Home » Determining the best Pinot Noir regions: a private pet theory

Determining the best Pinot Noir regions: a private pet theory

I have a private pet theory for determining the best regions for growing Pinot Noir wines that I unaccountably want to share. It’s this: all the best regions have ’03’ phone area codes. This might seem crazily over-simplistic, but bear with me for a moment. I have proof.

Pinot Noir vines, vineyard near Savigny-lès-Beaune, BurgundyPinot Noir vines, vineyard near Savigny-lès-Beaune, Burgundy, 26th September 2013
Pentax K-x, 18-125mm lens @ 125mm, 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400

Proof:

  • Burgundy, Alsace, the Jura, & Champagne all have 03 numbers assigned by the French telephone numbering plan
  • Tasmania, Gippsland, the Yarra Valley, & Mornington Peninsula also all have 03 numbers assigned to them, by the Australian telephone numbering plan
  • Central Otago, Marlborough, & Canterbury all have 03 numbers, under the New Zealand telephone numbering plan

A few exceptions:

  • The Adelaide Hills region gets 08 numbers assigned to it.
  • Oregon and California both are part of the North American Numbering plan, which does not assign any numbers starting with a zero. Some parts of north-west Oregon get 503 numbers, which may be close enough — though this doesn’t seem to cover the Willamette Valley. D’oh.
  • Germany is making some very good Pinot Noirs (which they often refer to as Spätburgunder, “late Burgundy”), but 03 numbers are assigned to north-eastern Germany, not Baden, Pfalz, or Ahr, which are in the south-west.
  • Martinborough, NZ gets 06 phone numbers.

Also, some areas may be assigned 03 numbers, but not be suitable for Pinot Noir — for example, some of the warmer parts of Victoria, Australia. To this, I could only respond by waggling my eyebrows, shrugging my shoulders, and leaving rapidly before my hypothetical interlocutor realises that wasn’t actually a valid response to their criticisms.

Nonetheless, I think my theory has validity, and maybe some predictive power. Perhaps I could extend it further. Do good Cabernet sauvignons come from regions with 05 numbers, such as Bordeaux? Great Syrahs from regions with 04 numbers, like the northern Rhône? Though this might be a problem for Australia: 04 and 05 are both assigned for mobile numbers, which suggests that great Cabernet and great Syrah are possible everywhere, and nowhere (though, to be fair, I’ve never actually seen an 05 mobile number in use in Australia…). Italy has a similar problem with Pinot Noir (there called Pinot Nero), 03 numbers in Italy being assigned to mobile phones.

Or perhaps one could suggest that areas with an 08 number are good for a wide range of grapes, as this area code including both South Australia and West Australia. But this would force wineries in France to spring for a freephone ‘numéro vert’ 08 number, which may not win me friends there.

So, for now, I might leave further exploration of this idea aside for now. Still, I suspect it has promise. And I will keep returning to the allure of the ’03’ area code.

Which reminds me, I should open a bottle of something good for tonight, from a winery whose phone number starts with 03………..

Côte d'Or morning, Burgundy, 3rd October 2011Côte d’Or morning, Burgundy, 3rd October 2011
Pentax K-x, 18-125mm lens at 40mm, 1/80 sec, f/5.0, ISO 500

Departing to arrive
(Vinous) Complexity and Paradox in Burgundy

One comment

  1. gavin says:

    Another pet theory: Pinot Noir quality in Australia is determined by proximity to Tasmanian Devils — nearer = better, hence explaining the high quality of Tasmanian pinots.

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