Is Pinot Noir Dry?

There are lots of well-known wines out there, but one of the most famous has to be Pinot Noir. 

However, a lot of people actually have never tried Pinot Noir so don’t know what its tasting profile is.

This has led a lot of people to make assumptions about its flavor – but what does Pinot Noir actually taste like? Is it a dry wine? What other wines does it taste similar to?

Here we are going to be taking a closer look at the famous Pinot Noir wine to see if it is a dry wine, what that means, and what other wines it shares a similar taste to.

This way, you can work out if Pinot Noir is a wine for you without having to waste a whole bottle! 

So, check out the information down below! 

What Does ‘Dry Wine’ Mean?

When people first hear the descriptor of ‘dry wine’, they are often left scratching their heads in confusion.

After all, wine is definitely a beverage – how can it be described as ‘dry’?

Well, the descriptor of ‘dry’ wine actually has nothing to do with how wet the wine is or not. It’s actually referring to the taste of the wine and how sweet it is.

Or rather, now unsweet it is. 

When wines are made, grapes are pressed and undergo a process known as fermentation.

This means that the natural sugars within the grapes (the sugars which make them a sweet fruit to eat) are turned into alcohol by yeast.

This process also creates carbon dioxide in the process, and thus a typical grape juice is turned into a wine by the presence of alcohol – and the lack of natural sugars. 

Some winemakers will stop the fermentation process before all the sugars are converted into alcohol, leaving behind a sweet wine.

Other winemakers, however, will allow the fermentation process to continue until nearly all the sugar has been converted. The results are ‘dry’ wines. 

So, a dry wine is a wine with low levels of residual sugar. Most of the natural sugars found in its grapes have been converted into alcohol to create a wine that is absent of any sweetness.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t still taste any fruity notes in your wine.

Depending on the wine, you can still taste notes of fruit but there is a distinctive lack of sweetness there which is what defines a dry wine. 

Is Pinot Noir A Dry Wine?

Now you know what a dry wine is, it’s time to answer the main question – is Pinot Noir a dry wine? 

Pinot Noir is conventionally viewed as a dry wine because of the lack of residual sugar in its formula.

However, some Pinot Noir wines are sweeter than others due to the region the wine is made in but overall, Pinot Noir is still very much classified as a dry red wine. 

The ‘sweetest’ Pinot Noirs come from warmer regions with higher temperatures that result in a stronger fruity notes and a spicy undertone.

This means that Pinot Noirs made in places like Australia are a little sweeter than usual but still are very dry overall. 

In fact, Pinot Noir is a very fruity wine as it features strong notes of dark cherry which helps create the rich tones of the wine.

However, Pinot Noir remains a dry wine with earthy undertones and notes of oak or tobacco. This makes this dry wine super smoky and rich, and very different from other sweet fruity wines. 

So, Pinot Noir is considered to be a dry wine due to its lack of sweetness. While it still features dark fruity flavors, its lack of sweetness makes it an extremely dry wine that lacks the sugar other summer favorites have.

Despite this, it’s still considered a very bright and vibrant wine due to its acidity, low levels of tannins, and strong notes of alcohol.

The higher alcohol range is expected of such a dry wine as most of its natural sugars would have been fermented into alcohol, so Pinot Noir is a strong dry wine perfect for those who dislike sweet wines. 

What Other Wines Are Like Pinot Noir?

If you are still on the fence about whether or not Pinot Noir is the right wine for you, then let’s take a look at some wines which are similar to Pinot Noir.

This way, you can draw similarities between it to other wines you may have already tasted before and recall whether or not you enjoyed that wine. 


Merlot is the go-to alternative to Pinot Noir due to the two’s similarities.

Both are red wines, both are also classified as dry wines, and both have fruity flavors and a lack of tannins. However, there are some differences between the two. 

The most noticeable difference is the fruity flavors. Pinot Noir is much deeper and darker in taste while Merlot is brighter due to notes of watermelon and strawberry.

However, both feature strong notes of cherry which complements the rich dryness of the wines. 

So, if you like a Merlot, then you will probably also enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir. 


Another red wine that complements Pinot Noir well is Syrah. Syrah is a dry red wine with much richer tones than a Merlot, making it very similar to Pinot Noir.

However, its flavors are closer to fruits such as plums and berries rather than cherries.

This helps give the Syrah a spicier undertone and dense palette of flavors – making it super versatile and better suited for earlier drinking than Pinot Noir. 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Our final wine is the Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a dry red wine just like Pinot Noir but the two differ when it comes to bitterness and astringency.

Cabernet Sauvignon has a far higher level of tannins, which gives it a much more bitter taste, even though it shares notes of cherries just like Pinot Noir.

It also has more sharper flavors such as olives and herbs, making it a less fruity dry red wine. 

Final Thoughts

Pinot Noir is a dry red wine that is beloved all around the world due to its lack of sweetness and rich flavors.

It’s the perfect wine for those who prefer their wine to have less sugar while still retaining a sweet fruity flavor – so why not try it out for yourself?

Rachel Edwards
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