Baco Noir is an earthy and fruity red wine that pairs best with hamburgers, pizza, lasagna, meatloaf, baked beans, chili, lamb kebabs, spare ribs, Tandoori chicken, and ratatouille. While not a popular wine (at least not since the 1950s), Baco Noir is also inexpensive, making it a perfect wine to bring to a casual BBQ. While quite rustic in flavour, Baco Noir is a new world wine that is produced in the Niagara region of Ontario, as well as in Michigan and the Hudson Valley. It was heavily planted in these regions during the 1950s as the grapes were very resistant to the cold weather in the area.
Dark red in colour (although you can create light Baco Noir), and incredibly aromatic, you’d expect Baco Noir to be rich and full-bodied. However, Baco Noir is a medium-bodied, fruity red wine full of blackberry, blueberry and plum flavours. The acidity of Baco Noir is also quite high, allowing it to pair up nicely with tomato-based dishes. Finally, you’ll find lots of rustic flavours such as black pepper, leather, smoke and tobacco, which adds a lovely complexity to the wine.
On first glance and smell, Baco Noir is extremely aromatic and dark, thus you’d expect something rich and complex. Instead, it’s a fruity mid-bodied wine that’s highly acidic and low in tannin. It also has a bit of smoke to it, and some find it a bit sour, but it depends on the style.
As a wine sommelier, I often blind-tested this wine with many wine enthusiasts, who were always convinced it was a Burgundy or a Super Tuscan. After discovering it was a Baco Noir, they often laughed as they were fooled by an under $20 bottle of red wine.
As it is low in tannin, Baco Noir is best suited towards barbecued meats cooked medium-well and up. I would also not suggest pairing Baco Noir up with expensive meat, like steak, that is best enjoyed rare or medium rare. For those cuts of steak, you want a red wine with a lot more tannin. Instead, stick to hamburgers, sausage, ribs, BBQ chicken, where the fruitiness of the wine will complement any BBQ sauce or ketchup slathered on your delicious meat.
Best Food with Baco Noir
Venison Burgers and Baco Noir Pairing
The fruity flavours and medium-body of Baco Noir work well will with a Venison Burger as all the vibrant flavours of blackberry, blueberry and raspberry help mask the gaminess of Venison without overwhelming this leaner meat. Venison has much less fat than a cow, thus a venison burger won’t be as flavourful, meaning medium-bodied red wines like Baco Noir pair best.
The smoky flavours of Venison also complement the smoky and earthy nature of the Baco Noir. As for burger toppings, the acidity in Baco Noir makes it quite food friendly allowing it to pair nicely with any cheese, tomato slices, ketchup or bacon added to your Venison burger.
You’ll also find Baco Noir delicious with regular beef hamburgers, elk burgers and lamb burgers.
Pepperoni Pizza and Baco Noir
The perfect way for me to end the week during the autumn is with a bottle of Baco Noir and a homemade pepperoni pizza on Nann bread. I always cook my pepperoni so they get nice and crispy to the point where they curl up and form a little cup that holds the rendered pepperoni fat. For me, that little slice of heaven beats any other pizza that any national chain can deliver.
The smoky and spicy flavours of Baco Noir complement the spicy pepperoni, while the fruity flavours and acidity of the wine go marvelous with the tangy tomato sauce. The smoky flavours are also heavenly with the Naan bread, as the crust soaks up the delicious flavours of your wine and spreads them evenly across your tongue.
For similar reasons, you’ll find Baco Noir delicious with other Italian themed dishes like a Calzone, Panzerotti, or Pizza Rolls.
Chilli & Baco Noir Pairing
Baco Noir is the perfect red wine to enjoy with a bowl of Chilli on a crisp autumn day. The high acidity of Baco Noir works perfectly with any tomato base used to make your Chilli. Meanwhile, the medium-bodied flavours hold up to the spices, meat, and beans in your pot of Chilli, along with any cheese or sour cream topping it. Finally, the smoky and earthy flavours complement the starchy bean flavours, while the fruitiness flavours of Baco Noir blend nicely with the tangy tomatoes.
Poutine & Baco Noir Pairing
Poutine is a Canadian treat that is French fries topped with hot gravy and fresh cheese curds. You have to travel to Montreal to find the real thing, but there are many family-owned shops which produce amazing variants of Poutine. If you’re under the age of thirty, you eat a large portion of Poutine after you visit the bar, where the potatoes soak up all the alcohol, reducing your hangover the next day.
For us middle-aged folk, who want a nice plate of poutine out on the patio with a glass of wine, however, Baco Noir is a wonderful wine pairing as the high acidity of the wine makes every bite of Poutine taste fresh. Gravy, cheese, and carbs all block up your taste buds, thus, after three or four bites of poutine, everything tastes the same. When you introduce Baco Noir into the mix, each bite tastes as delicious as the first.
The fruity flavours of Baco Noir also keep you refreshed, while the earthiness and smokiness of the wine complements the potatoes and gravy.
Vegetarian Ratatouille & Baco Noir Pairing
Baco Noir is a red wine that has a fair amount of acidity that pairs well with Ratatouille’s rich tomato component. Acidity is important when food and wine are combined, as red wines that lean towards high levels of tannin, will taste flat and metallic.
With its delicious herbal, earthy and smoky flavours, Baco Noir meshes perfectly with the onion, garlic, bell pepper and eggplant found in Ratatouille. Finally, the vibrant fruity flavours of the wine, come across as refreshing against the dense wall of flavour that Ratatouille delivers.
Notable Producers of Baco Noir
Henry of Pelham, Sandbanks, Benmari Winery, Waupoos and Leelanau Cellars are notable producers of Baco Noir.