Provocative pairings; The pleasures of Pinot Noir

Some say Pinot Noir is the sexiest wine on the planet. The aromas wafting up from a swirling glass filled with a stellar Pinot Noir can send you into an intoxicating trance, just the perfect mindset for romance. Much has been written about the allure of Pinot, quotes professing love for this great grape may even make you believe it is a magical elixir. The worlds finest wine writers have even waxed poetic on the charms of this vinous vixen. Below are  a few of my favorites love letters to Pinot. To ensure optimum pleasure try enjoying them with a glass of your favorite Pinot, one of my pairing suggestions and the current object of your desire…

Of all the grapes that are transformed into fine wines, none are as steadfast as Pinot Noir in refusing to be tamed. As a result, winemakers have their own vocabulary for describing the grape: difficult, finicky, elusive, temperamental and my favorite, femme fatale. If any grape would be at home in the pose of the femme fatale – smoke-curling from its lips, long, irresistible legs crossed as another winemaker is sent to his doom – it would be Pinot Noir.- Eric Asimov, New York Times

My go to under $25, Montinore Estate, Oregon
My go to under $25, Montinore Estate, Oregon

Pinot Noir is a minx of a wine. It leads us on a terrible dance, tantalizing with an occasional glimpse of riches in store for those who persevere, yet obstinately refusing to be tamed.- Jancis Robinson

Pinot Noir is a righteous grape, chock full of incredible texture and hedonistic pleasures; it is sex in a glass, so seductive that it is hard to say no to.
– Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon

“Great Pinot Noir inspires one to create new sins . . . and wish to commit them!” Mere numbers are especially incapable of describing the wholly sensual textural qualities of the finest French Burgundies and scintillating California and Oregon Pinots. We use words like succulent and juicy, fleshy and decadent, but even these only scratch the surface of the hedonistic nature of these extraordinary, ambrosially bawdy delights. They must be tasted, touched, felt and savored before one truly understands and appreciates the innate sensuality of artfully grown, craftily made Pinot Noir.-Hinkle’s second law

Suggested pairings to try-

Pinot Noir is also a wonderful wine to pair with many decadent delights! Here are just a few swoon worthy foodie finds to try with your favorite Pinot Noir. Beware, these suggestions can become highly addictive guilty pleasures….

The Camenbert that dreams are made of....
The Camembert that dreams are made of….

Silky, Sexy, Stinky———————

On a recent visit to the Artisanal Bistro I sampled this near perfect example of farmstead Camembert. I must admit, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It paired perfectly with a glass of Mercurey from Domaine Faiveley, I was in heaven!

Ferme de Jouvence Camembert
This farm is located in the village of La Boissière-Ecole, near
Rambouillet in the region Ile-de-France, surrounded by fields, ponds and right next to the Rambouillet forest with the town of the same name only 15 km away. Using the full cream milk from their 150 cows within twelve hours of milking to ensure freshness and full flavour they craft the best Camembert I’ve tasted in recent years. Oozing with flavors of mushroom, wild onion and earthy delight it’s a steal at less than $15 dollars! Available at Murray’s and Artisanal online. Please, resist the urge to pick up just any Camembert at your local grocer, buying cheese from a big box grocery is like purchasing your wine at a gas station.

Earthy and Rustic———————————————————–

I first sampled Brooklyn Cured pate at New Amsterdam Public Market. Scoring a piece to nibble with dinner I served it to a group of friends paired with Montinore Estate, Reserve Pinot Noir, dried cherries and sweet onion confit. It was such a hit that my guests rushed out to buy all of the elements to recreate it for themselves at home.

Brooklyn Cured Pate
Brooklyn Cured Pate

Brooklyn Cured Pate– Made in the rolling hills of picturesque Sunset Park this pâté crafted from pork liver, orange zest, pork and crusty bread is rich and rustic. The peppercorn duck sausage is  also a home run here! Available online.

Smokey, Sweet, Savory———————————————–

At a NY centric dinner I prepared a starter of thinly sliced smoked duck breast on micro greens, dressed with a vinaigrette made from Damson plum jam/candied walnuts and served with Bloomer Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir from the Finger Lakes. Yum! A combination I’ve used more than once for a first course!

Hudson Valley Smoked Duck Breast
Hudson Valley Smoked Duck Breast

Smoked Duck Breast from Hudson Valley Foie Gras- A small farm producing the most mouth watering array of all things duck! Available in many NYC restaurants or online.I hope you enjoy my suggestions. If you have a favorite Pinot Noir or pairing please share!




  1. The first to comment! I’ve just led to your blog through DWC or something, Digital Wine Conference? It’s a new concept to me so I’ve been looking for more info. I LOVE cheese and wine. My life is dedicated to the two. When you have time, visit my blog. I don’t know where I’m going with it, but I’m discovering that my blog concept kind of meets with the digital food and wine theme in the sense that people share food, wine and opinion.
    Thanks for writing nice posts. 🙂


    • Hi Namie,
      Too bad you missed the big digital wine event held last year in Izmir. It was a wonderful weekend and I loved all of the Turkish cheeses! You should check out this years event in Rioja, EWBC 2013.


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