Pinot Noir is renowned for its fruit-forward, earthy style, offering layers of subtle flavor.
This versatility extends to the world of cheeses, making Pinot Noir and cheese pairing a fun experiment to try with friends and family.
Most Pinot Noirs are light to medium-bodied because of the grape’s physical characteristics. However, Pinot Noir wine styles vary and can significantly influence the choice of cheese.
Helpful Tip: Check out everything you need to know in this quick Pinot Noir wine guide.
Here are the different styles of Pinot Noir and their ideal cheese companions:
Pinot Noir Styles
- Light Pinot Noir: Light Pinot Noir is delicate and elegant, featuring bright red fruit flavors and a gentle tannic structure. Wines from regions like Central California and the sub-AVAs of the Willamette Valley often embody this style.
- Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir: Medium-bodied Pinot Noir strikes a balance between lightness and richness, offering a blend of red and dark fruit flavors with a bit more depth and structure, with possible spice or earth undertones. Many Pinots from Burgundy fall in this category.
- Fuller-Bodied Pinot Noir: Fuller-bodied Pinot Noirs are uncommon, but can come from warmer, more generic labels, like California Pinot Noir. Inexpensive Pinots tend to fall in this category (under $5). These wines will have jammier fruits, and maybe even some sweetness to them, making them feel heavier in your mouth.
Pinot Noir and Cheese Pairing Recommendations
- Camembert: Pair with: Light Pinot Noir or Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Brie: Pair with: Light Pinot Noir or Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Munster: Pair with: Full-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Fontina: Pair with: Full-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Goat Cheese (Chèvre): Pair with: Light Pinot Noir or Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Gruyère: Pair with: Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Comté: Pair with: Light Pinot Noir or Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Havarti: Pair with: Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir.
- Colby: Pair with: Light Pinot Noir.
- Roquefort: Pair with: Medium-Bodied Pinot Noir or Full-Bodied Pinot Noir.
My personal favorite Pinot Noir and cheese pairing is goat cheese. I don’t often come across the fuller-bodied Pinot styles, and chèvre brings a creamy tang.
Also, you can find herb-infused goat cheese (or make it yourself), which brings added layers of depth to your wine pairing. Discover: Goat Cheese and Wine Pairing Guide
Helpful Tip: Herbal flavors always work well with Pinot Noirs. So don’t hold back on herb-infused cheeses.
Discover: Red Wine Pairing Guide (for all the other reds in your cellar).
Final Thoughts: Cheese and Pinot Noir Pairing
Each cheese offers a unique interplay of flavors with the distinct styles of Pinot Noir.
From the delicate harmony of Camembert with a light Pinot Noir to the robust embrace of Munster with a full-bodied Pinot Noir, there’s a perfect pairing for every wine enthusiast.
I highly recommend trying 2 or 3 of the cheeses above with your next bottle of Pinot Noir to get a good sense of how the flavors interplay. Yum!
Thirsty for More?
Check out this post on cheese pairing choices with Merlot wine.
Hosting an event? Here are finger foods for wine tasting.
Love Pinot Noir? Here’s a list of lighter red wines of a similar style you may want to explore.