Wine varietals and styles

Pineau d'Aunis

By Halliday Wine Companion

13 Sep, 2023

Pineau d'Aunis is a French wine grape variety that grows primarily in the Loire Valley. Get to know pineau d'Aunis.

Go to section: Pineau d'Aunis tasting characteristics | Origins of pineau d'Aunis | How to pair food with pineau d'Aunis | Serving temperature for pineau d'Aunis | The best pineau d'Aunis regions

Pineau d'Aunis [peh-noh doh-nee] – also known as chenin noir – is a red grape variety that grows primarily in the Loire Valley in France. Pineau d'Aunis almost disappeared in the '70s, but it is having a renaissance. DNA testing has confirmed that pineau d'Aunis is not related to chenin blanc or pinot noir (which it is regularly confused with).

The thin-skinned, red, niche grape can be found mostly in the Anjou wine region and Touraine – an appellation with an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) classification – in the Loire Valley of France.

Amboise on Loire Valley in FrancePineau d'Aunis was once the Loire’s most popular grape.

Pineau d'Aunis tasting characteristics

Pineau d'Aunis produces a medium-bodied, juicy style of wine. It can be produced as a still red wine, still rosé or sparkling rosé, and is used by natural wine producers like Clos du Tue-Boeuf.

Pineau d'Aunis is a spicy wine that has intense aromas and flavours. Pineau d'Aunis often has characteristics of pepper, wild berries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberry fruit flavours, along with earth and even saffron.

You'll like pineau d'Aunis if you like lighter, fresher wines like gamay or pinot noir (though it is spicier than pinot).

Try these examples of pineau d'Aunis from the Loire Valley:
Coteaux-du-Vendômois Domaine Colin Vieilles Vignes 2021 Rouge
Coteaux-du-Loir Vins Gigou Pineau d'Aunis 2021 Rouge
Coteaux-du-Loir Domaine de la Raderie Pineau d'Aunis Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2020 Rouge

Origins of pineau d'Aunis

While pineau d'Aunis is quite rare in the Loire Valley, it has roots in the Loire dating back to the Middle Ages, and was known to be a favourite wine of King Henry III of England.

Pineau d'Aunis was originally planted and grown for its high yields, however it was difficult to cultivate – it can be susceptible to disease – and was gradually replaced by cabernet franc.

Duck with a glass of red winePineau d'Aunis, like pinot noir, pairs perfectly with duck. Image credit: Ewen Bell and Wine Australia.

How to pair food with pineau d'Aunis

Pineau d'Aunis can stand up to spice, so try it with Thai cuisine. It also pairs well with red meat, and like pinot noir is excellent with duck. If you're looking for a charcuterie pairing, match pineau d'Aunis to cured meats, such as prosciutto, salami, and chorizo. When it comes to cheese pair a soft cheese like brie or camembert, or semi-hard cheeses such as gruyère or comté – the creaminess will balance the acidity of the wine.

Serving temperature for pineau d'Aunis

The ideal serving temperature for pineau d'Aunis is 14 degrees (but don't be afraid to chill it, either).

The best pineau d'Aunis regions

Principal AOCs: Anjou-Rouge, Rosé-d’Anjou, Rosé-de-Loire, Crémant-de-Loire, Saumur-Brut, Coteaux-du-Vendômois, Loire Valley PGI.