Reasons to Use Pinot Noir for Cooking – Best Bottles

Wine in the kitchen


Choosing the right red wine to use for cooking can have a great impact on the flavor and aroma of a dish. When selecting a wine for cooking, it is important to consider the intensity of flavor, acidity level, and whether the wine will complement or contrast the ingredients used in the recipe. (1)

Preparing a meal

Additionally, it is always recommended to use a wine that you would also drink, as a bad-tasting wine will remain like that even after the cooking process, and in the end, you might be left with a dish with an undesirable taste.

Bearing all this in mind, you can choose a red wine that will elevate your plate to the next level.

Pinot Noir is a light red wine with subtle flavors of sweet cherries, berries, and earthy notes, making it a popular choice when it comes to using it for cooking.

Ideas for cooking with Pinot Noir

Here are some ideas on how to use Pinot Noir for cooking:

1. Using Pinot Noir in sauces:

  • Pinot Noir’s subtle flavors can add depth and complexity to sauces, making it a great addition to dishes like steak and mushrooms, roasted meats, and pasta.
  • To make a Pinot Noir sauce, start by sautéing onions and garlic, then adding Pinot Noir and reducing it by half. Add in any other ingredients your dish requires, such as herbs, spices, or broth, and continue to cook until the sauce thickens. Bear in mind, you should not put too much wine in the sauce as the wine’s flavors will concentrate and overpower your dish.

2. Braising with Pinot Noir

  • Braising is a method for tenderizing where meat is slowly cooked in a liquid, allowing it to become tender and infused with flavors.
  • Pinot Noir is a great choice for braising, as it adds a rich and nuanced flavor to dishes like braised beef or lamb.
  • To braise with Pinot Noir, start by browning the meat, then add in the wine and any other ingredients, such as vegetables, herbs, and spices. Cover the dish and cook over low heat until the meat is tender.

3. Cooking with Pinot Noir in stews:

  • Pinot Noir can also be used to add richness and complexity to any kind of stew.
  • The wine’s fruity and earthy notes pair well with ingredients like mushrooms, carrots, and onions.
  • To use Pinot Noir in stews, add it near the end of the cooking process, allowing it to merge with the other flavors in the dish.

Best Pinot Noir for cooking:

The Pinot Noir you choose specifically for cooking does not have to cost hundreds of dollars, but in order to enhance the flavors of your food, it should be a decent wine that you can enjoy a glass of with your dish, once the cooking is done.

Let’s look at our top choices:

1. Conscious Pinot Noir

A great choice of Pinot for cooking, and not only. This Willamette Valley wine is an elegant Pinot Noir with expressed notes of sweet cherry, earth, and licorice.

The wine’s well-balanced acidity makes it a great companion when cooking any poultry dish such as chicken with mushrooms, or you can even use it for heavier entrees such as Beef Bourguignon.

At a price of 13$, it’s an affordable cooking wine that can be enjoyed with dinner as well.

2. Decoy By Duckhorn Pinot Noir

California Pinot Noirs tend to be more robust than their counterparts from Oregon. Decoy Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied red wine with low tannin content and a fruit-forward profile..

It will make a great ingredient in plates such as red meat stews, steak sauces, and when braising meats.

At a great price of 16 $, it is yet another great choice of cooking wine.

3. Cavit Pinot Noir

Nothing goes better with Italian food than Italian wine. Italian Pinot Noir wines are famous for their elegance and minerality, adding flavors to the most complex dishes.

The Cavit Pinot Noir will best contribute its flavors to meals such as red seafood stew, any tomato sauce-based pasta such as Lasagna or Bolognese, and mushroom-based dishes.

The mere price of 9$ per bottle makes it a great deal.

4. Louis Chavy Coteaux Bourguignon Pinot Noir

Why not treat yourself and your meal with a bottle of earthy Burgundy Pinot Noir? It is elegant and mineral on the palate with a pleasantly smooth finish.

Beef Bourguignon cooks best with Burgundy Pinot Noir. Another great option will be escargot, risottos, and any game dish.

Slightly pricier than the previous ones, this wine costs 23$.

5. Trader Joe’s Pinot Noir Reserve

Trader Joe’s Pinot Noirs are usually inexpensive wines, however, there are many great options that can be used both as cooking wines and as dinner wines. TJ’s Reserve Pinot Noir is a medium-body red wine, with a fruit-forward profile and balanced acidity.

Some good cooking suggestions for this wine would be infusing it into ratatouille, beef stews, and any mushroom-based sauces.

At just 10$ per bottle, this Pinot Noir is a great red wine for cooking.


Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that can add depth and richness to dishes when used in cooking.

From marinades to sauces and braising liquids, there are many ways to incorporate Pinot Noir into your cooking for a delicious and indulgent meal.

When preparing your next culinary masterpiece, try incorporating a bottle of Pinot Noir into your dish for a touch of wine-infused flavor. And don’t forget to treat yourself to a glass of it in the end!

Stan Kushkin

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