Pinot Noir is widely considered one of the most food-friendly wines. It is especially complimentary when it comes to smoked meats, whose strong flavors can be tough for a wine to stand up against. When it comes to smoked meats, there are a lot of rich flavors on the table, which can range from a dry char to a bacon-laden flavor, to even sweeter, subtly fruity notes. The key to pairing them is balance. Where many delicate and citrusy flavored white wines fall flat against these characteristics, and where a Cabernet’s muscly tannins can overpower a dish’s enjoyable smoked flavors, the tannins of a Pinot Noir are mellower, and more tea-like, and their dark berry notes highlight the subtle flavors that make smoked meats so enjoyable. A more mature Pinot Noir with slight earthiness is a great pair for smoked duck or pheasant, while a lighter bodied Pinot is great for barbecued chicken.