Pinot Noir Meat Pairing

Pinot Noir Meat Pairing: The Ultimate Guide

Have you ever watched a theatrical play during practice? Yes, it can be enjoyable. Yet, When the premier arrives, the set, costumes, and lights absorb your attention with sensational excitement. The presentation dazzles you with an engulfing experience. Pairing elements that activate all your senses bring the show to life and you can understand fully what it’s all about. Wine and food pairings are like a Broadway play. Combining the right type of wine with a particular meal brings out characteristics in both presenting an exciting show for your senses. The combinations are endless. To simplify, Let’s take a look at one of the most popular reds. Pinot Noir is beloved by many for its mild versatility. So, what is the best Pinot Noir meat pairing?

The best Pinot Noir meat pairing depends on the type of pinot noir you’re drinking. A bold Pinot Noir from a warmer climate will do well with dark meat like lamb, steak, or duck. Lighter bodied Pinot Noir pairs excellently with roasted chicken or fatty fish like Salmon.

We’ve said this many times. Wine is all about personal preference. If you want to have a big cabernet with fish or a pinot grigio with lamb stew, go right ahead! Use our wine rules as a guide and create the experience that you wish to have.

A Little on Food and Wine Pairing

Pairing food and wine can seem daunting but don’t fear. It’s all about using a few guidelines to experiment and find the result you want.  You can match your meal to the wine you have on hand or choose a specific wine based on your menu.

Like the actors in that Broadway play, you want all the elements of your dining experience to collaborate in harmony. Everything we consume contains specific compounds that determine how we experience it.

We can look at elements like taste, smell, texture, and intensity. Good food and wine pairing will balance strong or harsh elements and amplify enjoyable characteristics.

Author Note: With an undesirable combination, a wine may overpower the delicate spices of a meal or an acidic meal will make a wine taste flat. If you like spicy food opt for lower alcohol wines as high alcohol increases the burn.

Think about a recipe for meaty chili. Ingredients like beef and kidney beans complement each other because they both contain umami. When combined they amplify their savory flavors to create a delightfully hearty meal.

Consuming wine and food together have the same reactions. Drinking a Sangiovese with notes of roasted tomato amplifies the red sauce in meatball spaghetti. Aim to pair food and wine with similar flavor profiles.

Opposites Also Attract

Glass of Wine Served with Ribs in Restaurant

There are seemingly opposite flavors that, instead of creating conflict, balance, and enhance each other.  Chocolate covered cherries, for example, are delightful because the creamy sweetness of chocolate calms the cherries’ sour acidity.

A tart New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will cut through the creaminess of fettuccini alfredo. While a California Chardonnay will enhance the buttery sensation of both.

Next time you create a pairing think about the individual characteristics of both the wine and the food. If you match flavors that balance or complement each other you will likely have a show-stopping experience.

Pinot Noir Basics

To make this clearer we will dive in deeper with Pinot Noir. As with all food and wine pairings, you have to take a look at what Pinot Noir’s characteristics are before you hit the kitchen.

Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red wine originally from Burgundy, France. Its grapes are sensitive to growing environments so it usually provides delicate complex flavors. That also means you might have to spend a few more bucks than other wines.

Regardless of price and growing complexities, It is one of the easiest wines to pair with many types of food. It has ample body, silky tannin, and crisp acidity that bodes well for most meals.

Moderately acidic, it is known to have bright red fruit and dried herb flavors. It often delivers cherry, raspberry, mushroom, clove, and vanilla to your palate. Pinot Noir is usually low in tannin making it very approachable.

Pinot Noir’s characteristics will vary upon where it is from. The region, soil, and climate impact which flavors and aromas are present.

Most predominantly produced in France and the United States, Pinot Noir is grown across the world.

An easy way to guess what your bottle will taste like is to look at the climate (warm or cool) it is grown in. While this is not always the case, it a quick way to choose a bottle that has the characteristics you prefer.

Pinot Noir Climates

Places like California and South Australia have warmer climates. You will often find bolder Pinot Noirs from here that have jammier fruit flavors and harsher tannin.

In the cooler climates of Burgundy (France) and Oregon wines will taste fresh and herbal.

Top Tip: By removing the skins during fermentation Pinot Noir grapes are sometimes used to make rosé. They can also be used to make sparkling wine like Champagne and Cremant d’Alsace.

If you love Pinot Noir and want to try something similar, look for Cinsault, Zweigelt, or St. Laurent.

Pinot Noir pairs well with many meat dishes. The key is to establish what your bottle brings to the table. Then pick the type of meat and other ingredients in a dish.

Warmer Climate Pinot Noir Meat Pairing

Grilled partridge, sea bass, Tartarus. Different dishes on the table in the restaurant

Big and tannic Pinot Noirs tend to hail from warm climates like California and South Australia. Here you may find rich full-bodied reds that have juicy fruit flavors like cranberry and plum along with allspice and vanilla.

Braised duck with olive tapenade brings sparks to the table when paired with a rustic Pinot Noir.

This rich meal demands a bolder wine than can handle it with elegance. Cooked fruit flavors balance the savory meal and the higher tannin content creates a backbone. Peking duck is a sweeter alternative that will bolster aromatics of cinnamon and clove.

Beef bourguignon is a savory stew that will pair great with Pinot Noir.

The heartiness of this stew will highlight the warm fruit flavors of Pinot Noir. Vanilla characteristics from the wine’s oak will summon the feeling of the hearth. The stronger flavors and texture of warm climate Pinot Noir will not be overpowered by this heavy meal.

Lamb with truffle sauce is sensational with Pinot Noir.

Since Lamb is more nuanced than beef, it should be paired with a wine that has a lot of complex flavors. Pinot Noir fits the bill. It can be very intricate with silky tannins that sits well with lamb. Truffles encourage the earthy mushroom notes found in the wine

Cool Climate Pinot Noir Meat Pairing

As we mentioned before wines from cooler climates like Burgundy and Oregon tend to be more delicate and complex. They will have more fresh fruit, floral and earthy notes. You may find flavors like tart cherry, rose petal, and mushroom.

Try pairing Grilled Salmon and Asparagus with an elegant Pinot Noir.

Most people think you should drink white wine with fish. However, light red wines can add a fun twist to your meal. While you wouldn’t want to pair a heavy Cabernet with cod. A lighter-bodied Pinot Noir does very well with fatty fish like Salmon.

Fruit-forward Pinot Noirs have enough acid to cut through the oil in fish creating balance on your palate. Their elegant herbal notes match the grassy taste of roasted asparagus. Chargrilled flavors will blend and enhance the delicate smokey aromas in the wine.

Roasted chicken and root vegetables make a great match for Pinot Noir.

A cool-climate Pinot Noir is the perfect wine to stand up to the earthy flavors of dried herbs. Choose recipes that are full of herbs like rosemary and thyme.

Author Note: Since these wines tend to be moderately tannic they will hold up to the robust flavor without overpowering the meal. Consider adding cranberry sauce or a grain cooked with fruit to accentuate the wine’s bright fruit notes.

Roasted Pork Loin and garlic mushrooms create synergy with Pinot Noir.

Again, the garlic, onion, and mushrooms will bring out the best earthy flavors in Pinot Noir. Its body and acid will complement the savory protein components of the pork.

What Not to Pair with Pinot Noir

Red wine with prosciutto ham

There are some foods that just will not make the best pairing with Pinot Noir.

Avoid shellfish, like oysters. Pinot Noir will overpower their delicate flavors.

If you love spicy food like Asian dishes or hot wings, it is best to choose a different wine. Pinot Noir will make the food taste hotter.

Super powerful barbecue will be too strong and make your delicate Pinot Noir taste flat.

Watch out for vegetables like arugula and brussels sprouts as they will make the wine taste more bitter.

Pinot Noir Meat Pairing Success

Pairing Pinot Noir is simple. Grab your wine, examine what the key characteristics are, and create a menu that compliments the wine you chose.

Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that goes well with many types of meat dishes. Pair similar or balancing flavors to take your experience to new heights.

Choose meaty meals that have a lot of flavor like smokey or herbal characteristics. Watch out for meals that are extremely heavy as they may overpower your wine.

Serve Pinot Noir around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in a large glass shaped like an upside-down bell to get the most impact out of the wine. This shape will gather the wine’s intricate aromas to send herbs and bright fruit bursting into your palate.

Now you have the recipe for the perfect Pinot Noir and meat pairing. Knowing what wines pair well with different foods is a great skill to have for first dates too! You’re ready for lights camera action.

To living a full-bodied life,


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