01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Variations on a theme of Pinot Noir


Interesting. I’ve never had a 100% still Precoce so I don’t know what it tastes like, or whether any difference is noticeable in a methode traditional fizz.

According to Jancis’s book ‘Wine Grapes’ its yet another mutation of PN. I suppose if they don’t call Meunier Pinot Noir then they ought not to call Precoce PN, but then I’m a pedant who wants to know the clones used of PN, because there really is no such thing as Pinot Noir, there are only clones of it that can be so different they could be different varieties.

An early ripening PN makes sense in this climate, and it’s not just old vineyards, I was at a newly planted Welsh vineyard in 2012 that had Precoce – the first time I had heard of it. The plant identification signs were still on the vineyard posts.

Favourite English wines

The whole field of grape mutations and clones is for the research scientist but basic facts are readily available and do make some fascinating reading as in many cases what we are drinking is not quite what it seems.
Pinot Gris which is itself a mutation of Pinot Noir as is Pinot Blanc have several clones in different countries, many have different names and are grouped together as being the same for simplicity yet are in many cases themselves as in your examples clones or mutations themselves.

This explanation shows there are 200 clones of Pinot Gris in Alsace…


Pinot Noir is particulary prone to mutation, hence the clouding of the issue as to what in other countries actually is Pinot Noir or not.

In Burgundy itself there are numerous clones with different attributes to suit the different soil and site variations.

Pinot Noir is one of the oldest traced grapes hence the enormous variations found and Pinot Gris itself is subject to big differences within the grouping, this example shows what can be made from that grape, this is not a “natural” in the modern sense.

I can vouch that I have brought back bottles of Pinot Gris from the Alsace that have a distinct orange hue to them.


Excellent, @cerberus - did you try that Oregon example? I’d be interested to hear what it was like.

in fact, the society has a rosé made from pinot gris -

I haven’t tried it, though I have had an orange PG from Alsace - it tasted more like an “orange” wine - i.e. a white made with skin contact - than a rosé. But interesting.


Well, indeed, if it has skin contact. There are also Italian Rose Pinot Grigios.

The only way to make a white Pinot Gris/Grigio is as a white wine with no skin contact.

The grapes themselves have a whole range of colours from dull or steel grey, thriugh dusty pink to almost red.

Regarding clones being a matter for research scientists…

I started drinking wine in a time when grape varieties were barely mentioned, and few drinkers knew or cared what was in a Burgundy or that the taste difference between Burgundy and Bordeaux was primarily a result of grape varieties.

Now drinkers learn about grape varieties and discuss wine taste by reference to varieties, its no stretch to go that bit further and consider clones - especially with PN which has such a varied and different tasting amount of them.

Some PN back labels from the new world do disclose the clones they have planted. If one is a fan of PN then it’s essential info IMO


Precisely and of course with some skin contact these different colours appear in the wine, this gives an example of some of the clone differences used in Burgundy, extropolate that and you have some long deep reading ahead, just knowing is enough for me, some knowledge in small doses yes, drinking the stuff better !!!



I’ve even had a Chardonnay from the US called “Dijon Clones”.


This thread has drifted a way…

I’ve not seen that on Chardonnay, but then I don’t buy Chardonnay.

The Americans are much more knowledgable about the importance of clones, and ‘Dijon clones’ has long been a quality flag on PNs so I’m not surprised they’ve used it on Chardonnay. One may not know what it means for Chardonnay but the words are recognisable to a winelover there as meaning quality.

< start trolling >

Whether Dijon clone Chardonnay is recognisably different from Wente clone Chardonnay when the Americans over oak and malo their chardonnays so they are oaky/butter monster/ I don’t know :grinning:

</end trolling>