How Does BC Pinot Noir Express Terroir?

A selection of Pinot Noir clones (Image courtesy
A selection of Pinot Noir clones (Image courtesy

Last year I was trying to answer the question “Are there any unique aromas and flavours in Riesling grown from a particular soil type in BC?”  Through donated bottles by BC wineries, I tasted through 35 bottles of BC Riesling, attaching my tasting notes to the geographic location of the vineyard where the grapes were sourced, and then overlaid this information on a soil type map of BC using a Geographic Information System (GIS).

The answer to my question was “Yes” there are distinct aromas and flavours of Riesling according to different soil types and latitude.  In case you have not yet read my articles on this process and the results, and the interactive winery map I produced, please refer to this link:

Riesling is a white grape that is well-known for showing the terroir it is situated.  The same can be said for the red Pinot Noir grape.  As such, I would like to undertake this same analysis for BC Pinot Noir wines as I did for BC Riesling wines. 

My Primary Question

Are there any unique aromas and flavours in Pinot Noir grown from a particular soil type in BC? 

BC Haywire Pinot Noir 2013
BC Haywire Pinot Noir 2013

We are breaking down BC wine regions into smaller sub-regions.  How does Pinot Noir express itself in each region?  Each region has different soil, slope, latitude, elevation and climate/weather. Our current regions from are:

How You Can Help

If you are a BC wine maker, and you produce Pinot Noir, and would like to participate, please email me at or fill out my contact form on the Contact Us page.

BC Upper Bench Pinot Noir 2012
BC Upper Bench Pinot Noir 2012

For the BC Pinot Noir Review, I need:

  • A bottle of each Pinot Noir wine for me to evaluate (each bottle must represent a single vineyard, or if from 2 vineyards, one vineyard must predominate the blend)
  • The wine to be from the 2013 vintage if possible but 2014 is acceptable (I am trying not to compare different vintages which may have very different weather differences and therefore effects on the grapes and wines, but I can arrange the data to compensate for this effect.)
  • The geographic location of the vineyard that is associated with each bottle of Pinot Noir (I can email you a Google Map where you can place a pin at the vineyard location)
  • Which Pinot Noir clones you used in the wine

Riesling is not as widely planted as Pinot Noir in BC, so 35 bottles was an acceptable number to taste for the limited production area in last year’s study.  Pinot Noir, being grown from Vancouver Island through to the BC interior, will need a greater sample size of wines to best describe the relationship between terroir (soil) and the Pinot Noir wines’ unique aromas and flavours.  I have been told that there are over 200 different bottles of Pinot Noir being produced by BC wineries.  I think for the purpose of this study that 70 different bottles should cover the variety in BC.

I would like to start tasting the wines by the end of April.  If you could send me your sample(s) before the end of April, that would be fantastic. Once I reach my 70 bottle goal, I will let everyone know.

As I am tasting through the wines, I will be posting articles, describing the wines I am tasting, and other observations on  I will also send out Tweets or Instagram photos about my wine tasting progress.

What I Will Produce

Just as I did for the BC Riesling Review, I will:

  • publish all my tasting notes
  • review the soil types associated with the vineyards
  • produce an article on unique aromas and flavours of BC Pinot Noir by soil type
  • produce an article on unique aromas and flavours of BC Pinot Noir by latitude and/or average temperature
  • produce an interactive story map about our BC Pinot Noir.

I hope to help readers learn more about BC Pinot Noir to make it more interesting for them to purchase and try. And, to help our wineries and vineyard operators figure out this heart-break grape.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.