Most conversations about wine facts begin with Wine Food Pairing! Wine and food pairing is the process of pairing food dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience. Traditionally, wine food pairing has often been either too simplistic or too complicated. Everyone has heard that red wine goes with meat and white wine goes with fish and poultry, but what about everything else in between?
The most basic of wine facts is that food and wine are meant to be enjoyed since they both enhance each other. The purpose of this section is to make the matching of wine and food easy and enjoyable so that even those with basic wine knowledge can become quickly comfortable about which foods to pair with wines.
From an elegant dinner or wine tasting to a casual backyard get together, our wine food pairing guide is intended to provide basic wine information and simple guidelines to use when searching for the best wine to accompany a meal.
Weight, Body and Texture: The most primary consideration to wine food pairing is matching the weight, body and texture of the flavor and intensity of the food to the flavor and intensity of the wine.
Weight, body and texture are present in both wine and in food. The more powerful and flavorful the food, the greater the flavor of the wine accompanying the dish will need to be in order for everything to remain in balance.
For example, the texture, weight and body of an English muffin are more delicate and lighter than a toasted bagel would be. The body and weight of a fish such as Dover sole would be lighter, tender and flakier than the body and weight of a fish such as Swordfish, which would be meatier and more likely to be cut with a knife.
Therefore, the lighter dishes would match well with wines that are light-bodied such as Pinot Blanc, Chablis or Pinot Grigio. The heavier, meatier dishes would work well with more full-bodied wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, White Burgundy or Chardonnay. Heavier wines will overwhelm a lighter dish. Lighter wines served with heartier meals will cause the food to be underappreciated.
Wine pairing is just one aspect of matching the right things together in a meal. Check out Creative Salad Recipes to choose the best salad for today's dinner menu.
|Food Weight||Food Example||White Wines||Red Wines|
|Very Light Foods||Sole
Pasta with Marinara
Game Birds such as
Pheasant or Quail
|Medium to Heavy Foods||Poultry
Veal or Pork Chops
|Heavy Foods||Lamb Chops
Game Meats such as
Leg of Lamb
Note: This chart is intended to be only a guide to wine and food pairing. It is not inclusive of every food and wine available for pairing. Many wines are listed more than once because many wines have the flexibility to be paired with different weights of food.
Sauces and Spices: Food would be boring if there were no sauces and spices. For many dishes, it is the sauce that provides the primary flavors for the food. When preparing a dish with sauce, be mindful of how the sauce will interact with the entrée. Is the sauce intended to be a subtle addition or a powerful, integral part of the overall flavor of the dish? Whatever the primary flavoring of the dish is, it becomes the key component to choosing which wine matches the food.
|Sauce||White Wines||Red Wines|
|Mornay, Herb and Butter,|
|Puttanesca, Tomato Vodka,|
|Pesto Sauce, Mustard Sauce,|
Note: This chart is intended to be only a guide to pairing wine with sauces. It is not inclusive of every sauce and wine available for pairing. Some wines are listed more than once because many wines have the flexibility to be paired with different types of sauces.
Similar to which sauce is used, it helps to also consider how a certain spice or a combination of spices will affect the overall flavor of the dish. Wine can either complement spicy dishes or clash with others. Keep in mind that spices are often present in sauces. The main wine matching should take into account the overall flavor of the dish.
Types of White Wine:
Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Riesling
Match best with: Clove, sage, black pepper, nutmeg, dill, chives, fennel, thyme, white pepper, orange peel
Chenin Blanc, Vouvray, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc Match best with: Chives, black pepper, tarragon, rosemary
Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Sémillon Match best with: Mustard, clove, mint, tarragon, sage, cumin, lemon, thyme, dill, mint, ginger
Types of Red Wine:
Chianti, Nebbiolo, Beaujolais
Match best with: Oregano, basil, ginger, mint, chives, thyme, tarragon, fennel, juniper
Zinfandel, Syrah, Shiraz, Rioja
Match best with: Rosemary, black pepper, chives, tarragon
Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux
Match best with: Bay leaf, parsley, dill, fennel, mint
Of course, wine food pairing would not be complete without basic wine information about: