This ultimate guide to Pinot Noir food pairing is the last resource you need to enjoy wine pairings as a beginner. You’ll discover classic pairings and lesser well-known options as well.
Pinot Noir Food Pairing
To pair Pinot Noir with food, it is important to understand the different flavors of the wine. That’s why we’re going to start by exploring the Pinot Noir flavor profile
Pinot Noir is one of the most popular red grape varieties. This versatile wine is relatively light (i.e., soft tannins), so even people who generally prefer white wines can enjoy it. While each bottle of Pinot Noir has different qualities, you can usually expect to taste the following aspects in the flavor profile. If you like this detailed guide, let me know, and I may create other guides for Pinot Grigio and other famous wine varieties.
Most wine drinkers enjoy cherry and raspberry notes in their glass of Pinot Noir.
Non Fruity Flavors
Beyond berry notes, Pinot Noir wine is usually described as having mushroom and clove notes. If the wine has been aged in oak barrels, it may also have vanilla and baking spices.
What if you prefer other red wines with your food? See my guide to What Pairs With Cabernet Franc?
Pinot Noir and Food: Classic Pairings To Start With
Wine enthusiasts have enjoyed the following classic pairings for many years. Consider these ideas as your starting point, whether you call them an ideal pairing, an excellent pairing, or a perfect pairing. Once you are familiar with these classic pairings, you can experiment with a wider variety of dishes.
1) Seared Salmon (or Grilled Salmon)
A dish of seared salmon is a traditional pairing with Pinot Noir. This popular dish works well with a glass of Pinot Noir because salmon is relatively firm and mild in flavor. This is an exception to the classic wine pairing advice, which states that wine wines always go with fish.
Tip: Like the idea of trying red wines with fish? Please look at my guide to red wine with sushi to find seven tips to deepen your experience of wine with fish.
2) Roasted Chicken
If roast chicken is your favorite food, then pint noir can work well with your meal. A roast chicken generally works with the fruit flavors of a glass of Pinot Noir. This pairing works particularly well in the case of a light-bodied Pinot Noir.
3) Beef Bourguignon
One of the essential elements of wine pairing is simple geography: what grows together often pairs well together. Another way of stating this rule of thumb: look for traditional pairings of food and wine that have been enjoyed for a long time. A long-standing pairing – like Pinot Noir and Beef Bourguignon – is usually a good sign.
As a Pinot Noir food pairing, Beef Bourguignon works exceptionally well. As Café Delites recipe points out, Beef Bourguignon is traditionally made with a healthy serving of Pinot noir in the dish itself. You will need about 3 cups of Pinot Noir to make this dish.
4) Beef Wellington
The rich flavor of Beef Wellington is a classic pairing for Pinot Noir wine. Traditionally, Beef Wellington features mushrooms and pastry. A glass of Pinot Noir is more than able to stand up to the distinct flavor of this classic beef dish. If that wine pairing doesn’t appeal to you, consider another option. Enjoy your Beef Wellington with the best red blend wine globally – Bordeaux style red wines.
It is important to note that wine experts have a specific approach for pairing Pinot Noir with Beef Wellington. With this pairing, you’ll want to indulge in a higher-end bottle. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent wine options under $60.
Here are a few options for mid-tier and higher-priced wines that work well with Beef Wellington.
Mac Forbes Yarra Junction Pinot Noir
This Australian Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley sells for under $50. It has earned high reviews from wine reviewers: 94 out of 100 is the average score.
Resonance Pinot Noir.
Get started in the Oregon Pinot Noir category with this well-regarded bottle. It typically sells for approximately $47. The 2015 vintage has earned an average wine critic score of 91 out of 100.
5) Roast Pork
Roast pork is another classic meat pairing with Pinot Noir. Not sure which Pinot Noir to try? Decanter recommends choosing “Pinot Noir from warmer climates.” For example, you could try a Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley of Australia. Other dishes can undoubtedly work well for those who prefer different pork dishes. However, it avoids too much sauce with a light-bodied Pinot Noir.
6) Mushroom Risotto
Do you prefer vegetable dishes?
In that case, make sure you try Mushroom dishes with your next glass of Pinot Noir. This classic pairing works well for a few reasons. The earthy flavors in wild mushrooms combine well with Pinot Noir. It can be challenging to find foods that match the earthy notes in the wine.
Alternately, other mushroom dishes work with a wide range of Pinot Noir. For example, you might make a salad featuring mushrooms and fresh herbs, a glass of Pinot Noir works well.
7) Portobello Burgers
Prefer vegetable dishes that you can pick up and eat? In that case, Portobello burgers are a good option. You can make Portobello burgers in a variety of styles. The Portobello Mushroom Burgers recipe is a good pick for summer – you can make four servings in less than 45 minutes.
8) Cheese Pairings For Pinot Noir
A wide variety of cheese pairs well with Pinot Noir, whether you like Oregon Pinot Noir, French Pinot Noir, or something else. Try these four-cheese pairings with your next glass.
Blue cheese is something of an acquired taste for many of us that grew up eating cheddar. The smokey flavors in blue cheese add to the experience, so give it a try.
This type of French cheese is aged for months to develop exquisite flavors. Depending on where you live, this cheese may also be called Gruyère de Comté. By the way, you can use this cheese in soups and other dishes for flavor.
Combining Gouda with Pinot Noir can work well. Pinot Noir wines are usually made in low tannic styles. Therefore, most Pinot Noir wines combine effectively with Gouda.
9) Lamb Souvlaki
Pinot Noir and lamb have been enjoyed together for many years. In addition to lamb souvlaki, you might also try a rack of lamb. To add a geographic focus to your dinner, think New Zealand. The island country has recently become an excellent Pinot Noir producer and lamb.
For the best experience, ask for your rack of lamb to be served medium-rare. Cooking beyond that level runs the risk of destroying some of the most exciting flavors in the dish.
10) Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey is the last classic pairing we’ll cover in this introductory section. You might be used to drinking a full-bodied white wine with roast turkey, but it is worth giving Pinot Noir a chance. There’s a good reason why Pinot Noir is featured in my post on the best wine for Thanksgiving.
Roast turkey is a good Pinot Noir food pairing because the bright acidity in the wine is refreshing. The wine is also versatile enough to work with other dishes commonly served with roast turkey. That said, if you are inviting people over for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas, it is best to offer a range of wines. Some people may want a palette cleanser between courses. Others may strongly prefer New World wines with bright fruit flavors. Offering guests multiple options, including non-alcoholic drinks, is a wise choice.
Tip: Don’t like roast turkey? There are several other ways to go. You can enjoy this wine with duck breast and other game dishes.
11) Pasta Dishes
Like other red wines like Chianti, Pinot Noir has often enjoyed pasta dishes. In particular, look for pasta dishes that feature bright tomato sauce. Tomatoes bring decent acidity, which tends to go well with Pinot Noir. You can’t go wrong with a classic pairing like marinara with meatballs.
Beyond Classic Pairings: Creative Pairings With Pinot Noir
As you gain knowledge in the world of Pinot Noir wines, you’ll discover the variety this wine has to offer. There are bolder Pinots and bigger-bodied Pinots. Or you might focus your wine tasting on aged wine to experience the subtle flavors that only come with time. You can venture beyond the classic pairings as you explore the huge range of Pinot Noir wines.
12) Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Combining wine and chocolate is notoriously difficult because the sweetness of chocolate overwhelms most wine. One solution to this challenge is simply focusing on sweet wine like a semi-sweet Riesling or a tawny port. Those are all great ideas, but we’re focused on the art of Pinot Noir food pairing in this post.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberries is one of the best ways to enjoy chocolate with Pinot Noir. To make the most of this treat, indulge in high-quality dark chocolate.
Making this dessert is simple. You need four ingredients – strawberries, dark chocolate, 1 cup of Pinot Noir wine, and some coconut oil. For complete instructions, see the recipe on the Feed Feed blog: Pinot Noir Soaked Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
13) Pinot Noir Pizza
Wine and pizza have a long and pleasant history together. Previously I covered the best wine with pizza. That introduction post is a good starting point if you are looking for a food-friendly wine to go with most pizzas.
If you have a bottle of Pinot Noir, what kind of pizza should you have with it? There are a few options to try. Pinot Noir pairs well with earthy herbs like oregano and spring vegetables like spinach and sprouts. If you like a vegetarian pizza, Pinot Noir is a great choice.
As mentioned above, Pinot Noir also goes well with roast pork and roast chicken. Therefore, you can enjoy these foods on your pizza with good results. You may want to stay away from rich sauces and high spice levels. Too many intense flavors on your pizza may completely overwhelm the Pinot Noir.
14) Crispy Duck Pancakes: An Asian Food Option
Pancakes don’t have to be limited to the weekend anymore. You can enjoy crispy duck pancakes with Pinot Noir wine. In contrast to traditional pancakes, crispy duck pancakes have significant protein elements, so they work better with wine. Just make sure you don’t forget the plum sauce when you make this dish or order it from a restaurant.
To learn how to make this classic Chinese dish, look at this BBC Good Food recipe. It takes about 40 minutes to make and serves two people.
15) Chicken Noodle Soup
Are you looking for a warm soup to enjoy on a cold day? In that case, skip the creamy soup and make yourself some chicken noodle soup. As mentioned above, Pinot Noir often pairs effectively with chicken. This soup’s lack of heavy cream also means that your Pinot Noir will not be overwhelmed.
16) Chocolate Mousse
Whether you start your meal with Pinot Noir or not, you may wonder what kinds of dessert work well with Pinot Noir. Fortunately, the choices are simple: chocolate! In addition to the chocolate-covered strawberries option mentioned earlier, a chocolate mousse is a good pick if you are in a restaurant.
Up for the challenge of making chocolate mousse at home? Fortunately, it is relatively simple and easy to make. Jenn Segal, the author of the Once Upon A Chef blog, offers a recipe that takes about 20 minutes to make.
Pinot Noir Food Pairing
After you have a few meals featuring a Pinot Noir food pairing, you might be keen to try something different (so check out this Malbec vs Pinot Noir comparison). For those who want to stay focused on red wines similar to Pinot Noir, check out this guide to light red wine. Alternatively, you might be ready to branch out into the beautiful world of white wines. For something a bit sweeter, I suggest trying semi-sweet Riesling (a charming wine that does not get enough attention in the wine world).