Monday, March 25, 2013

Wine Tip of the Week - Food Pairing Champion: Pinot Noir

Looking for a wine that is versatile to pair with food and may even convert some of your white wine only friends or family to enjoy the wonders of red wine? Let me introduce (or perhaps reintroduce) you to Pinot Noir.  A good Pinot is fruity, high in acid (great for food pairing, think of adding lemon juice to food to kick up the flavor), and has only a moderate level of alcohol - making it über-versatile in pairing with food.
There aren't many foods Pinot Noir doesn't make at least a decent pairing with - just avoid hot and spicy dishes (however other spices like cumin, cinnamon, ginger are fine) and strong dishes, such as gamey venison (unless you've got a nice earthy Burgundy that might take on gamier dishes nicely).
Dishes that do very well with Pinot include: Lamb, beef, fish (less "fishy" varieties such as salmon, tuna, and swordfish), chicken (especially Thomas Keller's roast chicken), quail. Simpler versions of pasta and even pizza can go well with Pinot Noir's high acidity level.  Pinot goes nicely with many cheeses as well - including very acidic soft goat cheeses, which can be challenge to other red wines. Super strong cheeses may overwhelm a delicate Pinot Noir, and some do not care for Pinot and Blue Cheese (I, however love the pairing!).  To include most of the food pyramid - Pinot also goes nicely with vegetables and with mushrooms - just avoid dishes with thick, creamy, buttery sauces.


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