History of Pinot Noir
Modern-day wine lovers think of Pinot Noir as a special grape that’s delicate, refined, and full of palate-pleasing flavors. However, this seemingly fussy fruit has hearty roots reaching back to ancient Gaul, now modern-day France.
When Roman invaders defeated Gallic tribes in the first century, they stumbled upon a wine made from wild grapes, the ancestors of our Pinot Noir. The wine was aged in wooden casks and possessed unique flavors, and the Romans were enthralled. They learned to cultivate the wild grapes, and one of the first domesticated wine varietals was born.
We all know Rome fell, so how did Pinot Noir survive? You can thank the Catholic Church for sanctioning the wine for use in the sacrament of Communion. Monks in the Burgundy region of France continued to cultivate the grape, and by the sixth century, the area was divided into church-owned vineyards.
With the church’s stamp of approval, Pinot Noir remained popular but under control of the monks until the French Revolution in 1789. The vineyards of Burgundy were seized and redistributed to surviving local families. This model of independent vineyards is still in place today. Lucky for us, Pinot Noir hasn’t remained constrained within the boundaries of Burgundy. The storied varietal is now grown in areas around the world, most successfully in New Zealand, California, and especially Oregon.
Pinot Noir’s Oregon Trail
It was 1979 that launched Oregon’s journey as one of the top-notch Pinot Noir regions. In the wine world’s equivalent of a Little League team beating the New York Yankees, Eyrie Vineyards 1975 South Block Pinot Noir placed in the top 10 at the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, beating some of Burgundy’s best labels. Oregon’s gift for growing wine was affirmed, and the industry has skyrocketed ever since.
Our dedicated growers ensure that every grape that goes into Brella meets the highest standards for this regal and ancient varietal. The history of Pinot Noir has been written over the past 2,000 years, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.