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7 Pinot Noir Substitutes: Uncork New Flavors

So, you’re a Pinot Noir fan, but don’t have a bottle on hand? We’ve got you. Sometimes, discovering a great substitute can be just as exciting as finding the real deal itself.

Pinot Noir lovers unite; let’s uncover some stellar alternatives together! We’ve tried a few ourselves and lived to tell the tale. In fact, some of these swaps have even surprised us with their unique profiles and versatility.

Ready to cheat on our beloved Pinot Noir without regret? Buckle up. We’re about to spill the wine.

7 Easy Substitutes for Pinot Noir

For the red wine enthusiasts who have a soft spot for Pinot Noir, here are 7 other bottles to try in a pinch. You might even find your new favorite!

SubstituteTasteTextureRatioSuitable Dishes
MerlotSmooth, medium-bodied, with notes of black cherry, plum, and chocolateSlightly fuller and richer than Pinot Noir1:1Stews, braises, marinades, sauces
Cabernet SauvignonBold, full-bodied, with flavors of blackberry, cassis, and oakMore tannic and structured than Pinot Noir1:1Grilled meats, roasted vegetables, hearty stews
Syrah/ShirazRobust, with flavors of blackberry, pepper, and smokeSlightly more full-bodied and intense than Pinot Noir1:1Braised dishes, grilled meats, rich sauces
TempranilloEarthy, with notes of red fruit, leather, and tobaccoMedium-bodied, with moderate tannins1:1Tapas, paella, grilled or roasted meats
GamayLight-bodied, with bright acidity and flavors of red berries, cherry, and spiceLighter and more delicate than Pinot Noir1:1Charcuterie, grilled salmon, light pasta dishes
Red BlendVaries depending on the blend, but often offers a balance of fruit, spice, and structureComplexity can vary depending on the blend1:1Versatile, can work in many dishes
Pinot GrigioCrisp, light-bodied, with flavors of citrus, green apple, and mineralSignificantly lighter and more acidic than Pinot Noir1:1Fish, seafood, salads, light pasta dishes

1 – Merlot

Merlot is like Pinot Noir’s chill, easy-going cousin. It’s smoother and less tannic, with a taste that’s full of black cherry, plum, and a hint of chocolate. Merlot gives us that cozy, fruity vibe that makes us want to sit by the fire and relax.

We found that Merlot works great in most recipes calling for Pinot Noir. Want to whip up a beef stew? Use Merlot in place of Pinot Noir with a 1:1 ratio. Trust us; you won’t miss a thing.

2 – Cabernet Sauvignon

Next up, let’s chat about Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a bolder, more intense cousin of Pinot Noir. It has deep flavors of black currant, green pepper, cedar, and a hint of spice. If you love a wine with a bit more oomph, Cabernet Sauvignon has your back.

Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for rich dishes. Swap it in a 1:1 ratio for beef bourguignon. We tried it, and it was incredible.

For more details, check out our Cabernet Sauvignon substitutes. Introducing yourselves to new flavors has never been this easy!

3 – Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah, also called Shiraz, offers a punch of bold flavors. Imagine a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and a touch of black pepper. It’s rich, spicy, and perfect for those wanting something more intense.

We tried it in a rich lamb stew. The result? Phenomenal. Syrah/Shiraz brings an extra depth of flavor that Pinot Noir misses. Use Syrah/Shiraz in a 1:1 swap for those hearty recipes.

If you love wine with a bit of a kick, Syrah/Shiraz has you covered. It’s a go-to for a reason.

4 – Tempranillo

Tempranillo is Pinot Noir’s cool Spanish cousin. It’s got juicy red plum, strawberry, and a hint of tomato. We love its smooth, slightly earthy finish.

Try swapping Tempranillo for Pinot Noir with a 1:1 ratio in your next paella or tapas night. It brings a rich, bold flavor that stands up well to spicy dishes.

We once used it in a chorizo stew, and it was a game changer. Its flavors melded perfectly, making it a favorite.

5 – Gamay

Gamay is Pinot Noir’s fun and fruity cousin. It boasts flavors of red berries, cherries, and a slight earthiness. We love how light and zippy it is.

Try Gamay in a 1:1 swap for dishes like coq au vin. It adds a fresh, lively twist. Perfect for those who enjoy a lighter red wine.

We once used Gamay in a summer salad with goat cheese. The result was fantastic! It lifted the flavors beautifully and paired wonderfully.

6 – Red Blend

Red Blend is like a flavor party in a bottle. You get a mix of red fruits, a hint of spice, and sometimes a touch of chocolate or vanilla. It’s a fun, versatile option for Pinot Noir lovers.

We swapped Red Blend in a beef ragu recipe. The dish turned out rich and delightful. The flavors meshed well with the tomato sauce.

Use Red Blend in a 1:1 ratio for Pinot Noir. It works in both savory dishes and sauces. We’ve found it to be a reliable choice that keeps things interesting.

7 – Pinot Grigio

Last on our list: Pinot Grigio. It’s light, crisp, and slightly tangy. Perfect for recipes needing a bright touch. Think citrus, green apple, and pear.

Pinot Grigio can replace Pinot Noir in a 1:1 swap. We tried it with fish dishes and found it refreshing. This wine brings a clean finish, unlike the heavier reds.

We once used it in a seafood pasta; it was a hit. For more great tips, check out our Pinot Grigio substitutes. This wine is versatile and light!