PINOT NOIR

      PINOT NOIR IS THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR LIGHT-BODIED RED WINE.  IT’S LOVED FOR ITS RED FRUIT, FLOWER, AND SPICE AROMAS THAT ACCENTUATED BY A LONG, SMOOTH FINISH.

 

      PINOT NOIR IS VERY FICKLE AND CAN HAVE QUITE A RANGE OF FLAVORS DEPENDING ON THE VINTAGE AND WHERE IT’S GROWN. SO INSTEAD OF GENERALIZING, HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MAJOR PINOT NOIR PRODUCTION AREAS BELOW.

 

FRENCH PINOT NOIR

     IN BURGUNDY, PINOT NOIR IS USUALLY VERY HERBACEOUS AND LIGHT (EXCEPT FOR PRISTINE VINTAGES). EARTHY AROMAS DOMINATE INCLUDING SMELLS SIMILAR TO A BROWN PAPER BAG FULL OF MUSHROOMS OR WET LEAVES. ALONG WITH THE EARTH ARE FAINT FLORAL SMELLS OF ROSES, VIOLET AND A SMELL OF FRUIT THAT LEANS TOWARDS RAW, FRESHLY PICKED CHERRIES.

 

GERMAN PINOT NOIR

     GERMANY PRODUCES PINOT NOIR RIGHT NEXT TO THE BORDER OF FRANCE IN A WINE REGION CALLED AHR. THESE WINES TEND TO OFFER MORE RASPBERRY AND SWEET CHERRY AROMAS ALONG WITH A HEALTHY PORTION OF EARTHINESS.

ITALIAN PINOT NOIR

     PINOT NOIR GROWS BEST ACROSS NORTHERN ITALY WHERE THE CLIMATE IS MUCH COOLER. THE FRUIT FLAVORS OF ITALIAN PINOT NOIR ARE SIMILAR TO THAT OF FRANCE, BUT THE EARTHY FLAVORS LEAN TOWARD SMOKE, TOBACCO, WHITE PEPPER AND CLOVE. PINOT NERO, AS THE ITALIANS CALL IT, TEND TO HAVE MORE COLOR EXTRACTION AND HIGHER ALCOHOL.

 

CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIR

     A GIANT LEAP IN FLAVOR AND INTENSITY FROM THE PINOT NOIR IN FRANCE AND GERMANY, CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIRS ARE BIGGER, LUSH AND MORE FRUIT-FORWARD. LOOK FOR FLAVORS RANGING FROM SWEET BLACK CHERRY TO BLACK RASPBERRY AND SECONDARY AROMAS OF VANILLA, CLOVE, COCA-COLA, AND CARAMEL.

 

OREGON PINOT NOIR

     OREGON PINOT NOIR IS USUALLY A FEW STEPS LIGHTER IN COLOR AND TEXTURE THAN CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIR; AND IT’S USUALLY MORE TART. EXPECT CRANBERRY, BING CHERRY FRUIT FLAVORS WITH SECONDARY AROMAS OF TRUFFLE MUSHROOMS AND SOMETIMES EVEN A GREEN DANDELION STEM FLAVOR.

 

NEW ZEALAND PINOT NOIR

     ON THE SOUTHERN ISLAND IN NEW ZEALAND THERE IS A PLATEAU CALLED CENTRAL OTAGO THAT GETS ENOUGH SUNSHINE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON TO PRODUCE RICH PINOT NOIR IN A STYLE SIMILAR TO CALIFORNIA. WHAT MAKES NEW ZEALAND PINOT NOIR UNIQUE FROM CALIFORNIA PINOT IS STRONGER SPICE AND GAMEY-MEATY AROMAS ALONG WITH LOADS OF FRUIT.

 

AUSTRALIAN PINOT NOIR

     PINOT NOIR DOESN’T GROW VERY WELL IN AUSTRALIA EXCEPT FOR SOME LOCATIONS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA AND AROUND MORNINGTON PENINSULA IN VICTORIA. EXPECT SWEETER FRUIT NOTES LEANING TOWARDS BLUEBERRY AND EVEN BLACKBERRY BUT IN A SPICY-GAMEY TINGE SIMILAR TO NEW ZEALAND IN THE AROMA.

 

CHILEAN PINOT NOIR

     SOUTH AMERICAN PINOT NOIR HAS A LOT OF SIMILARITIES TO OREGON OR CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIR. THE AROMAS LEAN MORE TOWARDS FLOWERS LIKE VIOLETS, ROSES AND VANILLA THAN FRUIT.

 

RED MEAT

PORK, RABBIT, STEAK, LAMB, VENISON, STEWS

POULTRY

CHICKEN, DUCK, QUAIL, GUINEAFOWL, TURKEY, GOOSE

SEAFOOD

SALMON, TUNA, LOBSTER, HALIBUT, TROUT

CHEESE

GOAT CHEESE, COMTE, GRUYERE, BRIE, BLUE CHEESE, GORGONZOLA, FETA, GOUDA, CHEDDAR, MANCHEGO

HERBS/SPICES

NUTMEG, CORIANDER, CINNAMON, LICORICE, CLOVES, FENNEL, GARLIC, LIKE ROSEMARY OR HERBS DE PROVENCE

VEGETABLES

MUSHROOM, PEAS, BEETROOTS, ASPARAGUS, OLIVES, TRUFFLES, BRUSSEL SPROUTS, TOMATOES, BROCOLLI, 

 

NEED SOME IDEAS?

 

     PINOT NOIR IS A CATCH-ALL FOOD PAIRING WINE. PINOT NOIR IS LIGHT ENOUGH FOR SALMON BUT COMPLEX ENOUGH TO HOLD UP TO SOME RICHER MEAT INCLUDING DUCK. IN A PINCH, WHEN EVERYONE ORDERS A VASTLY DIFFERENT ENTREE AT A RESTAURANT, YOU CAN USUALLY WIN BY PICKING PINOT NOIR; IT WILL MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY.

 

     BLENDS FROM ALL REGIONS ARE GOOD WITH JUICY, GAMEY MEATS AND FOOD WITH COMMON FRENCH SPICES, LIKE ROSEMARY OR HERBS DE PROVENCE.

SPICED DUCK WITH CONFIT RAGÙ

DUCK IS A CLASSIC DISH TO PAIR WITH PINOT NOIR. THE ACIDITY IN PINOT WILL CUT THROUGH THE FAT AND GAMEY FLAVORS OF DUCK. IF YOU SPICE THE DUCK, IT WILL BRING OUT ALL THE NUANCED FLAVORS IN PINOT NOIR.

 

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

ANY TIME YOU CAN HAVE AN EARTHY-FATTY DISH USING MUSHROOMS IT WILL ALWAYS HIGHLIGHT THE FRUITINESS OF PINOT NOIR. THIS DISH IS ESPECIALLY GOOD WITH OLD WORLD STYLE PINOT NOIR.

 

CHICKEN W/ BEURRE ROUGE

CHICKEN USUALLY LOVES A RICH WHITE WINE SUCH AS CHARDONNAY, HOWEVER, A BEURRE ROUGE SAUCE (YOU CAN MAKE IT WITH PINOT NOIR!) WILL MATCH IT FANTASTICALLY!

 

GRILLED TROUT WITH BACON, GREEN BEANS AND FARRO

FISH AND RED WINE IS TRICKY BECAUSE THE AFTERTASTE OF SEA AND THE AFTERTASTE OF TANNIN IN RED WINE IS ATROCIOUS. HOWEVER, IF YOU USE A VERY FRESH RIVER FISH SUCH AS TROUT OR SALMON SERVED IN A HEARTY STYLE, YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH A LITTLE RED WINE.

 

WHITE PIZZA

HIGH ACIDITY AND AROMATIC RED WINES GO VERY WELL WITH CHEESE AND BREAD. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO EAT PIZZA AT LEAST 2 TIMES A WEEK TRY ADDING FRESH HERBS TO ACCENTUATE THE FLORAL NOTES IN THE PINOT NOIR

 

LOBSTER PEA RAVIOLI W/ CREAM

A RICH FISH LIKE LOBSTER CAN PAIR WITH PINOT NOIR AS LONG AS IT’S A COMPONENT WITHIN THE DISH.

 

WILD MUSHROOMS AND POLENTA WITH GOAT CHEESE AND HERBS

VEGETARIANS WILL LOVE PINOT NOIR BECAUSE IT GOES WITH MOST ROASTED VEGETABLE DISHES, HERBS AND OF COURSE… MUSHROOM!