Are you wondering what food pairs well with Pinot Noir? This handy Pinot Noir Food Pairing Guide includes the best food and wine pairings for different Pinot Noir styles so you can create the perfect wine match for every occasion.
Pinot Noir is an incredibly food-friendly and versatile wine – that’s why it is often called the perfect dinner guest. The elegant wine pairs well with fruity and earthy flavors, making it a perfect match for a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetables. Stuffed mushrooms, grilled salmon, and the classic Beef Bourguignon are just some popular Pinot Noir pairings.
10 facts about Pinot Noir
Before I get into some delicious food pairings, here are 10 quick Pinot facts:
- Pronunciation: Pee-noh Nwahr
- Origin: Burgundy, France
- Translation: French word for black pine cone
- Also known as Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder, Pinot Nero
- Style: Light-bodied wine (red, dry wine)
- Popular regions: It thrives in cooler climates and growing regions such as Burgundy (France), Oregon (United States), Baden (Germany), and Central Otago (New Zealand)
- Flavors: Black cherry, red berries, warm spices, earthy aromas incl. forest floor notes
- Ageing: 3-5 years
- Serving temperature: 15C/60F
- Fun Fact: Pinot Noir is often described as the diva of the vineyard. The fickle and temperamental grape is thin-skinned and hard work.
Pinot Noir styles
Depending on where the grapes are grown and how the wine is made, Pinot Noir comes broadly speaking in two distinct styles. They each suit specific foods and a range of flavors, making it easier for you to find the perfect pairing.
Fruity, less tannic
Fruitier Pinot Noirs (often New World Pinot Noir wines) suit lighter matches including salmon, chicken, pasta, risotto, and bright berry flavors.
Earthy, more tannic
Bigger, more tannic Pinot Noirs on the other hand pair well with heartier dishes including beef, lamb, duck, pork, and earthy flavors such as mushrooms.
How to pair Pinot Noir with food
Pinot Noir wine has the exceptional ability to complement a wide range of dishes and cuisines due to its high acidity and light tannins (bitterness).
One of the easiest ways to create a winning Pinot Noir pairing is to match the flavors in the wine and put them in the accompanying dish, e.g. sirloin steak with plum sauce goes well with a Central Otago Pinot Noir. Also, make sure the glass of Pinot Noir has a higher acidity than the food and both flavor profiles match in intensity – you don’t want the wine to overpower the food or vice versa.
Top 10 ingredients to pair with Pinot Noir
Here’s a list of ingredients that pair particularly well with the distinctive profile of Pinot Noir:
- Mushrooms: Earthy mushrooms, such as chanterelles or porcini, complement the subtle flavors of the wine.
- Roasted poultry: Whether it’s roasted chicken or turkey, the delicate flavors of Pinot Noir enhance the succulence of the meat.
- Cherry tomatoes: The bright acidity of Pinot Noir pairs well with the sweet and tart notes of cherry tomatoes in salads or pasta dishes.
- Wild game birds: Gamey birds like duck or quail are well-matched with the elegant characteristics of a classic Pinot Noir.
- Truffle: Dishes featuring truffle oil or shaved truffles harmonize with the wine’s complex profile, creating a luxurious pairing.
- Beetroot: The earthy and slightly sweet notes of beetroot complement the fruitiness of Pinot Noir, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
- Salmon: Pinot Noir’s light tannins and acidity complement fatty fish, whether it’s grilled or prepared in a delicate sauce.
- Pork: Roast pork dishes, especially those with a slightly sweet glaze or fruit-based sauces shine with a fruit-forward Pinot Noir.
- Herbs: Dishes with herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage match the wine’s aromatic profile.
- Cranberries: Whether in sauces or as a side, cranberries offer a delicious sweet-tart contrast to Pinot Noir’s dry profile.
Best Pinot Noir food pairings
Here are some mouth-watering dishes that exceptionally pair well with Pinot Noir.
Appetizers and Snacks
This versatile wine effortlessly complements a spectrum of flavors, from light and tangy goat cheese to savory charcuterie:
Pinot Noir pairs well with a range of cuisines including meat dishes, seafood, and vegetables:
- Beef Bourguignon – THE classic pairing with Pinot Noir
- Sirloin steak with plum sauce – perfect with a New Zealand Pinot Noir from Central Otago
- Lamb pie with beetroot and feta salad
- Lamb goulash with stewed potatoes
- Coq au Vin with potato gratin – North American Oregon Pinot Noir or a California Pinot Noir pair well
- Grilled spatchcock or roast chicken with vegetable kebabs
- Peking duck – a popular Chinese pairing
- Festive roasted turkey (Pinot Noir is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas)
- Slow-cooked pork shoulder with crispy potatoes
- Grilled salmon with sautéed Spring vegetables (Pinot’s silky and low tannins can take on salmon’s richness)
- Seared tuna steak with roasted root vegetables
- Risotto with wild mushrooms – a popular vegetarian choice
- Tagliatelle pasta with a creamy sauce featuring truffles – an excellent pairing with an aged Pinot Noir from Burgundy
- Prosciutto pizza (Pinot’s bright acidity cuts through the richness of the pizza)
Pinot Noir’s red fruit flavors and good acidity make it a great complement for a variety of desserts, particularly those featuring berries and dark chocolate:
- Dark chocolate mousse
- Cherry brownies
- Raspberry sorbet
- Chocolate covered strawberries
Pinot Noir’s soft tannins, bright acidity, and red fruit notes complement a diverse range of cheeses, especially those with a creamy texture:
- Soft brie
- Aged camembert cheese
- Young and aged gouda
- Milder blue cheeses