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Black grape variety responsible for creating some of the most seductive, hedonistic, and sublime wines in the world. However, it is known as the heartbreak grape because it is a fussy, finicky little variety that is difficult to grow. It produces a small crop and its thin skin makes it susceptible to rot and disease. It prefers a cool climate and chalky, limestone based soils.
It's spiritual home is Burgundy, where it's THE red grape variety, thriving on the Cote de Nuits where it makes one of the world's most fabled wines - Domaine Romanee-Conti.
It's the only red grape variety allowed to be planted in Alsace.
In Germany it is known as Spatburgunder, Pinot Nero in Italy, Pinot Negro in Spain and South America, and Blauburgunder in Austria. It is grown all over the world, most notably in New Zealand, producing fabulous wines on both islands - Martinborough on the North Island and Central Otago on the South Island.
It's grown in the USA in Oregon, and in California, and was immortalised in the 2004 film Sideways.
It makes some lovely examples in the cooler regions of South Africa, Chile and Australia. And it is also of extreme importance in the production of Champagne and Sparkling Wine the world over, from Tasmania to England thanks to its high acid levels. Where it contributes body, structure and a distinctive aroma.