A lot of people ask us, what are the best food matches for Pinot? Well, it's not really as simple as a one word answer, so here are six of the best.
Duck seems to be the most frequently listed Pinot match. It is something to do with the acidity of the Pinot that cuts the fat and accentuates rather than dominates the subtle gamey flavours. The raspberry, strawberry, spicy spectrum also lifts the meat's aromas and textures. Goose, pheasant and quail work too.
The sweet berry fruit flavors that you find in Pinot Noir – strawberry and the brambly blackberry and boysenberry – remind us off the earth and that means mushrooms. Sweet, rustic, aromatic field or Swiss mushrooms thrown into a creamy risotto make for an absorbing Pinot match.
Chicken is a light meat which works with white and red wines. But coq au vin is the classic Burgundian dish – a jointed free range bird, slowly cooked with bacon lardoons, mushrooms, small pickling onions, tomato paste, a splash of Cognac and a half bottle of a deep red Pinot. Open your best bottle.
Sea fish with Riesling or Chardonnay are givens. But Pinot is a wine of the woods and streams. The gamey, slightly muddy taste you get with trout, salmon, callop, redfin or even mullet manages to add rather than subtract from the sweetness and acid of the Pinot.
Don't be too fussy with your Pinot matching – a Friday night wood-fired pizza with subtle flavors such as white anchovies, garlic, fine sliced potato and rosemary will bring the best out in that $30 Pinot you grabbed from the bottle shop on the way home from work.
There is something about venison's rich, gamey flavor and its lean, low fat content that seems to make the acid and tannin of Shiraz or Cabernet over-bearing and unnecessary as a wine match. Pinot's subtle red berry flavors, its gentle tannins and medium-bodied structure, marry well with seared venison medallions or a rich osso bucco.