It’s the ultimate red wine for food matches, but it helps to know what works best when it comes to pinot noir pairing. Here’s your handy guide.
It’s the benchmark lighter bodied red, with sales booming as Australian drinkers fall under the spell of its delicacy, gorgeous perfume and all-round food friendliness. And with International Pinot Noir Day being celebrated on August 18, there’s no better excuse to pop a cork.
The history of the classic “red Burgundy” stretches back almost a millennium in France, but Australia’s love affair with the sweetly fruited grape began in the 1970s. Lighter in colour and lower in tannins than the fuller bodied cabernet sauvignons and shirazes of the world, light bodied pinot noir is renowned for its temperamental nature – but that just adds its appeal. Generally an aromatic, dry and elegant drop, pinot noir encompasses a tasting spectrum from light to medium bodied, and from fruit-driven to more complex, spicy and earthy – which all helps to amp up its food friendliness.
When it comes to food matches with different styles of pinot noir, a good rule of thumb is to keep in mind the “weight” of the wine.
Lighter versions of pinot noir are redolent of cherry and red fruits and there is generally a higher acidity in the wine. Which means, they will pair beautifully with any kind of charcuterie board or antipasti platter. Try the Innocent Bystander pinot noir– this award-winning Yarra valley winery’s pinot is perfect for antipasto.
While pinot noir food pairing with cheese is a no brainer – especially aged cheeses are a good pairing with the earthy notes – cured meats are the perfect pinot noir snack pairing, the wine’s supple tannins helping to cut through the fats. Squealing Pig Central Otago pinot noir is a perfect match for cured meats, as is 42 Degrees South pinot noir from Tasmania.
While malbec or shiraz are usually the go-to red wines for red meat, a medium-bodied pinot is also a good pairing. Something like the bright and balanced Stonier pinot noir or Scotchmans Hill pinot noir, with its juicy ripeness will work perfectly. When it comes to lamb, look for a powerful version of pinot noir like the Quealy – Campbell & Christine pinot noir from Mornington Peninsula.
Other good pinot noir food pairing recipe ideas include an unctuous coq au vin, or tomato sauce-based pasta, with which you can’t go wrong with a classic like the Penfolds Bin 23 Pinot Noir 2018. Going vegetarian? A mushroom risotto is the perfect playmate for a glass of pinot thanks to the simpatico earthiness of the flavour profile. A bottle of Fowles – Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch pinot noir would be a great pick.
And you can ignore the old dictum to only serve white wine with seafood. Wondering what red wines go with fish? Shellfish such as prawns and scallops and bigger-flavoured fish such as salmon and tuna steak thrill to the flavour profile of a lighter-style of this red burgundy such as the Fickle Mistress Marlborough pinot noir.
Clearly, when it comes to serving pinot noir paired with food, there’s no dearth of options.