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Pairing Cheese and Pinot Noir

This Popular Wine is Versatile with Cheese


Pinot Noir is a red wine that is typically light to medium-bodied. It can have fruity notes of berries and cherries and earthier notes with hints of of herbs and spices. 

Sheep's milk cheeses often pair especially well with Pinot Noir, but they're not the only ones. All in all, Pinot Noir tends to be a fairly versatile wine with cheese. The exceptions can sometimes be strong, stinky cheeses and fresh goat cheeses, which overwhelm this delicate grape. Try some of the suggestions below to get started, then continue to experiment to find your favorite Pinot Noir and cheese pairings. 

Abbaye de Belloc

Ewe's milk cheeses on market day
Frances Linzee Gordon/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

This French sheeps' milk cheese from the Basque region is a mild, nutty and pleasant but complex-flavored cheese that doesn't overwhelm the subtle qualities of a Pinot Noir. 


Roucoulons. Photo courtesy of Price Grabber

Pinot Noir has enough acidity to cut through the creamy texture of soft cheeses like Roucoulons. This French cows' milk cheese is just slightly earthy and mushroomy, which can match the earthy flavors in some Pinot Noirs. 




Zamarano. Photo by J. Meier

A sheep's milk cheese from Spain with a salty, nutty flavor that is enhanced by a fruit-driven Pinot Noir. If you can't find Zamarano, try Manchego instead. 


Sottocenere. Photo by J. Meier

This Italian cheese infused with the flavor of truffles is a good match for an earthy Pinot Noir from the French region of Burgundy. 


Comte. Photo by J. Meier

Although it's made with cows' millk, Comte has the same sweet, nutty character that makes so many sheeps' milk cheeses pair well with Pinot Noir. Aged versions of Comté that have a stronger, sharper flavor might overwhelm some Pinots, but this French cheese is often just the thing with a glass of Pinot Noir. 

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