Pinot Noir Food Pairing Guide. Appetizers, Entrées, Desserts

Lady with gnocci

Originally from Burgundy, France, the Pinot Noir grapes are grown in many regions around the world.

Pinot Noir (pronounced “Pee-Noh-Nwar”) is typically a light-bodied red wine with a delicate and fruity character. It can be consumed on its own, but when it comes to food pairing, it is probably the most versatile red wine.

wine and dine

Best Appetizers to Pair with Pinot Noir Red Wines

Due to its elegant flavors and light body, Pinot Noir pairs very well with a wide variety of appetizers.

Charcuterie Board

Pinot Noir cheese pairing is a gastronomic orgasm when done properly. Pairing Pinot Noir with light cheese is a great complementary pairing, and at the same time, the moderate tannins and acidity of Pinot Noir match beautifully with the rich flavors of ham, prosciutto, salami, or mortadella.

When pairing your Pinot Noir with cheese, it’s essential to present it on a high-end charcuterie board. Why showcase such exquisite food on an unattractive platter when a beautiful charcuterie board can elevate the entire experience. 


Vegetable Dips with Bread

Pinot Noir pairs very well with a variety of vegetable dips, due to its delicate earthy flavors. The creaminess and nutty flavors of dips such as Hummus make a great pairing, matching well with the acidity and subtle fruitiness of this red wine.

Beside Hummus, some other popular dips to pair with Pinot Noir are:

  • Baba Ghanoush

  • Artichoke dip

  • Spinach and feta dip


Tuna Tartare

Tuna Tartare is an excellent choice to pair with Pinot Noir. The light gentle flavor profile of Pinot Noir is an ideal complement to the delicate Tuna Tartare. The acidity of Pinot Noir helps balance out the rich flavors of the tuna fish.

raw meat


Pizza goes very well with Pinot Noir, mostly because of the light Mozzarella cheese and the red marinara sauce. When it comes to pairing Pinot Noir with pizza, there are certain toppings that contribute to a perfect match:

  • mushrooms

  • eggplant

  • prosciutto

  • onions


Grilled Vegetables

The light character of Pinot Noir wine makes it the perfect companion to starters like grilled veggies, such as eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, or bell peppers. It’s a perfect match, as the taste of the vegetables helps bring out the pleasant fruitiness of Pinot Noir.

grilled veggies

Great Main Courses to Pair with Pinot Noir Red Wines

Despite being a red wine, Pinot Noir is an excellent choice for pairing with light main course dishes like poultry and certain fish. Additionally, its acidity and tannins make it a suitable match for rich and hearty foods such as pork or lamb.

Based on our expertise, various Pinot Noir food pairings to consider include grilled salmon, duck breast, mushroom risotto or pasta, or even grilled lamb chops or pork tenderloin.

Mushroom Risotto

Oregon Pinot Noir or Burgundy would make a great companion for this light vegetarian dish. The earthy flavors of Pinot Noir would ideally complement the mushrooms, and the bright acidity of the wine will cut through the creaminess of the risotto and bring a refreshing taste to the palate.

Some classic pairings would be adding mushrooms to any dish, and your taste buds will thank you.

Mushroom risotto

Grilled Salmon

While it is a common belief that fish pairs best with white wine and meat with red wine, this situation presents an exception.

Along with Tuna, salmon is the highest in fat fish, therefore it requires a light red such as Pinot Noir, in order to balance the protein and the rich flavors of the fish. Any pasta or sushi with salmon will also make a perfect match for Pinot Noir.


Grilled Tuna steak

Just like Salmon, Tuna is a fatty fish, which might have an overpowering effect on some white wines. For that reason, it is best paired with red wine, particularly Pinot Noir, to balance the protein of the fish with the help of the low tannin content of the wine.

raw fish

Duck Breast

The rich, gamey flavor of duck is another great complement to a delicate red such as Pinot Noir. These two pair very well together, especially when the duck is cooked in a fruit sauce, such as a berry one, allowing the fruity flavors of Pinot Noir to come forward and express heavenly notes on the palate.

fatty meat

Pork Tenderloin

New World Pinot Noirs such as California or Chile, match perfectly with pork tenderloin. Those Pinot Noir wines are typically richer in body and alcohol content than their counterparts from Europe and Oregon, and can easily balance the mild and slightly sweet flavors of Pork tenderloin.

clean cut

Grilled Lamb Chops

The earthy flavors of lamb chops make a divine complement to the earthy notes of red Burgundy or Oregon Pinot Noir. The bright acidity of the Pinot Noir wine acts refreshingly on the palate during contact with the rustic flavors of lamb chops.

This is my favorite wine and food pairing with Pinot Noir, it is a match made in heaven.


Desserts to Pair with Pinot Noir Red Wines

The best wines to pair with sweet desserts are sweet wines, as the sweetness of the wine complements the sweetness of the food without canceling each other.

But there are some desserts that could go well with dry Pinot Noir wines:

Mascarpone with Berries

The fruit-forward profile of Pinot Noir would be an ideal match for the berries mixed with mascarpone cheese. It is probably the easiest and lowest in calories dessert to make at home.

sweet berries

Dark Chocolate with Strawberries

Dark chocolate tends to be less sweet than other chocolates, and when paired with strawberries, it will create a delightful pairing, making it a perfect after-dinner treat. Alternatively, you can use dark chocolate to make a brownie, which will also be a great companion to your Pinot Noir.


What to Avoid Pairing with Pinot Noir Red Wines

As with any red wine, there are some foods that need to be avoided with Pinot Noir wine. Some of those include:

  • Excessively sweet food and desserts

  • Spicy food

  • High-fat steaks and meats

The excessive sweetness of food will make Pinot Noir taste tart and acidic, and therefore, it should be avoided in Pinot Noir wine pairings.

Spicy foods, such as Asian cuisine or certain Mexican dishes, should not be paired with Pinot Noir or other red wines. Instead, they are better complemented by sweet white wines like German Riesling or Moscato d’Asti.

The delicate body and nature of Pinot Noir wine make it a bad companion to heavy foods such as Prime Rib and other rich meats, as the high fat and protein content of the food overwhelms the light character of Pinot Noir, and make it taste off-flavored. This kind of high-fat food should be paired with a full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon rather than Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir Food Pairing Techniques for a Perfect Wine Pairing

Pinot Noir food and wine pairing can be done in two ways – complementary and contrasting.

Complementary pairings are matching the light body of the wine with a light dish, while contrasting means pairing it with food richer in flavors and thus achieving a refreshing taste through the food-friendly balanced acidity of the Pinot Noir wine.(1)

To ensure a successful food pairing, it’s crucial to take into account the wine’s light body and the complexity of the food being matched with it.


If done correctly, Pinot Noir food pairings could be very enjoyable. At the end of the day, what works for somebody, might not suit you as well.

The most important part of wine pairing is finding the right balance of the food and the wine, without overwhelming one or another, or just follow pairing guide, and enjoy a mouthfeel from heaven.

Chilling Pinot Noir for half an hour before serving it will enhance its best flavors.


What kind of food pairs well with Alsace Pinot Noir?

Alsace Pinot Noir pairs well with a range of foods including poultry, red meat, pork, mushrooms, and salmon.

Can roast chicken be paired with Pinot Noir?

Yes, roast chicken is a classic pairing with Pinot Noir. The wine’s light body and moderate tannins complement the flavors of the chicken without overwhelming them.

How can I enhance the flavor of Pinot Noir when pairing it with roast chicken?

You can enhance the flavor of Pinot Noir by seasoning your roast chicken with herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. These herbs will complement the wine’s subtle earthy notes.

Is goat cheese a good pairing for Pinot Noir?

Yes, goat cheese pairs well with Pinot Noir. The wine’s acidity and fruitiness complement the tangy and creamy flavors of goat cheese.

Can Pinot Noir be paired with spicy dishes?

Yes, Pinot Noir can be paired with spicy dishes, but it’s important to choose a wine with low to moderate tannins and high acidity to balance the heat.

Which cuisines pair well with Pinot Noir?

Pinot Noir pairings extend to a variety of cuisines, including French, Italian, and Asian. The wine’s versatility makes it a great match for many different flavors and ingredients.

Is Pinot Noir a good match for vegetarian dishes?

Yes, Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that can be a great match for vegetarian dishes. It pairs well with earthy flavors like mushrooms, roasted vegetables, and grains.

Stan Kushkin

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