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Craving some Pinot Noir? You’ve got good taste—as one of the most popular red wines out there, Pinot Noir’s dry, acidic, and elegant flavor has solidified it as a top favorite for wine enthusiasts all over the world. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you learn everything you need to know about this luxurious wine so you can enjoy a fragrant, fruity glass of Pinot Noir without having to break the bank.

Section 1 of 5:
Best Pinot Noir Regions and Wines

  1. 1
    Burgundy, FranceBurgundy is the birthplace of Pinot Noir, so, it’s safe to say that this region of France makes a pretty decadent bottle of the stuff. Burgundy Pinots are world-famous and luxurious with the price tags to prove it; after all, a bottle of Grand Cru Red Burgundy from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti will set you back $15,000 to $20,000. Still, there are plenty of Burgundy wines available at a reasonable price point—you can even find an inexpensive bottle for less than $20, depending on where you look.[1]
    • Good Burgundy Wine Regions: Côte de Nuits, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, Côte Chalonnaise, and Côte de Beaune[2]
    • Good Burgundy Wines:
    • You might see Pinot Noir bottles categorized as "New World" and "Old World." "Old World" Pinot Noir refers to wine from Europe—specifically, Burgundy. "New World" Pinot Noir comes from all across the globe, including North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. "New World" and "Old World" winemakers also follow different kinds of rules and processes when it comes to wine production.[4]
  2. 2
    Oregon and California, United StatesCalifornia and Oregon make the most Pinot Noir in the United States—and they’re really good at it, too. Between both states, Oregon and California boast over 50,000 acres (200 km2) of Pinot Noir vineyards between them.[5] If you live in the US or just want to get a taste of west coast wine, this is the option for you.
  3. 3
    New ZealandNew Zealand isn’t as well-known as France and America when it comes to Pinot, but their wine is a must-try for any and all Pinot enthusiasts out there. A Pinot Noir from New Zealand offers a complex and fragrant array of flavor profiles, leaving you with sip after unforgettable sip.[9]
    • Good New Zealand Wine Regions: Central Otago, Marlborough, Wairarapa, Nelson, and North Canterbury
    • Good New Zealand Wines:
    • Don’t stress too much about the vintage of the wine while you’re shopping. Plenty of wine tasters have given high marks to all kinds of Pinot Noirs—you can still enjoy a delicious glass even if it’s not vintage.
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Section 2 of 5:
How do you pick a good Pinot Noir at a store or restaurant?

  1. Choose a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Oregon, California, or New Zealand. Take a close look at the wine menu or wine bottles to see which region each wine was produced in. Pinot Noirs from Burgundy, Oregon, California, and New Zealand are sure to be delicious and refreshing.[12] Feel free to ask a waiter or store employee for a recommendation, too!
    • Chilean Pinot Noirs are also well-loved by many wine enthusiasts.
    • Lots of people enjoy the Pinot Noirs produced in Alsace, France; Alto Adige, Italy; and Pfalz, Germany.[13]
    • Look for wine ratings online on sites such as, on social media sites like Instagram, and in publications like Wine and Spirits.

Section 3 of 5:
What does a good Pinot Noir taste like?

  1. 1
    Most Pinot Noirs are dry and moderately acidic. Pronounced "pee-now nuh-waar," this wine is made with a special variety of dark, closely-clustered grapes. The word "pinot" is French for pine while the word "noir" means black. When combined, this French phrase pretty accurately describes what Pinot Noir grapes look like.[14]
    • Pinot Noir is a classic , full-bodied wine with a slightly higher alcohol content than some other varieties of wine.
  2. 2
    A ripe Pinot Noir has a fruity, berry-like flavor. A typical glass of Pinot Noir has notes of raspberry and strawberry, giving it a really fragrant flavor. Some varieties have especially sophisticated flavor notes, like mulberry and loganberry.[15]
    • Some types of Pinot Noir have a cherry-, fig-, or plum-like flavor, too.
  3. 3
    A good Pinot Noir has subtle spicy and earthy flavors. Some glasses have smooth, fragrant sensual notes, along with touches of mint and other herbs. When a Pinot Noir ages enough, it can even develop truffle-like flavors.[16]
    • Aged Pinot Noir can also have leathery and gamey notes.
    • Some Pinot Noir varieties even have a subtle, mushroom-like flavor.
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Section 4 of 5:
What does Pinot Noir pair well with?

  1. 1
    Turkey, duck, and other types of poultryThe light, subtle flavor of Pinot Noir offers a refreshing and delicious complement to the delicately decadent flavor profile of duck, turkey, quail, and other gamey meats. A bottle of Pinot Noir from a vineyard in Burgundy, New Zealand, or California is good with especially rich dishes like turkey or duck, while light poultry entrees pair well with light Pinots from Oregon and Burgundy.[17]
    • Recipe recommendations: Seared chicken wings, braised duck, smoked duck, and roast chicken[18]
  2. 2
    FishFish dishes usually go super well with a glass of white wine, but Pinot Noir is a refreshing exception. The lightness of Pinot Noir balances out really well with the heartier notes of the fish, creating a savory and well-rounded meal that you won’t soon forget.[19]
    • Grilled fish dishes taste especially wonderful with a glass of Pinot Noir.
    • Recipe recommendations: Grilled halibut, salmon patties, and grilled tuna[20]
  3. 3
    Pasta with tomato saucePinot Noir isn’t just for meat-based dishes. The bold flavor notes of the pasta sauce perfectly complement, the subtle, more complex flavor palette of the Pinot Noir, creating a refreshing and luxurious meal for either lunch or dinner.[21]
    • Not a big fan of tomato sauce? That’s okay—Pinot Noir makes a killer combo with pesto sauce, too.
    • Recipe recommendations: Pasta casserole and smoked salmon pasta[22]
  4. 4
    MushroomsThe subtle, earthy qualities of a good Pinot Noir are an excellent match with all kinds of mushrooms. Grilling some portobellos? Whipping up some pasta with truffles? A glass of Pinot Noir is sure to taste great with it.[26]
    • Think about adding some mushrooms to your pasta dish, too. The earthy tones of Pinot Noir will mesh perfectly with the flavors of the mushrooms.
    • Recipe recommendations: Poulet de provencal, grilled portobello mushrooms, and veal chops with portobello mushrooms[24]
  5. 5
    CheeseIn the mood to snack on something light while you enjoy your Pinot Noir? You’re in luck—tons of tasty cheeses are a delicious complement to this wine. Firm, medium-aged cheeses like Monterey Jack, Manchego, Gruyère, and young cheddar pair excellently with Pinot Noir, along with classic "stinky" cheeses like Morbier, Taleggio, and Époisses.[25]
    • Turn your cheese craving into a full-on appetizer! Sprinkle some dried strawberries and cranberries onto your plate as a flavorful addition.
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Section 5 of 5:
How do you serve Pinot Noir?

  1. 1
    Refrigerate your Pinot Noir so it’s around 57 °F (14 °C). All red wines taste best when they’re chilled, and this iconic red is no exception. Stick your bottle in the fridge about 2 hours before you plan on pouring yourself a glass—or, pop it in the freezer for about 15 minutes if you’re in a rush.[26]
    • You can also stick your Pinot in an ice water bath for 5 minutes, which will get it nice and cool.
  2. 2
    Pour your Pinot Noir into a Burgundy-style wine glass. These glasses feature a wide bowl that tapers to a thin rim. This unique shape really allows all of the different flavor notes to mix and meld with the air, creating a deliciously aromatic scent for you to savor as you drink.[27]
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      • If you’re a beginner to Pinot Noir, buy wine at a low price point first. That way, it won’t be a huge loss if you end up disliking the wine.
      • When pairing wine and food, utilize complementary flavors. For example, a sweet wine goes well with a salty or sour food.

      About This Article

      Samuel Bogue
      Co-authored by:
      Certified Sommelier
      This article was co-authored by Samuel Bogue and by wikiHow staff writer, Janice Tieperman. Samuel Bogue is a sommelier based in San Francisco, California. He is the Wine Director of the renouned Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and a wine consultant for other top restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. He gained his Sommelier certification in 2013, and since then has been recognized as a Zagat "30 Under 30" award winner and a Star Chefs Rising Star. This article has been viewed 17,515 times.
      1 votes - 60%
      Co-authors: 5
      Updated: July 28, 2022
      Views: 17,515
      Categories: Featured Articles | Wine
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 17,515 times.
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