Wine and Food Pairings

food wine pairing

The whole purpose for finding good wine and food pairings is simple. Since wine can change the way your food tastes and vice versa, you want to pick a combination that will make the whole dining experience a pleasurable one.

At best, you will find a combination that makes both the wine and the food taste better together than they ever would by themselves (a phenomenon you have to experience for yourself to believe).

At worst, you will find a combination that makes an otherwise great wine or entrée completely unpalatable. You may like garlic toast, and you may like ice cream, but you eat them both at the same time and I think you get my point.

Before I start mentioning guidelines and pairings I must first express my opinion about rules and wine. Taste is more art than science. Just because something tastes good or bad to you, does not mean that they will taste bad to others.

Take the suggestions for what they are worth, but don’t be afraid to bend the rules to your liking. If it tastes good to you, that’s all that matters. Although, if you’re planning a dinner party, its usually best to play it safe and stick with combinations that have proven to be favorable among a wide group of people.

What Can Happen?

Here are a few of the things that can occur when wine and food are consumed together:

Amplified or Diminished Traits sometimes the acidity, sweetness, or tannin in wine can be amplified or diminished by certain foods.

Overpowering a strong wine will overpower a delicate dish (and vice versa) creating an unpleasant balance.

Transferring Flavors the wine can seem to transfer some of its flavors into the meal and vice versa.

New Flavors sometimes flavors that are not present in either the wine or the food are perceived when consumed together. (Sometimes these are unfavorable metallic or mediciny flavors)

Some Suggested Wine and Food Pairings

Dont Forget the Sauce Sometimes a strong tasting sauce or seasoning is more important than the meat itself.

White Wines
Recommended Foods, Sauces, etc.
ChardonnaySalmon, Grilled Chicken, White Creamy Sauces, VealVery Spicy Foods
GewurztraminerChinese, Swiss Cheese, Pork, Ginger, Foie GrasLight Foods
Pinot GrigioCreamy Sauces, Turkey, Shrimp, VealTomatoes, Spicy Foods
Riesling (Dry)Chicken, Shrimp, Lobster, Smoked TroutSweets
SancerreTrout, Goat Cheese, Shellfish, Sea BassSweets


Red Wines
Recommended Foods, Sauces, etc.
BarberraPizza, Lasagna, Lemon Chicken, Pasta???
Cabernet SauvignonSteak, Lamb, Roasts, Dark Chocolate, DuckTomatoes, Fish
MerlotGrilled Meats, Barbeques, ChickenSweets
Pinot NoirDuck, Salmon, Tuna, Beef Sroganoff, LambVery Spicy Foods
Syrah or ShirazPeppered Red Meats, Sausage, Stews, BarbequesFish

Again, the art of wine and food pairing is a very personal thing. Experimentation is the best way to figure out what works for you.

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