The important grape variety of Burgundy, Pinot Noir is the most evocative, provocative, mysterious varietal grown by man or woman. It is extremely difficult to grow, more difficult to make, and perhps, the most difficult to understand and appreciate. It is the perfume, the deliciously exciting and intriguing bouquet that makes Pinot Noir unique. The best efforts at Pinot Noir are lush, exotic, spicy and packed with bright cherry fruit and underlying ripe berry fruit of cooked strawberries and black raspberries. The middle palate is rich with a velvet outer edge. Recently, the finest U.S. Pinot Noirs have developed great structure and have even begun to show evidence of the soil and minerals in which the vines are grown. This is a sure sign that the Pinots of Santa Barbara Country, the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Russian River Valley, Carneros, Monterey and other areas of the Central Coast are at least close to demonstrating the nobility of their Burgundian counterparts. Only since Americans have finally started to make American Pinot Noir, rather than a facsimile of Burgundy, that we are beginning to understand the truly limitless potential of this grape in this country. As if all that wasn't enough, Pinot Noir adds flavor, aroma, structure, body and, in Blanc de Noirs styles, color to U.S. sparkling wines.