How To Serve Pinot Noir: 3 Top Tips
No dinner party is complete without a rich and powerful bottle of red wine (or two, or three) adorning the table. Red brilliantly complements the complex flavors of seared meats, the sweet notes of luxurious desserts, and the entertaining details of your friends’ anecdotes.
Not many people can tell red wines apart. The differences between Pinot Noir and Merlot, for example, are the grapes used, which result in different flavors. To be specific, the Pinot Noir grapes are called Vitis Vinifera, which results in a red wine that has a light to medium body flavor and aroma. Pinot Noir red is a chief choice for any wine lover of the luscious rosy libation. Pinot pleases palates with its balanced bitterness and tongue-tinglingly terrific touch of silky tannins. The three most popular types of Pinot Noir are French Pinot Noir and California Pinot Noir.
And, if you know how to serve Pinot Noir, you can bring even more of its complex body and intricate flavors to life. As tempting as it may be to pour yourself a glass to accompany your read, we suggest you wait until you finish so you know how to optimally enjoy it.
#1 – Chill It Out
Perhaps the most common question about this divine wine is: “is Pinot Noir served chilled?”
Indeed it is, but not overwhelmingly so. Pinot Noir, like other red wines, is best enjoyed around 60 to 65°F.1 With the fridge optimally blasting at a crisp 37°F, storing Pinot alongside your produce will take it well below its suggested temperature.2
So how can one bring their Pinot Noir to the perfect point? There are a couple of ways to obtain its optimal temperature:
- Store it in a wine-chilling fridge or cellar – Wine fridges are generally kept around a cool, but not frigid 55°F. With the bottles absorbing some of the cold, the wine inside will be ready to serve straight off the shelf.
- Put it in the fridge before dinner – If you don’t have separate fridges for your fresh and fermented grapes, you can always give it a little time alongside the meal's other ingredients. Half an hour in the cold should have it ready to serve come dinnertime.1
- Take it for a spin in a wine chiller – If fun and fancy gadgets are your thing, popping your Pinot into one of these clever contraptions can have it cooled in a few minutes and ready to pour for your party.
#2 – Aerate to Elevate
Aeration is the process of exposing a liquid to air before drinking it. Aerating wine removes many of the less desirable elements, which tend to be volatile and susceptible to evaporation.3
Aerating reds can remove:
- The more astringent tannins
- Bitter tastes
- Color-clouding compounds
Even simply dripping directly from the bottle to the glass aerates wine a bit. But, if you want to take it to the next level, there are a few ways to go about capturing more air in your pour:
- Attachable aerator – Perhaps the most classic and recognizable method of aeration is popping an attachable piece on the bottle’s top and letting it pour. You’ll be able to hear the oxygen infusing into your Pinot if you go this route, and it makes for a showy presentation for your awaiting guests.
- Carafe or decanter – Pouring your Pinot Noir into a jug is a marvelous method of imbuing its body with oxygen. A classy carafe also adds a dash of elegance to your dining setup. Don’t fill it up too early, however—you’ll still want the wine to be at its optimal temperature when it hits the table.
- In situ – The practice of pouring wine into a glass and allowing it to sit before you sip is called aerating in situ. This route is a popular choice for Pinot Noir, as its lower tannin levels mean, it still tastes terrific with minimal aeration.5
How long should wine breathe? That depends on how many tannins the wine has. Since most red wine contains tannins, the breathing period is usually between 15 to 30 minutes. What does wine taste like after its aerated? It’s usually more full-bodied and robust.
#3 – Don’t Guess with the Glasses
There’s a correct type of vessel for serving each kind of wine. Sure, a mindblowing Pinot Noir such as Sanford Sta Rita Hills will still taste immaculate out of a coffee mug, but to get everything it has to offer, you’re going to want a gorgeous glass.
Not only will a classy cup fully immerse your guests in the elegance of a premier Pinot, but a glass’s profile actually shapes how you experience the wine.
The shape of a wine glass affects:
- Aroma – The inward-sloping tips of wine glasses capture ethanol-based compounds and reduce the scent of alcohol. That means detecting more of the desirable aromas—such as those imparted by the grapes and barrel—when we take a whiff from the top of a glass
- Sipping speed – Perhaps more than any other alcohol, wine is best enjoyed in small, measured sips and minute mouthfuls. The shape of a wine glass tempers the flow of the liquid inside so you can take a reasonable swig without accidentally filling your mouth to the brim with powerful flavor.
- Overall experience – Whether it’s totally logical or totally psychological, people prefer wines served to them in a fancy vessel. Refined glassware gives impeccable wine that crowning touch that plastic solo cups just can’t.6
Pinot Noir is often served in a short, wide glass with a stout stem to match. Plenty of different styles will work, just avoid long, narrow vessels associated with champagne and other sweet whites.
Pinot Noir Food Pairing
For French Pinot Noir:
- Roast turkey
- Smoked barbecue pork ribs
- Pepperoni Pizza
- Red fruit
For California Pinot Noir:
- Goat cheese
- Cured pork
- Filet Mignon
- Fatty Fish
But aside as perfect for wine pairing, its bright acidity also makes a great ingredient for stews and sauces.
Procure Premium Pinot Noir Online From Barbank
Any discussions about how to drink Pinot Noir starts with getting the right bottle that’s teeming with bold, delicious flavor.
Selecting Pinot Noir wine at a liquor store can be difficult business. With Barbank, you never need to worry about which bottle will be amazing, because all of our bottles are exceptional.
We ship premium, delicious Pinot Noir and a cornucopia of other liquors straight to your door. If you’re looking to buy red wine or any other alcohol from the comfort of your computer, shop at Barbank and experience the superlative convenience of online liquor delivery.
Okay, you can pour yourself that glass of Pinot Noir now.
- National Library of Medicine. Left out in the cold: Serving wines chilled. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- Consumer Reports. Best Refrigerator Temperature to Keep Food Fresh. https://www.consumerreports.org/
- Melbourne Wine and Food Festival. Hyperdecanting: what is it, and does it work?. https://www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au/
- Wine Australia. Aeration of red ferments gets the thumbs up on wine quality. https://www.wineaustralia.com/
- The Spruce Eats. Letting Wine Breathe. https://www.thespruceeats.com/
- Forbes. Why The Shape Of A Glass Shapes The Taste Of Your Wine. https://www.forbes.com/