With a strong scent that draws in wine drinkers, Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied wine with high acidity and a rich flavor. Unlike some wine types, which tend to get worse with age, the flavor of Pinot Noir often gets better with age.

Although Pinot Noir is usually thought of as one type of wine, the grape that it stems from has given birth to several different varieties and look-alikes. Today, Pinot Noir remains one of the most common grape plants in the world and a popular choice for wine drinkers across the globe.

Urban Myths About Pinot Noir

When it comes to Pinot Noir, there are plenty of misconceptions that follow this popular type of wine. One urban myth surrounding red wine like Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon is that they must be drunk warm while white wine, sparkling wine, or even pink wine like rosé wine must be chilled. While this can depend on preference, Pinot Noir can taste just as good chilled as it does warm or at room temperature.

In recent years, an urban myth circulating throughout the wine world in the US has been that California is too hot for winemakers to properly grow and produce Pinot Noir anymore. While plenty of great Pinot Noir varieties do come from areas in Europe like Burgundy, any winemaker in California will likely refute this myth.

When it comes to the taste of Pinot Noir, some wine enthusiasts may refuse to drink Pinot Noir since it’s “always dry.” While many different kinds of Pinot Noir can be dry, the taste of this wine can vary from bottle to bottle. Depending on the region where it originated from and the oxidation process, Pinot Noir can also have a sweeter flavor as well.

How To Serve Pinot Noir and Foods to Pair It With

Although some red wines may have a limited range of foods that they go well with, that isn’t the case for Pinot Noir. However, the kind of Pinot Noir that you purchase can make a difference when it comes to food pairings.

For instance, fruitier versions of Pinot Noir from France or New Zealand may go best with fish or chicken. In particular, a sizzling plate of grilled salmon pairs well with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Dark, full-bodied Pinots can combine well with heavier meats or dishes like grilled steak, beef stew, or even venison. If you go to Europe, you find that gamier meats like pheasant or partridge typically come with a vintage Pinot Noir.

When it comes time to serve the Pinot Noir, wine connoisseurs may take this opportunity to smell the wine or swirl it. New wine drinkers might have questions about how to smell wine, why do you smell wine, how to swirl wine, and why do you swirl wine. Typically, a good place to start is by placing your thumb at the bottom of the wine glass and gently moving it in small circles.

Cork vs. Twist Cap: Is There a Difference?

Since the introduction of the twist cap in the 20th century, there has been a debate in the wine world about which is better: a bottle sealed with a cork or a bottle sealed with a twist cap. It’s not uncommon for some wine enthusiasts to refuse to drink out of bottles with twist caps for fear that they’re “lower-quality.”

While there are some differences between a bottle with a cork or twist cap, quality is not one of them. For one thing, a cork seals a bottle of wine, but a little oxygen will still get in over time and react with the wine. A twist cap, on the other hand, completely prevents any oxygen from getting inside the bottle regardless of how much time passes.

For this reason, winemakers may choose to use twist caps on bottles that aren’t supposed to be aged for long periods. On vintage bottles that wine enthusiasts may purchase to save for a couple of years, cork is typically used. Keep in mind that not all types of wine may react perfectly with oxygen, so winemakers may also choose to use a twist cap if they don’t believe the oxygen will make the bottle taste better.

Pricing and the Best Bottles of Pinot Noir to Keep on Hand

There’s no reason you should have to wait until a wine tasting to drink Pinot Noir. When it comes to pricing a bottle of Pinot Noir, the cost can vary. That being said, many bottles of Pinot Noir are sold for under $30, the only exception being vintages.

Depending on what country or vineyard you travel to, a vintage bottle of Pinot Noir can cost thousands of dollars. Some of the most common Pinot Noir brands to line the shelves of grocery and liquor stores include La Crema, Angeline Vineyards, and Duckhorn Vineyards.

Whether you’re looking for a bottle of Pinot Noir to keep around the house or you’re in need of the perfect gift for your wine-drinking family and friends, there are a few specific bottles of Pinot Noir that present the best value and quality.

The 2017 Francis Ford Coppola Oregon Pinot Noir has been grown in a mild climate and features satin texture and smooth taste that pairs well with lighter dishes like chicken or pork.

A more exotic option, the 2017 Mohua Pinot Noir, hails from New Zealand and includes a bright, fruity taste and savory aroma that’s likely to impress even the pickiest wine enthusiasts. However, if neither of these bottles can meet expectations, there’s also the 2016 Smoke Tree Pinot Noir with a rustic palate and hints of black cherry and plum.

While Pinot Noir requires specific conditions to grow and flourish in, it’s not difficult to see why it’s a favorite among wine drinkers across the globe. Not only does it pair well with a variety of different foods, but it can range from light and slightly-sweet to full-bodied and dark.

How to Serve and Save Pinot Noir Wine

What temperature do you serve pinot noir wine?

Unlike most red wines, lighter bodied reds like pinot noir should not be served at room temperature. Pinot noir should be served at a little cooler than room temperature, 55 degrees.

What type of glass is used to serve pinot noir wine?

Use a burgundy glass to serve pinot noir. Compared to the bordeaux glass, the burgundy glass design is shorter and has a wider bowl which is the perfect shape and height for lighter, full-bodied wines like pinot noir. The wider bowl allows for the wine to come in contact with the tip of the tongue so the drinker can experience more of the delicate flavors. Some manufacturers make a pinot noir wine glass, like Riedel Veritas New World.

Do you let pinot noir wine breathe before you serve?

The more tannins a red wine contains, the more time it needs to aerate. Lighter bodied pinot noir has low or insignificant tannin levels and requires little to no time to aerate before you serve. Pinot noir does not require a decanter or carafe before you serve.

How to store and save used pinot noir wine after you open it?

While serving pinot noir, recork after each pour. Pinot noir is one of the most oxygen sensitive wines. If the wine is organic or sulfate free it is also more prone to oxidation. Do not store opened bottles of pinot noir lying on its side, because it exposes too much of the wine surface to oxygen. Pinot noir wine should not be stored higher than 70 degrees so opened bottles are recommended to refrigeration. If you are storing it in a cool area outside of the refrigerator, make sure it is not by the window. Opened and properly corked pinot noir can be stored up to 7-14 days.