Pinot Noir History

March 19th, 2010  |  Published in Pinot Facts

Pinot Noir and most all vinifera (grapes) originated in Transcaucasia, between the Black and the Caspian Seas, where modern Turkey, Irac and Iran share borders.  However, it is still not very clear, for sure, if Pinot Noir was transported by cuttings, by the Romans, with their conquest of Europe, or if they were indigenous to Western Europe as shown by the archaeological diggings of cultures that existed making wine and growing grapes prior to the Greeks and Romans receiving their cutting from Transcausasia.  There is some information that the monks who took over the ancient vineyard of Cote d’Or, helped to propagate, perhaps either Pinot Noir or its predecessor.

The first mention of Pinot, by name, sometimes spelled pynos, or pineau, show up during the last quarter of the 14th century in Acts and other civil documents associated with the Dukes of Burgundy, particularly, Philip the Bold, of Flanders.

The great French wine historian, Roger Dion, believes that “Pinot” was used to designate wine, in fact, Burgundy’s best wine before it was accepted as the name of a grape varietal.  Dion found it’s first application to grapes in the 1394, two decades after Philip’s pinot was sent to Flanders.  It seems evident from other documentation that Roger Dion unearthed that Philip the Bold was no doubt the patron of the coined name “pinot noir.”

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