Pinot Noir and crackers on

Fall for Pinot Noir

As the weather begins to turn cooler and I, reluctantly, say goodbye to the pool floats and salads and refreshing quaffs of summer, I also start to crave cool weather wine. I start to crave Pinot Noir.

It just goes with fall. Because in the fall, although I’m no longer wanting the lighter fare of summer, I’m also not quite into the heavier, meatier braises and stews of winter. For those foods, I’ll want a heavier red, like Syrah, Zin, or Cab.

But for fall, I’m thinking about foods that are a little lusty, but still relatively light. Like salmon with rosemary pesto. Mixed mushroom pasta. Lamburgers.  And for them, I want something neither light and summery nor deep, dark, and wintery. I want something in between. Pinot Noir fits the bill perfectly.

(I can’t ever talk about Pinot Noir without telling my favorite Pinot Noir joke, told to me a long time ago by Master of Wine Peter Marks: “What’s a pirate’s favorite wine?” “Pinot No-arrrrrr.”)

Because Pinot Noir can be very earthy, it never hurts to add an earthy element to the food you’ll be pairing with it. Mushrooms, cured olives, woody herbs like rosemary or thyme, and sort of dusty spices like paprika, fennel, and cumin – all of these will help. Pictured in this post, Crushed Fennel Crackers from “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love” – great with Pinot.

(You have to say the second syllable of “noir” like a pirate. Maybe it doesn’t work in print.)

Pinot can also have lots of red berry flavors – raspberries, straw­berries, and cranberries. Adding any of those, especially raspberries and cranberries since they’re not sweet, can improve Pinot pairings.

(Trust me, it’s a pretty funny joke, especially coming from a Master of Wine, the type of guy you’d think would be pretty high-falutin’, and yet he tells you corny jokes about pirates’ favorite wines.)

And Pinot Noir is even a great wine for Thanksgiving dinner, provided you don’t have too many sweet dishes, like candied yams, at the table.

All in all, it’s a great time to enjoy Pinot. No-arrrrrr.

Crushed Fennel Crackers

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