What to Pair with Pinot Noir - Rune Blog

What to Pair with Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is not as light as Chardonnay or as dense as Cabernet Sauvignon. Pairing it may not be as straightforward as using the red wine and white wine rules for pairing. Instead, you need to know more about the qualities of the wine to determine what would be best with it.

Choosing the Wine

Of course, it all starts with a good Pinot Noir.  You want to find a wine that is full-bodied and richly flavored.  This wine should be characterized by high acidity, more like white wine.  It has lower tannin content than a Cabernet, but it still shares red wine pairing characteristics. This makes it a good choice for many different foods.

Matching Pinot Noir with Appetizers

A strong Pinot Noir can be paired with a number of cheeses. However, if you want to get the most flavor from both the wine and the cheese, you should try softer varieties such as Brie and Goat Cheese.  Camembert and Gruyère can be good matches as well. You enjoy this wine with the typical charcuterie with cold meats such as ham and pastrami.  

Matching Pinot Noir with Main Dishes

The traditional pair with red wine is steak.  Pinot Noir, while not a Cabernet, is nonetheless strong enough to stand up to the high-fat content in a good steak, sliced roast beef, or beef stew. 

However, you may want to keep it a bit lighter to allow the wine to really shine.  It is a good pairing with roasted meats such as turkey, ham or goose. The deep browning that comes from roasting is a good match with the earthier taste of the wine. 

The wine’s natural dryness complements juicy pork steaks as well as beef.  This extends to other pork dishes, such as loin, skewers, or smoked, pulled pork. A roast duck or Peking duck may make a delicious pairing.   Pinot Noir adds balance to gamey meats just as it does for a richer fare.  Likewise, lamb chops or a grilled leg of lamb are good choices. 

Keep in mind that seasoning can change the taste of meats. Most especially, sauces can alter how the wine will pair with the food.  Mushroom sauces are usually a good bet to pair with Pinot Noir due to its earthy tones.  Pinot Noir tends to be delicious with truffle dishes or mushroom risotto.

Choosing Fish

Many times diners are discouraged from pairing red wine with fish. However, the meaty fishes are often a good match for Pinot Noir.  A salmon steak, for instance, has a very distinct flavor and texture.  A tuna steak has an even stronger flavor.  Both have a higher fat content than flaky fish.  As such, they both can be delicious when paired with Pinot Noir.  This is especially true when smoked or grilled fish.

Picking a Side Dish

Just as roasted meats are a nice pairing, so, too, are grilled asparagus or other grilled vegetables.  You don’t have to have a grill, of course. You can go for spring vegetables such as peas or Brussels sprouts. 

Few wines are as versatile as a good full-bodied Pinot Noir. You are sure to enjoy it more if you pair it with the right foods.  Fortunately, it matches up to so many different types of foods.