10 of the Best Pinot Noir and Dinner Entree Combos

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pinot noir dinner entree combinations

What Pinot Noir Pairs Well With… Anything?!

Pinot noir is widely accepted to be among the most versatile red wines to match with just about any meal. Whether you’re eating fish or red meat, varietals of pinot noir serve as perfect complements to your dish. Less known, however, is the fact that while some ingredients pair with nearly any type of pinot noir (duck, mushrooms, etc.), when you add sauces or switch to seafood, pinot noir selection becomes much more nuanced.

For instance, light and fresh pinot noirs, such as a budget-friendly red burgundy, pairs well with rabbit, charcuterie, goat cheese, and spring vegetables. On the other hand, sweet and fruity pinot noirs, often produced in New Zealand, Chile, or California, offer a bright berry flavor that pairs well with spice-centric dishes such as gilled quail, seared tuna, or crispy duck plates.

And getting even deeper into the pairing options, top burgundy-style pinots, rich full-bodied pinot noirs, and older vintage pinot noirs all present additional flavors and notes that are best suited to various entrees. Read on for a select list of ten of the best pinot noir and dinner entree combinations we can’t recommend highly enough!

Making the Most of Pinot Noir and Dinner

To begin to understand which pinot noir should be paired with different types of foods, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best pinot noir and dinner entree combinations. Pulling wisdom from internationally acclaimed sommeliers to well-established master chefs and regional experts, our list offers coveted insight into finding the perfect pinot noir and dinner entree combo for your next meal.

1. Pan-Seared Copper River King Salmon

When charged with concocting the perfect pan-seared salmon, dynamic duo Don Crank (Oregon winemaker) and Josh Gibler (long-running Salty’s chef) paired a beautiful Willamette Valley Vineyards South Block Pinot Noir from 2008 with a river king salmon dish composed of crispy morels, yukon potato gratin, and a pinot noir reduction. (photo couresty Steele House Kitchen)

pan seared

2. Grilled Squid and Torpedo Onions With Sorrel

Matthew Lightner, the head chef of Portland’s acclaimed Castagna restaurant, delivered a fun sea and earth combination that featured squid as the entree’s focus. Tossing grilled torpedo onions with grilled squid bodies, Lightner creates a well-balanced meal that goes perfectly with Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Lightner recommends something from the Marlborough region, specifically 2010 Felton Road Calvert Vineyard Pinot Noir, as the slight smokiness pairs perfectly with grilled seafood.

3. Provençal Vegetable Tart

Chef Julianne Jones delivers an aesthetically pleasing, no-fuss Provençal vegetable tart that pairs well with pinot noir. This savory rectangular tart mirrors ratatouille, as the ingredients include eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini. Arrange the vegetables in the haven of flakey crust, save a bit of cheese, and add a glass of 2009 Seresin Leah Pinot Noir; your guests won’t stop raving.

4. Duck Confit

A classic pinot noir pairing, duck confit is well-established as a perfect entree to serve alongside a glass of pinot noir. James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz advocates for this legendary pairing, as he serves a duck confit that includes, whipped cauliflower, pear-raisin chutney, sautéed greens, and curry oil alongside a glass of fruity pinot noir.

5. Rabbit Porchetta

A meal that demonstrates a refined palate and elaborate taste, Rabbit Porchetta is another fine dining experience made complete with a glass of pinot noir. A few years ago, celebrity chefs José Andrés and Daniel Boulud joined forces with Emeril Lagasse and Charlie Trotter for wine and food pairing shenanigans.

Rabbit Porchetta

As Bould crafted a Rabbit Porchetta with Chorizo, Arugula Porcini, and Hazelnut, Lagasse complemented this delicate dish with the Joseph Drouhin Morey-St.-Denis 2009 Pinot Noir. This pairing is a meal to remember.

6. Duck Ballotine

In another celebrity chef tasting festival event, Emeril Lagasse competed against Wolfgang Puck by preparing a Duck Ballotine with Black Truffle Salad, Turnip, and Red Wine Mustard. His meal was rendered complete with a glass of Roco Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2010, an 89 point bottle of pinot noir set to make this dish memorable.

7. Pepper-Seared Tuna and Cassoulet

Venturing into southern cuisine, pinot noir pairs masterfully with world-class southern eats. Acclaimed New Orleans chefs and sommeliers Chris Ycaza and Joe Billesbach agree that a pepper-seared tuna dish, served alongside a cassoulet of black-eyed peas, is a standout southern speciality – only improved by the perfect pinot noir pairing.

8. Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit Sirloin

Would any top pinot noir and pairing list be complete without input from one of the nation’s landmark wine stops, French Laundry? We didn’t think so. Thomas Keller of French Laundry offers a perfectly curated dinner entree and pairing menu, so we’ve included his rabbit and pinot noir combination on our list.

Pair this: Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit (applewood-smoked bacon, ruby beets, garden nasturtium, and brokaw avacado pudding) with a bottle of 2008 Patz & Hall Freestone Hill Pinot Noir.

9. Wild Mushroom and Burrata Bruschetta

Wild Mushroom and Burrata Bruschetta

Scaling back to an appetizer-scale bruschetta, Ethan Stowell of Seattle’s restaurant scene offers a wonderfully creamy burrata and mushroom combination in the form of bruschetta that pairs perfectly with acidic pinot noirs. His choice? Go with the 2009 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir. (image courtesy Food and Wine)

10. Roasted Goose With Crispy Skin

And finally, we conclude our list of the best pinot noir and dinner entree combinations with this delectable goose recipe from master chef Jacque Pépin. Rich and hearty, this honeyed goose dish pairs wonderfully with the 2009 Handley RSM Vineyard Pinot Noir, or any other spicy spicy cuvée you can get your hands on.

Ready to Find the Perfect Pinot Noir for Dinner, PDX?

Seriously. We can help you find exactly what you need at exactly the right price, when it comes to pinot noir. Give us a call or stop by the shop if you’re in PDX, and ask for Sandy. Tell him what you’re making for dinner and he’ll help you pair it with the perfect wine!

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