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Comparing & Contrasting Pinot Noir Clones

Wine: A kick butt way to learn about Pinot Noir clones

Pamela Heiligenthal

on 29 November 2013

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Transcript of Comparing & Contrasting Pinot Noir Clones

What is a grape clone?
Fun Facts
has roughly 19 distinct clones…
Pinot Noir
...has roughly 43 certified Dijon clones
WHY should I care about the number of clones?
Because pigs fly, that's why! … no, not really. It's because each clone excels in specific characteristics...
Let's review each Pinot Noir clone in great detail...then we'll administer a test.
Just kidding.!

Let's look at some of the more popular clones found in California and Oregon. We'll review what Dijon clones are, then look at some of the differences between them...
Pinot Noir Clones
A plant produced by grafting or cutting, so that it retains the identical genetic characteristics of the host. Each grape variety has many different sub varieties, or clones (much in the way that roses do!!)
These numbers change depending on who to talk to so don’t shoot the messenger!
meaning they taste different!
But keep in mind...These are just guidelines – wines made from single clones vary greatly in flavors because of how they are farmed, where they are grown and how they are vinified. All of these factors play a part in the final product!!
Pinot Clones
Some popular pinot clones: Pommard, 115, 667 and 777.
Think luscious and sexy
Most widely planted
Very aromatic -- perfumey, raspberry scent
Flavors -- black cherry, leather & roses, blueberries & anise
Consistency regardless of where it is planted
Stand alone clone (meaning it can be used on its own or blended with other clones)
Think earthy, round and supple
Small, compact berries
Very aromatic
Flavors -- black cherry, cassis, leather, tobacco, and earthy notes
Can be a powerful monster if not farmed carefully
Big tannins & deep color
...and anywhere from 200 to 1,000+ genetically unique clones worldwide!!
Cabernet Sauvignon
The Greek origin of the word “clone” means “twig.”
Workhorse clone
Flavors -- dark cherry, dark fruits, spice
Soft tannins
Lovely if planted in the right location (the cooler the better!)
Think meaty and gamey (in a good way)
Workhorse clone
Signature "cola" scent
Chewy, chunky, & dense
Many smuggled into the U.S. from France via suitcase!
We'll look at each clone to see how they differ....
Now its time for your experiment
...it possibly originated in Burgundy, France
(or across the German border)
When you experiment and taste different Pinot Noirs isolated by clone, you’ll quickly see just how different they are.
Have a pinot clone party and invite your friends
Ask each participant to bring a bottle. Most Pinot Noir is blended so make sure you find one made with 100% 115, 667, 777 or Pommard clones.
If you have a favorite pinot producer, contact them and order a bottle.
100% 115:
• Melville Pinot Noir Clone 115 Indigene, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills, CA
• WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir, Estate Grown “Clone 115”, Willamette Valley, OR

100% 667:
• Foley Wines Santa Rita Hills Rancho Santa Rosa Pinot Noir “Clone 667”, CA
• Alma Rosa Winery Pinot Noir - Clone 667, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, CA

100% 777:
• Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard Block 5 “777”, Willamette Valley, Oregon
• Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir, 777 Clones, Russian River Valley, CA
• Alma Rosa Winery Pinot Noir, Clone 777, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, CA
• WillaKenzie EstatePinot Noir, Estate Grown “Clone 777” Willamette Valley, OR

100% Pommard
• Shea Wine Cellars "Pommard Clone" Willamette Valley, CA
• Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir, Pommard Clones, Russian River Valley, CA
Taste, experiment, compare and contrast. What’s your favorite? Least favorite?
Above all, have fun!
What are some of the more known regions where Pinot Noir is grown?
New York
Ontario, Canada
Spain, Catalonia (Who knew?)
New Zealand
(known as Blauburgunder)
(known as Blauburgunder)
(Known as Pinot nero or Südtirol )
(known as Spatburgunder)
United Kingdom
Happy drinking!
Where did Pinot Noir come from?
Think lush, round, dark fruits
Wine: 101
This 6 minute documentary reveals the history of Pinot Noir wine from the Roman Empire to its journey to California in the 19th century.
The Holy Grail Of Wine
Click the forward arrow at the bottom to skip!
What is a Dijon Clone?
It refers to a group of Pinot noir (and Chardonnay) grape clones imported to America from the Burgundy region of France.

Given "D" numbers, the most common Pinot noir Dijon clones are 114, 115, 667, 777.
Ironically, the clones have nothing to do with the town of Dijon, France.

It seems that the numerical designation for a set of "Burgundian clones" were given a "D" prefix because the certification package arrived in the U.S. with a Dijon address. They were given the inaccurate, but completely accepted name of "Dijon Clones." ~Avalon wines

Many of the Dijon clones made it to the U.S. via suitcase, meaning the cuttings were smuggled into the United States wrapped in wet newspaper and hidden in suitcases. Because of the illegality of such smuggling, the true extent of suitcase clones planted in North America will never be known. ~Prince of Pinot
Think about apples. Do Granny Smith apples taste like Golden Delicious or Fuji apples? They’re all apples, right? Yet each one smells and tastes dramatically different from the other. The same goes for Pinot Noir clones.
Full transcript