Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir (Pee-no nwahr) is a lighter style red wine. Far less tannins than a Cabernet so it’s less aggressive and “easy” to drink. The grapes are grown all around the world but usually in a cooler climate than some of the other varietals. Oregon (Willamette Valley) and California (Russian River Valley) are probably the most popular regions in the US, but they are also grown in Burgundy, Champagne, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Romania, and Tasmania. Notable characteristics in medium climates are red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, cherries), and mushrooms. Cooler climates are a little more like moss, wet leaves, or cabbage (I know that doesn’t sound near as appealing, but they are solidly delicious). Pinot Noir grapes are difficult to grow and turn into wine. Literally everything around them can change the final product and that makes wine making a little harder, plus because of how they grow they tend to rot or mold while still on the vine so they require more maintenance…and because of that Pinot Noir’s tend to be a little more expensive. The “lower” price range for a good Pinot is around $20. It’s pretty much the Beyoncé of wine.

This wine can be a range of colors from cherry red to purple red and even brown as it ages.

Alluring, with a silky body, pinot noir’s flavor characteristics include cherry, plum, strawberry, and hints of nutmeg, chocolate, vanilla, smoke, and violet.


  • Light, herb-crusted meats
  • Grilled salmon
  • Mushroom dishes
  • Salads garnished with cranberries, cherries, and currants
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Bacon
  • One of the few wines to pair well with chocolate, because of its red berries taste
  • Cheese: Gruyere, blue cheese (also a rare food to be paired with most wines), Gouda, Brie

Things to Avoid

  • Spicy Mexican food
  • Heavily smoked meats

Fun Facts

  • Pinot Noir is one of the oldest wine grapes in the world
  • The name is French for pine and black
  • It’s used to make Champagne and sparkling wines
  • It’s nicknamed the “heartbreak” grape because of how often disasters happen at vineyards
  • Pinot Noir Day is August 18th!