Pinot is considered one of the noble varieties and is indigenous to the Cote d’Or area in Burgundy and also forms one of the varieties of Champagne in France. It is one of the oldest varieties known and mutates quite readily. Pinot Noir is also successfully cultivated in other countries like New Zealand, Oregon, California, Germany, Alsace, Australia and has gained prominence in South Africa over the last decade. Pinot is best grown in cold climates, like Elgin, to show case its charm, freshness and purity. Its delicate profile of red berry fruit such as cherry, strawberry, cranberry and raspberries is generously supported by a nervous tannin structure and bright natural acidity that evokes an almost spiritual experience when consumed. In warmer climates, opulent, jammy wines are produced where the ethereal essence of the variety is often compromised.
New Pinot Noir clonal material was introduced in Burgundy to prevent die back of the trunks and cordon arms, susceptibility to rot and increase ripening and production. Although the Burgundians mainly graft their own vine material called mass selections, new clonal material is inter planted amongst their old vines. Dijon clones from Burgundy are also planted in South Africa and include 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777. The most widely planted in South Africa is 115 as it produces wines of overall balance and depth but usually a combination of all the clones for better complexity is considered in the wines.