When grown with care and passion, Pinot Noir is a fabulous and food friendly red. We have world class "cold climate" Pinot Noir from winemakers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Truly unique ones, too.
Swiss Pinot Noir often manages to combine red fruit and notes of autumnal woods with cool and soft tannins. It is subtler in Vaud, bolder in Valais and Geneva, in Eastern Switzerland, it beats anything Germany can produce. Don't miss the unique Swiss "Oeil the Perdrix", a rosé of free run Pinot Noir juice that is dry and complex (and doesn't feel like rosé when tasted blind).
Austrian Pinot Noir is also delicious, often in a warmer style. In Austria it does not get the attention it deserves (neither does the Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris). Yet, from the juicy Buchegger, the rich Klosterneuburg, the perfectly balanced Zull to the masterly oaked Lentsch and the lovely Pinot from Fischer, we have one impressive bottle after another. You can't go wrong.
Pinot Noir has many other names, some of which may offer clues as to its origin - Blauburgunder, Bourguinon, Morillon and Savagnin Noir. It probably originates in France but there are many other theories which have it coming from Egypt, Italy and Germany.
The genealogy of Pinot is hugely impressive with a wide number of well known grapes coming from it particularly through its crossings with Gouais Blanc and Savagnin (not Sauvignon which are children of this crossing).
From 1896 onwards when he harvested his first vintage at Balavaud, Urbain Germanier devoted his life to his vineyards. Later, the torch passed to his three sons, Francis, Paul and Charles whose wines claimed their place among the premiers crus, the best growths of the Valais.
Around 1940 Francis Germanier decided to introduce a table pear variety to the plains of the Rhône valley called Williams, or Williams Bon Chrétien after the English nurseryman who discovered it. In 1945 a severe storm threw the entire harvest to the ground. Faced with this disaster Francis decided to distill the fruit. The resultant eau-de-vie proved extraordinarily aromatic and harmonious. The Bon Père William was born and rapidly established itself as one of the typical specialities of the canton, inseparable from the legendary spectacle of the pear in the bottle. The production of spirits became for many years the most important activity of the family domaine until winemaking returned to predominance in the course of the 1980s.