How Pinot Wines Can Be Paired with Your Food Menu

How to build and pair your wine selection with a food menu. The featured wines, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, are from Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar, our master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda, explores flavor profiles with co-host, Adrianne Calvo—Author, Celebrity Chef, and Owner of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami, Fla. The experts discuss strategy and explore conversations a beverage director and a chef might have when deciding which wine pairs best with a food menu. The featured wines in this episode are Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Cooper Hawk’s Winery and Restaurant.

Pairing a dish with your wine really depends on the flavor profile of the ingredients in a dish and not always just the protein at the center of the plate. In the spread that Chef Calvo prepared for Castaneda, flavor profiles are broken down and paired with each wine.

For example, the white wine, Pinot Gris, pairs well with a light first course such as a summer salad. In this example, Castaneda tries a fresh crisp pear with the wine.

“Why pair a pear with this wine instead of something else like an apple?” asks Castaneda.

“An apple has higher acidity than the pear which will overpower the flavor. A pear is lightly sweet, has a little bit of a crunch, delicate fruit flavor,” says Chef Calvo.

The acidity of the wine overpowers the pear flavor but still retains it in its backbone.

Another alternative with fruit is a freeze-dried version. In this state, the flavor is concentrated and pairs well with the Pinot Gris. It’s an excellent wine that can go with many different dessert varieties as it can bring down the sweetness.

PinotGris_db31747c63d5089df7d6766f483c1cb1.png

Pinot Gris

Paired with:

  • Pear

  • Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit

  • DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pepperoni Pizza

PinotNoir_db31747c63d5089df7d6766f483c1cb1.png

Pinot Noir

Paired with:

  • Crudité platter (baby carrots, baby onions, and baby radishes with Publix Sour Cream Dip, French Onion)

  • Vigo Mushrooms, Marinated, in Vinegar Marinade

  • Lindt Milk Chocolate Bar


In this two-episode series, Chef Calvo’s approach to the pairing was definitely out of the box and not something we have seen before.

Want to see how day-old pizza paired with the Pinot Noir?

Watch the full episode above to find out!

Chef Adrianne Calvo and Mixologist Oscar Castaneda Dish On Wine Tasting

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar, our master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda, discusses with his co-host, Adrianne CalvoAuthor, Celebrity Chef, and Chef/Owner of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami, FL—how to build and pair your wine selection with a food menu. The featured wines, Super Tuscan and Cabernet Sauvignon, are from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

When building a wine selection based on your food menu, it’s important to match a flavor profile with a dish that will complement each other. You never want to offer a glass of wine that could be overbearing with its flavor.

“In conversations with my beverage director, I would say, ‘I have a 24-hr braised short rib that has a lot of fat and robust flavors, and I want a glass of wine that is strong enough to hold a candle to the short-rib but is not overwhelming,’” says Chef Adrianne.

As she breaks down the flavor highlights of her samplers (which Oscar tastes eagerly), we learn what reaction it has to the wine. Chef Adrianne guides Oscar’s pairing experience with a slow exercise where he takes a bite, inhales, waits 3 seconds and then takes a sip of wine. Oscar and the consumer can heighten the flavor of any dish by breathing in before tasting.

One of Chef Adrianne’s examples is a jalapeño popper paired with the Super Tuscan. The spice of the jalapeño is toned down with cream cheese, and the flavor of the wine cuts through the fat of the bacon. Similarly, Oscar tries out a couple of corn chips with the Cabernet which may seem odd but pairs fantastically.

“Some places start with tortillas or other flour-based appetizers. This is a great way to show someone that they can start with a glass of wine and pair it with this type of appetizer,” says Oscar.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Paired with:

  • Fritos Corn Chips

  • Lay's® Kettle Cooked Salt & Pepper Flavored Potato Chips

Super Tuscan

Paired with:

  • Braised short-rib

  • Jalapeño Popper

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Bar

  • Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt

  • Aged Gouda Cheese

  • Parmesan

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