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August 12, 2020 | oregon | Pacific Rim

Is Pinot a Type of Grape?

Sometimes there are wine terms that you kind of know… but you don't know. That's OK. The only way to learn is to ask. That's probably what brings you here. If you hear the phrase “Oregon pinot” what exactly is being discussed? This refers to a group of wines made from pinot grapes.

Oregon Pinot Grapes

Pinot Grapes Are Versatile

Chances are you've enjoyed Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris (Grigio), Pinot Blanc, or another type of pinot. How can such different wines all come from the same grape?

Pinot Noir grapes: Let's say you have two pinot grapevines. One has two genes that create what are called anthocyanins. These are biochemical reactions that create a red pigment. This is the most recognizable pinot grape because of its deep violet hue. This makes Pinot Noir.

Pinot Blanc grapes: Your second grapevine has a mutation that causes these genes to be inactive. There's no biochemical reaction to cause that violent tint. This creates the pinot grapes used in Pinot Blanc. The wines made from these are much higher in acidity, and join floral and mineral tastes to its fruit flavors.

Pinot Gris grapes: What about Pinot Gris, or grigio? This comes from what are called chimeric plants. Essentially, these are plants where Pinot Noir grape skin surrounds Pinot Blanc grape cells. The ruby red color that results is Pinot Gris.

Pinot Wines from Oregon

Oregon Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir tends to have a taste centered on berries and deeply grounded earth flavors. Oregon Pinot Noir focuses on strawberry, cranberry, and rose flavors with a taste that brings the sensation of cherries and pomegranates. It leaves a deep and filling impression that lingers on the tongue. Here, you have a wine that's an exquisite pairing with pork, mushroom dishes, beef stews, and game bird like duck.

Oregon Pinot Gris: Pinot Gris pairs the acidity of Blanc with crisp fruit flavors. Often, these are citrus or apple-centered. Oregon Pinot Gris is notable for going a different direction, bringing more complementary flavors into the mix such as pear, melon, and honey. These feel much more natural in a Pinot Gris, which is ideal with chicken, soft cheeses, root vegetables, and rich cream sauces.

Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé: Also try Pinot Noir Rosé. It's a crisp, light take on rosé with exceptional strawberry and rose tastes. Often thought of as a summer wine, it's also a relaxing winter wine that's perfect for pairing with seafood and most fresh vegetables.

The best way to learn? Try! Sample some Oregon Pinot varietals and see which are your favorite. 

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