It's International Pinot Noir Day on August 18! Celebrate with our ‘Perfect Pairings’ series, which is here to take your wine-and-food duos to the next level. Thanks for tuning in!
One of the most popular red wines in the world, pinot noir sits firmly atop the throne when it comes to New Zealand vino (alongside sauvignon blanc, of course). It takes a truly gifted winemaker to craft a standout pinot, as the grape is notoriously difficult to grow and particularly sensitive to temperature changes.
But when pinot meets the right conditions and the right vintner, magic happens. Depending on the environment, this berry can take a variety of forms in the bottle: light and vibrant, smooth and subtle, and full and sultry among them. Pinot’s versatility and myriad available styles make it a superb food wine — and below, we’ll give you some failsafe pairings for the aptly named ‘heartbreak grape’!
Roast chicken and pinot noir are an absolutely classic match — and for good reason. The typically fruit-forward, structured wine brings out the juiciness and succulence of the bird without overwhelming the savoury flavour or disappearing behind it. Pretty much any style of pinot will work with a gorgeous roast, but if you want to get specific, roll with a bright, fruity Burgundy from France.
Roast chicken and pinot noir are an absolutely classic match — and for good reason.
Mushrooms are another food often mentioned as a clutch pairing with pinot noir. That’s because pinot generally drinks beautifully with woody and earthy flavours — which mushrooms, of course, have in abundance. To get the most out of this match, serve your mushrooms sautéed with herbs or as a pâté, and pour a light, elegant pinot from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
...pinot generally drinks beautifully with woody and earthy flavours — which mushrooms, of course, have in abundance.
Regardless of the style of pinot you’re drinking, this red generally offers zippy acidity that’s ideal for sipping with fatty, flavoursome meats. We recommend pairing a fresh, lush style from Central Otago with a savoury duck dish. They’ll sit perfectly alongside one another — the wine’s zinginess slicing through the fattiness of the duck and the juiciness of the meat complementing the sumptuous fruit and spice characters of the pinot.
...this red generally offers zippy acidity that's ideal for sipping with fatty, flavoursome meats.
Pinot noir classically pairs well with softer cheeses such as Brie and Camembert.
Brie and Camembert
A good rule of thumb when you’re pairing wine with cheese is to put like with like — so bolder wines go with bolder cheeses (a big cabernet with a sharp aged cheddar), funky cheese meets its match in unique wine (blue cheese with, say, a petrol-esque riesling), creamy cheese works with buttery wine (triple crème and chardonnay), and so on. Pinot noir classically pairs well with softer cheeses such as Brie and Camembert; the wine’s acidity deftly balances the texture of the cheese while complementing and enhancing the flavour.
If soft cheeses aren’t your thing, you can also pair mild nutty options such as Gruyère with medium-bodied pinots. Excellent choices hail from Central Otago, California, and Argentina.