Pinot Noir: Why It Should Be in Your Pantry + 5 Recipes for Perfect Pairing

Let’s start with the facts: Pinot noir is the ultimate wine. Before you deny this, hear me out. After a string of summery sips, the season of red wine has descended upon us. However, not everyone embraces the full-bodied, richly aromatic reds that are held up as the pinnacle of grape fermentation.

The overpowering flavors that swirl around in a glass of Chianti can cause even the most seasoned wine aficionado to pucker their lips, but don’t think that all reds were created equal.

For many, red wine complaints can be solved with Pinot noir.

The Professionals Vote Pinot

Many professionals agree that Pinot noir is applicable in almost any culinary situation. In fact, a well-known wine personality named Joshua Wesson once described Pinot Noir as a “cross dresser.” Often you’ll hear that it’s a red wine that thinks it’s a white because it is crisp and soft enough to go with more “white-wine dishes” than most red wines.

A classic Burgundian wine, Pinot noir embodies so much of what wine lovers prize in a good bottle. The grapes are capable of balance and nuance, yet resilient enough to age for decades without absorbing too much “age”. In fact, Pinot noir is known for its moderate degree of tannin (that stuff made from grape skin and seeds that makes your face pucker). This makes for a sleek, easy-drinking red wine that goes perfectly with almost anything you can whip up in the kitchen.

Seriously, you can either cook with the wine or pair a nice bottle of Pinot with your meal. Either way it’s hard to go wrong.

Don’t believe me? Just watch the movie Sideways.

How Do you Select the Right Bottle?

So now that you’re convinced of the ethereal qualities that a Pinot noir can offer a dish, it’s time to choose how you are going to select a bottle and pair it with your meal.

The number one rule when selecting a Pinot to cook with (or drink) is, “If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook it.” Pretty self-explanatory.

The number two rule is, “What goes together grows together.” This saying is a gentle reminder that generally a recipe from the same region as the vintage you select will be a nice pairing.

If you keep these two rules in mind, you will find that cooking with Pinot noir will become your new secret ingredient in the kitchen.

Whether you are flavoring sauces, deglazing pans, brazing meat, or simply sipping on a glass while you cook, be mindful of the interplay of the wine’s flavor as it begins to reduce and concentrate on a hot stove.

Remember, a fruiter Pinot noir will become almost jammy with an extended cooking time. However, their concentrated black cherry notes will pair well with salmon, pasta dishes, or chicken. On the other hand, a more full-bodied, tannin-rich Pinot noir brings out the richness of game meat, casseroles, and stews.

Yes, when you get down to it, cooking with Pinot noir can be complex. So play around with it. That is, after all, the beauty of cooking with wine.

Try Pinot Noir Pairing at Home

Want to see wine pairing in action? Try one of these recipes to see how delicious a Pinot noir can be.

1. Beef Bourguignon

beef-bourguignon-1
She Wears Many Hats

Probably the ultimate dish made with Pinot noir and too delicious to resist. Try it, you’ll like it.

Get the recipe here.

2. Braised Duck in Pinot Noir Sauce

braised_duck_pinot-noir_sauce
Urban Cookery

Whether you hunt it yourself or buy it in a store, duck is delicious. Then when you braise it in a pinot noir sauce it becomes otherworldly.

Get the recipe here.

3. Wine Braised Short Ribs with White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

pinot noir wine-braised-short-rib
Life as a Strawberry

Slow cooked ribs with potatoes is always a great choice. So why not slowly let all the flavors meld together for hours for maximum enjoyment?

Get the recipe here.

4. Chicken & Squash Cacciatore

pinot noir chicken and squash casserole
Jamie Oliver

Stewed chicken and vegetables make the ultimate winter meal. However, when you add some wine to the mix it may just become your favorite dish.

Get the recipe here.

5. Baked Brie with Wine-Soaked Blackberries

blackberry-baked-brie-pinot noir
Lemon Tree Dwelling

Simple and a crowdpleaser. Baked brie with a wine soaked blackberry compote can be a stunning appetizer or a delectable dessert. Your choice.

Get the recipe here.

Read More: 10 Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner