Exploring the 10 Major Clones of Pinot Noir

Nov 9, 2023by Andrew Lowry
san diego pinot noir


Pinot Noir, the beloved red wine grape, is renowned for its delicate flavors and ability to reflect the terroir of its origin. But did you know that there are actually 10 major clones of Pinot Noir? Each clone has its unique characteristics, and understanding them can enhance your appreciation of this exceptional varietal. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the 10 major clones of Pinot Noir, where they're used, and the comparisons and contrasts between them.

Understanding Pinot Noir Clones

Before diving into the specific clones, let's briefly explain what a wine grape clone is:

  • A clone is a genetically identical cutting from a parent vine
  • Clones are selected for specific traits like flavor profile, yield, or disease resistance
  • Different clones can produce distinctly different wines, even when grown in the same vineyard

The 10 Major Clones of Pinot Noir

1. Dijon Clone 113


  • Vibrant red fruit flavors
  • High acidity
  • Elegant structure

Where it's used: Commonly planted in Burgundy, France

Notable feature: Excellent aging potential

2. Dijon Clone 115


  • Dark fruit flavors
  • Medium body
  • Silky tannins

Where it's used: Widely planted in Oregon, USA

Notable feature: Adds complexity to Pinot Noir blends

3. Dijon Clone 667


  • Intense aromatics
  • Rich texture
  • Dark cherry flavors

Where it's used: Thrives in cool-climate regions like Sonoma Coast, California

Notable feature: Contributes great depth to wines

4. Dijon Clone 777


  • Bold, concentrated flavors
  • Velvety mouthfeel
  • Spicy notes

Where it's used: Widely planted in New Zealand

Notable feature: Produces wines with exceptional complexity

5. Pommard Clone


  • Deep color
  • Robust structure
  • Earthy flavors

Where it's used: Commonly found in the Côte de Beaune region of Burgundy, France

Notable feature: One of the oldest Pinot Noir clones

6. Wädenswil Clone


  • Bright red fruit flavors
  • Medium body
  • Balanced acidity

Where it's used: Often used in cool-climate regions like Willamette Valley, Oregon

Notable feature: Swiss origin adds unique character to New World wines

7. Martini Clone


  • Intense black fruit flavors
  • Full body
  • Firm tannins

Where it's used: Widely planted in the Russian River Valley, California

Notable feature: Produces wines with great aging potential

8. Swan Clone


  • Perfumed aromatics
  • Bright acidity
  • Elegant structure

Where it's used: Commonly found in the Santa Lucia Highlands of California

Notable feature: Adds finesse to Pinot Noir blends

9. Abel Clone


  • Intense dark fruit flavors
  • Firm tannins
  • Long finish

Where it's used: Highly regarded in New Zealand

Notable feature: Also known as the "Gumboot Clone" with a fascinating origin story

10. Calera Clone


  • Complex flavors
  • Vibrant acidity
  • Excellent structure

Where it's used: Widely planted in the Central Coast region of California

Notable feature: Named after the renowned Calera Wine Company

Comparing and Contrasting Pinot Noir Clones

When comparing these clones, consider:

  • Flavor intensity: From the delicate Dijon 113 to the bold Martini Clone
  • Structural elements: Varying levels of acidity, tannins, and body
  • Aromatic profiles: From bright red fruits to deep, earthy notes
  • Aging potential: Some clones are better suited for early drinking, while others can age for decades

The Impact of Terroir on Pinot Noir Clones

While clones have inherent characteristics, it's important to note that terroir plays a significant role in the final wine:

  • Soil composition affects nutrient uptake and flavor development
  • Climate influences ripening patterns and acidity levels
  • Winemaking techniques can enhance or subdue clone-specific traits

Exploring Pinot Noir Clones: A Journey for Wine Enthusiasts

Each of these 10 major clones of Pinot Noir brings something unique to the table. Whether you prefer the vibrant red fruit flavors of Dijon Clone 113 or the intense black fruit flavors of Martini Clone, there's a Pinot Noir clone to suit every palate. Exploring the different clones and their respective regions can be a fascinating journey into the world of Pinot Noir, allowing you to appreciate the nuances and diversity of this exceptional grape.

Next time you enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir, take a moment to consider the clone that contributed to its creation. You may find a new level of appreciation for this remarkable varietal and the artistry of winemaking.

Buy Pinot Noir at Harvest Wine Shop in San Diego

Ready to explore the world of Pinot Noir? At Harvest Wine Shop, we're passionate about bringing you the finest Pinot Noir selections from around the world. We offer convenient wine shipping in San Diego!

San Diego Wines:
Visit our online store at www.harvestwine.shop to browse our curated collection of Pinot Noir wines, featuring bottles from various clones and regions. Let us help you discover your new favorite Pinot Noir clone today!