An ancient grape variety which was probably known by the Gauls, pinot noir was already cultivated at the beginning of the Christian era. When, in his work De re Rustica, Latin agronomist Columelle refers to a variety which offers the advantage of withstanding drought, resisting cold spells 131as long as they are not too damp, which gives, in some climates, a wine that ages well and, which by its fertility, thrives in even the poorest soils, does he not describe pinot? For a long time, this grape variety was designated under the name noirien (“the black one”) because of the color of the grape. It was named pinot because of its pine-cone shape.