The 4 Best Things to Eat with Pinot Noir: A Winemaker's Pairing Picks

The 4 Best Things to Eat with Pinot Noir: A Winemaker's Pairing Picks

Jayme Henderson
Mar 20, 2014
Jay McDonald of EIEIO & Co. Winery
(Image credit: Jayme Henderson)

Over the past couple of days, Jay McDonald of EIEIO & Co. Winery has led us through the vineyards of the Willamette Valley in Oregon and shown us the ropes on crafting Pinot Noir. A consummate entertainer, Jay now shares his culinary expertise on pairing food with the ever-versatile Pinot Noir. (Of course, he’s slightly biased toward Pinot from Oregon!)

Generally speaking, Pinot Noir tends to show a ruby color in the glass, provide mouthwatering acidity, and exhibit graceful, tea-like tannins supported by a silky mouth-feel. On the nose, Pinot Noir shows notes of black cherry, tart cranberry, potpourri, tobacco, black tea, forest floor, or cloves. Pinot Noir is a perfectly suited wine to pair with a wide variety of food because of its bright acidity, complexity, and rich fruit character. It is one of the few varietals that pairs well with either a delicate, poached salmon or a rich, braised duck breast.

Each evening after working in the winery, we enjoyed Jay’s wines with a carefully matched dish made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. One afternoon we even foraged our own chanterelle mushrooms along the Coast Range; another evening, a friend of Jay’s brought freshly caught salmon. Each day we shopped at local markets, selecting produce that showcased the bounty of Oregon’s verdant farmlands.

Jay's tips on pairing food and wine together

  • If you like it, it goes with it. Drink what you like.
  • Drink low acid wines while you cook and high acid wines with your meal.
  • Don't drink white wine too cold.

Thanks, Jay, for your Pinot-pairing advice!

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