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May 28, 2024 

Discovering the Elegance of Pinot Noir: A Light Red with Depth


Pinot Noir is often described as the “heartbreak grape” due to its challenging cultivation and winemaking process. However, the effort is undeniably worth it when it results in a bottle of beautifully balanced and complex wine. At Okanagan Crush Pad, we take pride in crafting Pinot Noir that showcases the unique terroir of the Okanagan Valley, offering a lighter yet deeply flavorful red wine experience.


What is Pinot Noir?


Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties, with a history that dates back over 2,000 years. Originating from the Burgundy region of France, it is now grown in many parts of the world, including the Okanagan Valley. This grape is known for its thin skin, which makes it highly susceptible to variations in climate and soil. This sensitivity also contributes to its remarkable ability to reflect the nuances of its growing environment, often resulting in highly distinctive wines.


The Taste of Pinot Noir


Pinot Noir is celebrated for its elegant and complex flavor profile. Unlike many other red wines, it tends to be lighter in body and color, offering a spectrum of flavors and aromas. Here’s what you can typically expect:


·      Fruity Notes: Red berries such as cherry, raspberry, and strawberry are common in Pinot Noir. These bright fruit flavors can range from fresh and juicy to more concentrated and jammy, depending on the ripeness of the grapes and the winemaking style.


·      Earthy Undertones: Pinot Noir often exhibits earthy characteristics, including notes of mushroom, forest floor, and wet leaves. These earthy elements add complexity and depth, enhancing the wine’s overall profile.


·      Floral Aromas: Violets, rose petals, and other floral aromas are frequently present in Pinot Noir, contributing to its aromatic allure.


·      Spice and Herb: Depending on the region and winemaking techniques, you might also detect hints of clove, cinnamon, or even a touch of herbal tea.


Why is Pinot Noir a Lighter Red?


One of the defining characteristics of Pinot Noir is its lighter color, which often sets it apart from other red wines. This can be attributed to several factors:


·      Thin Skins: Pinot Noir grapes have thinner skins compared to other red varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. The skins contain anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for the wine’s color. Thinner skins mean less pigment, resulting in a lighter hue.


·      Lower Tannin Levels: Tannins, which also reside in the grape skins, seeds, and stems, contribute to a wine’s color and structure. Pinot Noir has lower tannin levels, contributing to its lighter color and softer mouthfeel.


·      Winemaking Techniques: Winemakers often use gentle extraction methods to avoid harsh tannins and excessive color extraction. This approach helps preserve the delicate flavors and aromas of Pinot Noir, resulting in a wine that is lighter in color yet rich in complexity.



Exploring Pinot Noir from Different Regions


Pinot Noir is grown in many regions around the world, each offering its own unique expression of the grape. Here are some notable regions and what you can expect from their Pinot Noir:


·      Burgundy, France: The birthplace of Pinot Noir, Burgundy produces some of the most prestigious and complex examples of the grape. Expect flavors of red berries, earthy undertones, and a silky texture.


·      Willamette Valley, Oregon: Known for its cooler climate, Oregon’s Pinot Noir often exhibits bright cherry and raspberry flavors, with a touch of earthiness and spice.


·      Sonoma Coast, California: Pinot Noir from this region tends to be more fruit-forward, with flavors of ripe cherry, plum, and strawberry, balanced by notes of vanilla and spice from oak aging.


·      Central Otago, New Zealand: This region’s Pinot Noir is known for its vibrant fruit flavors, including cherry, red currant, and blackberry, along with a distinctive mineral quality.


Okanagan Crush Pad’s Approach to Pinot Noir


At Okanagan Crush Pad, our approach to Pinot Noir emphasizes minimal intervention and a deep respect for the terroir. We believe that great wine starts in the vineyard, and our organic farming practices reflect this philosophy. Our Pinot Noir wines are crafted to highlight the purity of the fruit and the unique characteristics of the Okanagan Valley.


Haywire Pinot Noir 2021


Haywire’s Pinot Noir 2021 comes from four vineyards across the Okanagan Valley, offering a snapshot of the region’s terroir. The grapes are 50% whole cluster and 50% whole berry, naturally fermented for an average of four weeks before being basket pressed to concrete tanks and foudre for aging.


Wine Profile: Savory nuances, excellent palate weight, and soft tannins.


Perfect Pairings:

· Seafood: Seared tuna, salmon sashimi, shrimp scampi.

· Light Meats: Grilled chicken with rosemary, pork tenderloin with apple chutney.

· Cheese: Brie, Camembert, feta.


Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019


This Pinot Noir from the Secrest Mountain Vineyard is made with grapes grown at a high elevation, contributing to its unique profile. The wine was aged in Nico Velo concrete cylinders and bottled unfined and unfiltered.


Wine Profile: Aromas of delicate forest floor, bright berries, and hints of mocha.


Perfect Pairings:

· Seafood: Grilled salmon, crab cakes, mussels in white wine.

· Light Meats: Roasted duck, turkey with cranberry sauce, lamb chops.

· Cheese: Aged cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere.


Haywire Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir 2020


Haywire’s Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir is crafted from organic grapes, fermented with native yeasts, and aged on lees for 10 months before bottling. This wine features brooding aromas of cherries and dark red berries with a savory herbaceousness.


Wine Profile: Cherries, dark red berries, mocha, and oyster shell salinity.


Perfect Pairings:

· Seafood: Baked trout, lobster with drawn butter, grilled shrimp.

· Light Meats: Veal piccata, roasted pork loin, quail with a berry reduction.

· Cheese: Manchego, Comté, Havarti.


Free Form Vin Gris 2019 


The Free Form Vin Gris is made from Pinot Noir grapes grown at Garnet Valley Ranch. The wine was whole bunch pressed to small concrete eggs, fermented with natural yeasts, and bottled unfiltered.


Wine Profile: Delicate fruit-forward notes with savory herbal undertones and texture from concrete fermentation.


Perfect Pairings:

· Seafood: Scallop ceviche, poached halibut, seafood risotto.

· Light Meats: Chicken stir-fry, grilled pork chops, duck breast with plum sauce.

· Cheese: Mozzarella, ricotta, Boursin.


Free Form Blanc de Noir 2018


This sparkling wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes, whole bunch pressed to concrete tank for natural fermentation, and aged for 36 months en tirage before disgorging with zero dosage.


Wine Profile: Pale straw color with ripe stone fruits and freshly baked brioche, focused acidity, and exquisite length.


Perfect Pairings:

· Seafood: Fresh oysters, caviar, crab legs.

· Brunch Dishes: Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon bagels, quiche Lorraine.

· Cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort, aged Gouda.


The Versatility of Pinot Noir in Food Pairing


Pinot Noir’s bright acidity and delicate structure make it incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings. Here are some additional suggestions to help you explore the full potential of this elegant wine:


·      Charcuterie: A selection of cured meats, such as prosciutto, salami, and pate, pairs beautifully with Pinot Noir. The wine’s acidity cuts through the richness of the meats, creating a harmonious balance.


·      Asian Cuisine: Dishes like Peking duck, teriyaki salmon, or sushi rolls with spicy tuna can complement the fruity and earthy notes of Pinot Noir. The wine’s acidity also balances the umami flavors often found in Asian cuisine.


·      Game Meats: Venison, rabbit, and pheasant are excellent matches for Pinot Noir. The wine’s complexity and earthiness enhance the gamey flavors, creating a sophisticated dining experience.


·      Vegetarian Dishes: Pinot Noir is a wonderful partner for a variety of vegetarian dishes, including stuffed bell peppers, ratatouille, and vegetable stir-fry. The wine’s bright fruit and floral notes elevate the flavors of the vegetables.




Pinot Noir is a grape that captivates the hearts of wine lovers around the world. Its light color, complex flavor profile, and versatility make it a standout among red wines. At Okanagan Crush Pad, we are dedicated to crafting Pinot Noir that reflects the unique terroir of the Okanagan Valley, offering an elegant and memorable wine experience.


Whether you are new to Pinot Noir or a seasoned enthusiast, we invite you to explore our selection and discover the beauty of this remarkable grape. From our Haywire Pinot Noir to our Free Form Vin Gris, each bottle tells a story of passion, dedication, and the pursuit of excellence.


Visit our tasting lounge at Haywire Winery and experience the elegance of Pinot Noir for yourself. Cheers to the lighter side of red wine!