Food and Wine Pairings

Food and wine pairings refer to the practice of selecting specific wines to drink with specific dishes in order to enhance the overall dining experience. The idea is that certain wines can bring out the flavors and characteristics of certain foods, while other wines may clash or be overpowered by certain flavors.

There are a few general principles that can be followed when pairing food and wine:

  • Match the weight and intensity of the wine with the weight and intensity of the food. For example, a full-bodied red wine might be a good match for a rich and flavorful dish such as steak, while a light and refreshing white wine might be a better match for a light and delicate dish such as seafood.
  • Consider the flavors and characteristics of both the food and the wine. Wines with fruity flavors, for example, might pair well with dishes that have sweet or tangy flavors, while wines with earthy or spicy flavors might pair well with dishes that have similar characteristics.
  • Think about the overall mood or atmosphere of the meal. A celebratory occasion might call for a more luxurious and expensive wine, while a casual gathering might be better suited for a more affordable and laid-back wine.

Ultimately, the best food and wine pairings are a matter of personal preference, and it can be helpful to experiment and try different combinations to find what works best for you.

Wine comes in many varieties with a match for every meal and taste preference. Spend some time using the food and wine pairing chart below for ideas on how to elevate your meal experience. Want to learn how to choose a dozen bottle wine cellar to assure you will have a wine on hand to complement almost any meal visit Introduction to Wine Selection and Planning Beverages for that Special Occasion.

Angel food cakeAsti Spumante
BarbecueYour favorite beer (or dry Rosé)
Beef brisketCabernet/Merlot blend
Beef, lamb stewMeritage (blended) Red
Blue cheeseJohannisberg Riesling
Burgers and friesChilled Beaujolais-Villages
Calamari, friedPinot Grigio
Calves’ liverPinot Noir (or chilled Beaujolais)
CassouletGigondas (or Syrah)
CatfishDry Riesling (or Pinot Blanc)
CaviarChampagne (or iced Vodka)
Cheddar cheeseMerlot (or Ruby Port)
Chicken, friedDry Riesling (or chilled Beaujolais)
Chicken, roast (& dark meat).Pinot Noir (or Côtes-du-Rhone)
Chicken breastChardonnay (or Sauvignon Blanc)
Chicken curryAlsace Riesling
Chicken saladPinot Gris (or dry Riesling)
ChiliBeer (or Zinfandel)
Chinese, ThaiAlsace (or other dry Riesling)
Clams, rawLager beer (or Muscadet)
Clams, cookedPinot Grigio
Corned beef & cabbageStout (or dry Riesling)
Crab cakesFumé Blanc
Crab/lobsterOak-aged Chardonnay (or White Burgundy)
Chocolate, darkBlack Muscat
Cornish game henPinot Noir
DuckPinot Noir (or Merlot)
Fish – Bluefish, mackerelCôte de Brouilly Beaujolais (or Fumé Blanc)
Fish – Halibut, black cod, swordfishSauvignon Blanc (or Pinot Gris)
Fish – Sole, trout, flounderPinot Blanc (or dry Riesling)
Fish – Salmon, grilledOregon Pinot Noir (or Volnay)
Fish – Salmon, poachedSauvignon
Fish – Salmon, smokedAquavit (or Fumé Blanc)
Fish – Tuna, grilledMerlot
FruitcakeMadeira (or Tawny Port)
Goat cheeseSancerre (or Rhone Red)
Grilled sausagesCru Beaujolais (or Côtes-du-Rhone)
GuacamoleDry Chenin Blanc (or dry Rosé)
Hot dogsAle (or Riesling)
HamChilled Beaujolais (or dry Rosé)
JarlsbergRiesling (or Grenache)
LasagnaChianti (or Sangiovese)
MeatloafMerlot (or Rioja Crianza)
MoussakaBarbera (or Sangiovese)
NachosBeer (or Sangria)
OmeletCabernet Franc (or Pinot Blanc)
Oysters, rawChablis (or Muscadet)
Oysters, cookedMuscadet (or Fumé Blanc)
PaellaRioja Crianza (or Navarra Red)
Pasta, meat sauceChianti (or Barbera)
Seafood, shellfishPinot Grigio (or Fumé Blanc)
PestoPinot Grigio
PatéVouvray (or Gewurztraminer)
PizzaChianti (or beer)
Pork loin, chopsPinot Noir (or Cabernet Franc)
Rocquefort cheeseSauternes, Merlot (or Cabernet Franc)
ScallopsShiraz (or Syrah)
Shish kebabShiraz (or Syrah)
Steak, lamb (grilled or roast)Cabernet Sauvignon (or Red Zinfandel)
Stilton cheesePort
SushiSauvignon Blanc (or sparkling wine)
Tuna saladDry Riesling (or Pinot Gris)
TurkeyChilled Beaujolais Nouveau (or Zinfandel)
VealPinot Noir (or Merlot)
VenisonChateauneuf-du-Pape (or Petite Sirah)

Learn more about wines and curate your own dozen bottle wine cellar with an Introduction to Wine Selection.