Pinot Noir & Food Pairings

The best explanation I ever heard about Pinot Noir is that it’s that classic book you read in high school English class. At the time you found it boring and overhyped as you didn’t understand it, but as you aged, you appreciated it more and more. Years later, when you returned to that novel, you finally understood it and had a much deeper understanding of yourself and the world because of it.

Pinot Noir is much like that book as it seduces you with its complexity, and not its power. Here is a red wine that is soft and subtle. Winemakers have a love/hate relationship as in one chance year it will produce the most exceptional wine they’ll ever create, yet over decades it may produce mediocre results.

Thousands of wine aficionados have individually spent thousands of dollars on bland Pinot Noir in hopes to find that masterpiece that will stick with them forever. However, finding that rare and excellent Pinot Noir seems to make it all worthwhile.

In recent years, California has been producing some reliable Pinot Noir that is more fruit forward, somewhat strawberry candied, and lip-smacking delicious. It’s the famous Burgundy wines from France (which are 100% Pinot Noir) that are considered the greatest red wines, as the winemakers there focus on less fruity flavours, and more complex earthy flavours like the forest floor, and mushroom.

Ontario, Oregon and New Zealand lie somewhere in between France and California and tend to have a smoky strawberry and cherry kissed charm.

When to break out the Pinot Noir

California Pinot Noir is great for pretty much any meal. It’s soft, seductive, and delicious. If you’re looking to share a glass or two over a conversation, Pinot Noir is the perfect red.

All other Pinot Noir occasions are best served with food. This is an intimate and challenging wine and thus is served best at smaller gatherings. I adore Oregon Pinot Noir with Salmon, however all variants of Pinot Noir are stunning with this richer fish.

Earthier versions of Pinot Noir are fantastic with duck, where the cherry smokiness of the wine perfectly highlights a crisp and juicy duck. Mushrooms with their earthy and meaty quality are also a notable match.

Pinot Noir also makes a great gift for your mom, or mother-in-law. If she’s not into wine, stick with the reliable and sweeter California versions. If she’s into food and wine, steer more towards Oregon and New Zealand. If she’s a lover of wine, talk to someone where you buy your wine and have them pick you out a French Burgundy that suits your budget.

Common Scents/Flavours of Pinot Noir:

Red and Black Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Plum, Pomegranate, Red Currant, Beet, Olive, Lavender, Jasmine, Violet, Mint, Tea Leaf, Mushroom, Truffle, Damp Leaves, Coffee, Allspice, Coriander, Ginger, clove, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Mocha,Espresso, Smoke, Caramel, Burnt Sugar, Walnut, Toast, Barnyard

Notable Producers of Pinot Noir:

California: Carmel Road, Lotus, McManis, Robert Mondavi
Canada: Blue Mountain, Mission Hill, Tawse
Oregon: Argyle, Elk Cove, Ponzi
New Zealand: Delta, Six Foot Six, Stoneleigh, Voss Estate

Pinot Noir Goes Great With:

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