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Wine 101: Pinot Noir & Red Burgundy

Pinot Noir can be among the most amazing wines you’ll ever taste, and it can be flat-out anticlimactic. It inspires more rhapsodies—and disappointments—among wine lovers than any other grape.

When it’s good, it’s ethereally aromatic, with flavors ranging from ripe red berries to sweet black cherries, and tannins that are firm but never obtrusive. (When bad, unfortunately, it’s acidic, raspy and bland.) The greatest Pinot Noirs come from France’s Burgundy region, age-worthy wines that are usually quite expensive. More affordable and typically more fruit-forward Pinots can be found from California and Oregon as well as New Zealand, Chile and Australia.

Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of foods—fruitier versions make a great match with salmon or other fatty fish, roasted chicken or pasta dishes; bigger, more tannic Pinots are ideal with duck and other game birds, casseroles or, of course, stews like beef bourguignon.

Complex, Elegant Pinot Noir

Roasted Blue Foot Chickens with Glazed Parsnips and Carrots

Top Bottles

  • Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin (France)
  • Felton Road (New Zealand)
  • Domaine Drouhin Laurène (Oregon)

Recipe Pairings

Ripe, Juicy Pinot Noir

Chicken Breasts with Rosemary and Thyme

Top Bottles

  • Goldeneye Anderson Valley (California)
  • Rodney Strong Russian River Valley (California)
  • La Crema Sonoma Coast (California)

Recipe Pairings

More Expert Wine Advice

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