Pairing Basics

Taste may be everything, but food and wine pairing need not be rocket science. Use these simple guidelines to pair confidently!

Choose Similar Flavors
Similar food and wine flavors complement each other.
Example: Sole with lemon sauce and Sauvignon Blanc both have citrus flavors.

Choose Similar Weight and Texture
Similarly weighted food and wine complement each other. Food and wine can be light, medium or heavy-bodied.
Example: Lobster and Chardonnay are both medium-weight and rich so they complement each other.

Choose the Same Sweetness Level
Wine should be equal to or higher in sugar than the dish.
Example: Roasted pork with apple glaze pairs beautifully with Riesling.

Salt Needs Crispness
Crisp wines balance salty flavors.
Example: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc balances salty olives and feta cheese.

Pair with the Sauce
Pair the wine to the sauce served.
Example: Light citrus sauces pair with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Example: Heavy cream and mushroom sauces are ideal with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Example: Red and meat sauces match Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah.

No Sauce? Pair with the Meat
Match wine to meat, fish or poultry when serving without a sauce.
Example: Pinot Noir tastes great with duck.

Spicy Foods
Sweeter wines offer relief from spicy foods.
Example: Riesling pairs well with Asian cuisines.

Tannins Need Fat to Balance Out
Tannic wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon cut through the coating that fat leaves in the mouth.
Example: Cabernet pairs great with steak.

Look: Pair by Color
Nature has color-coded fruit and vegetables with the wine best suited to their flavors. Light wines - light foods; deeply colored wines - rich foods.
Example: Sauvignon Blanc is pale yellow and pairs well with citrus.

Consider Acid Levels
Like sweetness, wine should be equal to, or higher, in acid than the dish.
Example: Pinot Noir matches well with tomato tapenade.