Pinot Noir and its relatives have long been regarded as the most food-friendly grape varieties, possibly ever since the Visigoths tromped through Burgundy in the fourth century AD, pairing Pinot Noir with whole roasted goats, boar's heads and such. But is the reputation justified? F&W Test Kitchen supervisor Marcia Kiesel decided to test some members of the Pinot familyPinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier, used in Champagnein a food-pairing experiment, creating dishes that she hoped would match beautifully with the various wines. These eight recipes did so effortlessly, thanks to Marcia Kiesel's talent and the vaunted versatility of the grapes.
This light-skinned descendent of Pinot Gris (itself an offshoot of Pinot Noir) reaches its apogee in Alsace and northern Italy; a modest amount is produced in the United States, too. Typically a creamy, fairly full-bodied white, it has flavors that suggest pears and sometimes melon, often with a slight musky note. It's a great accompaniment to vegetable- and cheese-based dishes, as well as a simple herb-stuffed roast chicken.