For many, it is the most sophisticated and noblest of varietals and also one that makes for some of the world's finest, most exclusive red wines. Though its origins and greatest expressions are (many also agree) Burgundian, Pinot Noir is grown everywhere from the west coast of the U.S. to Central and Eastern Europe to South Africa to New Zealand. A cool-climate varietal for lighter red styles, it is also a notoriously temperamental varietal to grow, struggling as it often does to ripeness. When properly cultivated and vinified, however, pinot noir rewards the drinker with a sublime array of aromas and flavours: cherry, raspberry, spice, mushroom, clove and hibiscus, which, when allowed to age, evolve into tea, leather, tobacco leaf, dried fruit and undergrowth. The brisk levels of acidity typically supporting these wonderful characteristics also make pinot noir an ultimate food pairing wine, going superbly as it does with all manner of cured meats, charcuterie, cheese and fowl. Once understood and enjoyed, pinot noir is sure to win a leading role in your drinking repertoire.