Pacific Rim
April 20, 2022 | Pacific Rim

Why You Have to Try Washington State Pinot Noir Wine

Washington State has made new discoveries about finding just the right soil regions to grow just the right grapes for Pinot Noir wine.  The wine has had a varied past and has been tricky to produce accurately in some areas.  If you are a connoisseur of red wine, you absolutely must try Washington State Pinot Noir wine.

What Is Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir started as a French wine but today is produced in many nations. Pinot Noir is not only a grape but also a wine varietal. The grape is known to grow in pine cone-shaped clusters and has a dark purplish hue, hence the name Pinot Noir. 

Pinot Noir is somewhat unique in that it is used to make four different single varietal wines. In addition, Pinot Noir is often used in red blends.  

Pinot Noir Grape Facts

  • Young grapes tend to have a light, red color, whereas those that are mature tend to have a deep purplish or deep red hue.
  • These grapes are somewhat finicky and will only grow well under a limited range of temperatures. The grape grows well in climates with dry, warm days and cool nights; in addition, the soil should be well-drained and loamy.
  • The growing season is short, only about 3 months, compared to 6-9 months for most other grapes.
  • Because Pinot Noir grapes are thin-skinned, they are also susceptible to a variety of diseases and are susceptible to fungus and rot.

Due to long, dry days and cool nights, Pinot Noir vineyards have blossomed in eastern Washington State. In addition, the loamy soil and long exposure to the sun add to the rich, fruity flavors with undertones of Allspice.

Where Is Pinot Noir Grown?

Even though Pinot Noir grapes are grown globally, they originated from Burgundy, France. In the USA, Pinot Noir is grown in Washington, California, Oregon, and northern New York. The grapes used to make Pinot Noir prefer cooler climates and soil with good drainage. Pinot Noir thrives in the same climate as Chardonnay; hence, you will often see the two grapes grown adjacent to each other. Outside of North America and France, Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world and can be found in South Africa, New Zealand, Chile, and Australia. When wine is made from fresh grapes, they tend to have fruity aromas of raspberries, cherries, and strawberries. When the wine is allowed to age, it does develop a barnyard aroma (smell of stables, horses, etc., which adds to the wine’s complexity.

What Does Pinot Noir Taste Like?

Overall, Pinot Noir is a light wine, contains low levels of tannins, is easy to drink, and has an alcohol volume of usually less than 12 percent (ABV). 

Pinot Noir’s flavor profile depends greatly on where the grapes are from and the growing conditions. For example, Pinot Noir wines from Napa Valley tend to have notes of vanilla, ripe black cherries, and cloves. The Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France will have notes of forest floor, hints of mushrooms, and may be a little leatherier. The Washington State Pinot Noir wine tends to have more spicy and floral notes, such as cloves, apricots, peaches, and cinnamon.


Today, Washington State Pinot Noir wine has become popular among wine drinkers of all ages, and sales of the beverage have increased significantly over the past few years. While Pinot Noir is produced in several U.S. states, it is the wine made in the Columbia Valley that is considered the “cream of the crop,” so to speak.  Pinot Noir from Washington State is loved by wine drinkers because of its flowery and spicy aromas (e.g., vanilla, sweet cherries, and cloves), and pleasant, red, fruity taste that is accentuated by a smooth finish. Slowly, Pinot Noir from Washington State is becoming popular all over the country, and it is only a matter of time before it also becomes globally famous, like the other wines from the American Northwest.

Is Pinot Noir Wine Dry or Sweet?

In general, Pinot Noir wine is a dry, light-bodied wine with low tannins and is slightly acidic. This is what makes it smooth and easy to consume.

How Should Pinot Noir Be Served?

  • Like most red wines, Pinot Noir is best served slightly chilled at about 55°F.
  • To get a full sense of the aroma, use a tall cylindrical bell-shaped wine glass.
  • Once opened, Pinot Noir should be consumed within 24 hours.

How to Pair Pinot Noir with Food

Because Pinot Noir is a well-balanced, light-bodied wine with low tannins and moderate acidity, it pairs with several foods, including chicken, pork, duck, fish, and steak.  Other great pairings for Pinot Noir include:

  • Charcuterie
  • Grilled veggies
  • Patés
  • Roasted meats, like ham, turkey, or goose
  • Salads
  • Soft, aromatic cheeses, such as brie or goat cheese

Wines To Try

If you want to try great Washington State Pinot Noir wines from Columbia Valley, you will not go wrong with the selections below. They are all very affordable and of high quality.


Pacific Rim & Company knows a lot about Pinot Noir and the grapes needed to make it.  Try a bottle for yourself and see what others are raving about.  You can call Pacific Rim & Company at 1-503-863-5454 to speak with a knowledgeable staff member about Washington State Wines.


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