The Holy Grail

Pinot Noir has been described as the “Holy Grail” of wine. It is the most expensive wine on the market and this makes it a niche product. An affordable Pinot Noir will almost always be more expensive than wine from another cultivar and a really good Pinot Noir can be hideously expensive. South Africans are traditionally not Pinot drinkers – they favour the heavier, full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
But Pinot Noir is being discovered by a wider drinking public here – more and more people understand the wine – although there are still a lot of South Africans who confuse Pinot Noir with Pinotage. Many South Africans just don’t know what to look for in a Pinot and those of us producing the wine have to thank the premier producers such as Bouchard-Finlayson and Newton-Johnson for their great work in developing the market.
Internationally there are two main, distinct styles of Pinot Noir. The “old world” (France) favours a ‘forest floor” characteristic and the “new world” (South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and Canada) produces a Pinot Noir that is more “fruit-forward”. But once you have had a couple of tastes, Pinot Noir will be instantly recognisable to you and you will start to develop preferences in terms of style.