". . . Pinot noir's home is France's Burgundy region, particularly in Côte-d'Or. It is also planted in Austria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Chile, north parts of Croatia, the Republic of Georgia, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Kosova, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Greece, Romania, New Zealand, South Africa, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, United States, Uruguay, Ukraine and Slovakia. The United States has increasingly become a major Pinot noir producer, with some of the best regarded coming from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and California's Sonoma County with its Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. Lesser known appellations can be found in Mendocino County's Anderson Valley as well as the Central Coast's Santa Lucia Highlands appellation and the Sta. Rita Hills American Viticultural Area in Santa Barbara County. In New Zealand, it is principally grown in Martinborough, Marlborough, Waipara and Central Otago.
The leaves of Pinot noir are generally smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah and the vine is typically less vigorous than either of these varieties. The grape cluster is small and conico-cylindrical, vaguely shaped like a pine cone. Some viticultural historians believe this shape-similarity may have given rise to the name. In the vineyard Pinot noir is sensitive to wind and frost, cropping levels (it must be low yielding for production of quality wines), soil types and pruning techniques. In the winery it is sensitive to fermentation methods, yeast strains and is highly reflective of its terroir with different regions producing sometimes very different wines. Its thin skin makes it susceptible to bunch rot and similar fungal diseases of the bunch. The vines themselves are susceptible to powdery mildew, and in Burgundy (and elsewhere) infection by leaf roll and fanleaf viruses causes significant vine health problems. These complications have given the grape a reputation for being difficult to grow: Jancis Robinson calls Pinot a "minx of a vine" and André Tchelistcheff declared that "God made Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the devil made Pinot noir." It is much less tolerant of hard, windy, hot and dry, harsh vineyard conditions than the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, or Grenache. . . "
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