Top pairings | The best food pairings for Pinot Noir

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The best food pairings for Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is one of the most versatile red wines to match with food and a great option in a restaurant when one of you is eating meat and the other fish.

There are ingredients that will pair with practically any pinot noir, for example, it's a classic wine match for duck. Pinot can also pair well with salmon or tuna, depending on the way you’ve cooked them and the style of pinot you’re drinking.

Here are some food pairings for different styles of pinot noir, most of which (barring the mature pinots) should be served cool or chilled:

Light, fresh pinots

Such as: inexpensive red burgundy, Alsace pinot noir and other less expensive pinots, especially from poor vintages

Good pairings: Charcuterie, ham and other cold meats. Patés and terrines. classic French dishes with light creamy sauces such as rabbit or kidneys with a mustard sauce. Goat cheese. Grilled asparagus. Spring vegetables such as peas

The best pairings with red burgundy

Sweetly fruited pinots

Such as: those from Chile, New Zealand and California with bright berry fruit

Good pairings: Dishes with a touch of spice such as crispy duck pancakes (and hoisin duck bao buns as I've recently discovered!), grilled quail, pulled or char siu pork, seared salmon and tuna. Barbecues. Roast or other cooked beetroot dishes. Dishes that include cherries or figs like this duck and fig combination at Kooyong in the Mornington Peninsula

Silky, elegant pinots

Such as: top red burgundy and other Burgundian-style pinots

Good pairings: Roast chicken or guineafowl (even with lots of garlic as this post illustrates. Pigeon. Rack of lamb, served pink. Rare fillet steak and carpaccio. Beef Wellington. Roast pork with herbs and fennel. Chicken or turkey sausages. Calves liver, sweetbreads. Dishes with morels and other wild mushrooms. Mushroom risotto. Roast or grillled lobster

Rich, full-bodied pinots

Such as: those from Central Otago or pinots from a hot vintage

Good pairings: Butterflied lamb, chargrilled steak, venison. Dishes like cassoulet or duck with olives if they’re more rustic. Roast goose. Hare Royale as you can see from this post. Coq au vin where the sauce is made with pinot noir. Glazed ham. Roast turkey. Brie and similar cheeses. Milder blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola dolce.

Mature, truffley pinots

Such as: older vintages of Burgundy

Good pairings: feathered game such as grouse, partridge and pheasant. Cold game pie. Dishes with truffles.

See also

Top pairings with pinot noir - Natasha Hughes' report from the 2009 International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC)

Pinot Noir and Asian food - some observations from Ch'ng Poh Tiong

Pinot Noir and lamb - my report on a workshop at the 2011 IPNC

9 Fine Wine Matches for Duck - Including Pinot Noir and other suggestions 

Photo by freeskyline at

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Comments: 11 (Add)

Christine Hefner on March 5 2023 at 22:31

Wine class information, please

Holly on February 10 2023 at 02:09

Hi Susan,
You obviously have not had a Anderson Valley Pinot from Mendocino County. Closest to a Burgundy you can get in the states.

Susan on October 7 2021 at 23:46

Just throwing this out there....La Crema from Willamette Valley is excellent! Far outweighs the same from Monterey or Sonoma. Sending thumbs up to Oregon from California!

Chris on August 18 2021 at 15:27

What about Alsatian Muscat with any sort of Asparagus? And what about same with other food?

ruou ngoai thanh nien on October 1 2019 at 08:03

Absolutely loved it!!! Crisp, fruity & oh so refreshing. here some wine:

Fiona Beckett on March 9 2018 at 07:44

I'd serve something like seared duck breasts or roast lamb and keep the accompaniments simple as this is quite an old wine (though, hopefully, should be delicious!)

Maeghan on March 9 2018 at 02:23

I recently purchased a bottle of my birthday year wine. A 1988 Joseph Drouhin Volnay Pinot Noir. What would you prepare for such a treat?

Vlad on May 24 2017 at 13:20

Good breakdown, Fiona. I've recently tasted 2013 Sew&Sew Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills which by your classification would be sweetly fruited, and duck was the only thing it really paired with. Here are my experiments:


dominic buckwell on October 8 2014 at 10:42

are you sure about light pinot complementing asparagus? Or is it is just not to waste something more expensive with a notoriously difficult food type which does not really pair with anything?

Fiona Beckett on May 6 2014 at 12:02

True, James - there should be, especially as I got an opportunity to taste some last summer. Will update!

James Willougby on May 6 2014 at 11:41

Why no mention of the amazing German pinot noirs? Have tasted some outstanding stuff recently to rival the best Burgundy/New Zealand.

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