same power of seduction, from its naturally delicate colour to the charming raspberry and cherry notes of a young pinot noir, through to the more gamey aromas that appear with age.

Old world: Burgundy is the spiritual home of fine pinot noir, producing wines with a silky texture haunting herbal, forest floor aromas that come with a bit of age. Germany and Austria tend to make light-bodied, cherry-scented pinot noir.

New world: Cooler areas of the new world – New Zealand, the Pacific north-west and cooler areas of Chile – are best for growing this sensitive, thin-skinned grape. Expect a more velvety palate, riper fruit flavours and less herbal aromas than you'd find in European pinot noir.

Pinot noir is also a key Champagne grape, bringing depth, backbone and added complexity to blends with chardonnay and pinot meunier, to produce some of the world's finest sparkling wines.

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