For generations, American wine makers – and those from many other countries, too – have dreamed of making Pinot Noir that tastes like Burgundy.
That’s not an unreasonable wish. For centuries, the Pinot-based wines from France’s Bourgogne region – Burgundy, to English speakers – have ranked high among the world’s finest (and most expensive) wines.
Pinot from anywhere else on Earth, according to the conventional wisdom, just wasn’t the same. Burgundians had been making great wine since the 14th century. They had generations of experience making wine from old vines on the southeastward-facing slopes and rocky limestone-and-clay soils of Bourgogne’s Côte d’Or. The terroir and the tradition were perfectly suited to this purportedly finicky grape.
How could any other place hope to compete? It was a good question, but who doesn’t love a challenge? From California to the Finger Lakes, Canada, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, Germany and Italy and even other parts of france, wine makers tried to match the glory of Burgundy in any reasonable place and perhaps even occasional unreasonable places.