Are you wondering what food pairs well with Pinot Noir? This easy guide includes the best food pairings for different Pinot Noir styles so you can create the perfect wine match for every occasion.
Pinot Noir is one of the most food-friendly and versatile red wines – that’s why it is often called the perfect dinner guest. The elegant wine pairs well with fruity and earthy flavors, making it a great 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 things you need to know 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 for black pine cone
- Also known as Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder, Pinot Nero
- Style: Light-bodied red wine
- Popular regions: It thrives in cooler growing regions such as Burgundy, Oregon, Baden, and Central Otago
- Flavors: Black cherry, red berries, warm spices, and earthy 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.
Check out my Beginner’s Guide to New Zealand Wine for more easy wine tips.
Pinot Noir Styles
Depending on where the grapes are grown and how the wine is made, Pinot Noir comes in two distinct styles. The styles suit specific foods and flavors, making it easier for you to find the perfect Pinot pairing.
Fruity, less tannic
Fruitier Pinot Noirs 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.
What food does Pinot Noir go well with?
Pinot Noir has the exceptional ability to complement a wide array of dishes and cuisines due its bright acidity and lower 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 Pinot is more acidic than the food and both flavor profiles match in intensity – you don’t want the wine to overpower the food or vice versa.
Here are some mouth-watering dishes that pair well with Pinot Noir:
Appetizers and Snacks
- Cheese stuffed mushrooms
- Charcuterie board including cured meats such as salami and prosciutto
- Italian Meatballs
- Chicken liver pâté or terrine with seed crackers
- Soft brie or aged camembert cheese
Pinot Noir pairs well with a range of cuisines including meat, seafood, and vegetables:
- Beef Bourguignon – THE classic Pinot Noir pairing
- Sirloin steak with plum sauce – perfect with a New Zealand Pinot Noir from Central Otago
- Lamb cutlets with beetroot and goat cheese salad
- Lamb goulash with stewed potatoes
- Coq au Vin with potato gratin – North American Pinot Noirs from Oregon or California pair well
- Grilled spatchcock 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 tannins can take on salmon’s richness)
- Seared tuna steak with roasted root vegetables
- Creamy mushroom risotto – a popular vegetarian choice
- Tagliatelle pasta with truffle sauce (it works particularly well with an aged Pinot Noir from Burgundy)
- Prosciutto pizza (Pinot’s bright acidity cuts through the richness of the pizza)
- Dark chocolate mousse
- Cherry brownies
- Raspberry sorbet
- Chocolate covered strawberries
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