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Five Great Food Pairings For Pinot Noir That Might Surprise You – Perfect Matching

The conventional wisdom is that Pinot Noir pairs best with duck or mushrooms, but this grape is surprisingly versatile and will match a big range of different foods. While the wines from Burgundy might be considered best with the traditional local dishes, the new world wines of the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley have a wide variety of styles that prove Pinot Noir can elevate almost any kind of cuisine. Check out our suggestions below.

Cheese and Charcuterie

Cheeses are often paired with light whites or sweet wines, but you can be more adventurous. There are as many different flavours in cheese as there are in wine. Cheeses with earthy, mushroom and herbal flavours will make for a great matching with Pinot, particularly an aged Camembert style. Likewise, cured meats and charcuterie taste great matched with a wine that has a little tannin to cut through the fats, and the savoury elements of Pinot Noir match the flavours perfectly. The rich flavours of paté or terrine will also work well.


Ideal Dish: Charcuterie and Italian Cheese board from Soumah

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Fish and Seafood

Gone are the days when only white wine was served with fish. With very delicate seafood like oysters, it’s probably best to avoid Pinot Noir, however an example without noticeable tannin will pair even with scallops, lobster and shrimp. Even better is tuna or flaky fish like Trout, while Salmon or smoked fish with Pinot Noir is a match made in heaven.

IMG_9010Ideal Dish: Caraway pastry, smoked trout, caviar,  fine herbs from Oakridge


The natural cherry and game characters of Pinot Noir pair wonderfully with the sweet and smoky flavours of barbecue, that classic Southern American style on the rise in popularity here. In particular barbecued pork and skewers with bacon wrap will be highlighted by the corresponding flavours in Pinot Noir. You would also be surprised how well barbecued chicken goes with a glass of Pinot.

IMG_3038Ideal Dish: Low ‘n’ slow Southern style BBQ platter by Red Gum at Red Hill Brewery


Those tricky vegetables

Vegetable dishes often feature flavours that can be quite strong or alternatively there is no single dominant flavour. It is commonplace to rely on other elements of the dish, like accompanying grains or creaminess, to dictate a wine pairing, Pinot Noir naturally pairs well with some of those tricky vegetables. Think beetroot, either raw or roasted, chargrilled or roasted asparagus and caramelised Brussels sprouts. It works well with the acidity, sweetness and natural strong flavours of tomato. Pinot Noir even pairs well with stir fried vegetables, particularly with a soy-based flavour like hoisin sauce or even Chinese five spice.


Ideal Dish: Roasted tomatoes, Main Ridge Dairy goat curd and grilled ciabatta from Merricks Creek


The most common recommendation is a perfumed Syrah or Malbec with smooth tannins to go with the delicate flavour of lamb. While the method of cooking may influence the type of wine, a medium-bodied Pinot Noir will match leg or rack of lamb just as well, particularly when served with fresh herbs. Pinot will pair nicely with a lamb souvlaki, or even gamey, herb-infused lamb sausages.

IMG_3946Ideal Dish: Roast shoulder of lamb, roasted zucchini, Yarra Valley feta, mint from Meletos at Napoleone Brewery and Ciderhouse

More Traditional Pinot Noir Matches

If you’re looking to make a more traditional pairing for your Pinot Noir, try these classics:

  • Duck – works just as well with duck a l’orange and Peking duck pancakes. A true wine and food pairing made in heaven.
  • Rabbit, Quail and other Game – Delicate gamey flavours work better with lighter, less overpowering reds like Pinot Noir.
  • Mushroom and Truffle – the ‘forest floor’ and funky elements of Pinot Noir align perfectly with mushroom and truffle-flavoured dishes.
  • Beef – whether its Beefsteak and Burgundy, Beef Bourguignon or just a beautifully cooked cut, Pinot Noir works really well as an accompaniment to Beef dishes.

With almost 300 wineries across the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, there are a huge range of styles and regional variation in Pinot Noir. Coupled with its natural versatility, you can match it with almost any kind of cuisine.

For more food and wine pairing ideas, check out our Japanese Food and Wine Pairing article.

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Kieran Clarkin
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Sage Baginski
Sage Baginski
5 years ago

thanks for the post! I bought a 2008 Kooyong Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula when I was visiting Australia last november (can’t remember what the wine’s flavor notes are) and I am trying to decide what to pair it with. Bacon and caramelized Brussels sprouts sound amazing, any thoughts on whether that would be a good pairing with this particular pinot?

Sage Baginski
Sage Baginski
5 years ago
Reply to  Sage Baginski

I know this is kinda a long shot but thought I’d throw the question out there.

4 years ago

While the method of cooking may influence the type of wine, a medium-bodied Pinot Noir will match leg or rack of lamb just as well, particularly when served with fresh herbs. Pinot will pair nicely with a lamb souvlaki, or even gamey, herb-infused lamb sausages.

2 years ago

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