Your Guide To Wine And Food Pairings

The most important rule to remember when pairing wine and food is to eat and drink what you like. Although many suggestions are out there, you can disregard any of them that don’t work for you. Think of them less as hard-and-fast rules and more as loose guidelines.

As a general guideline, a food and wine will pair well if the same word can be used to describe them both: rich wines for rich foods, spicy wines for spicy foods, sweet wines for sweet foods, etc. Churchill Manor in Napa Valley has a fabulous food and wine reception every night that is a perfect example of food and wine pairings. Here are some of the best tips for specific foods.

Meats and Seafood

  • Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon pair well with steak, lamb chops, and other red meats.
  • Chardonnay pairs well with seafood in a rich sauce or with any fatty type of fish.
  • Pinot Grigio and Chablis pair well with light seafood meals.
  • Zinfandel and other rich wines pair well with pâté, chicken liver mousse, and other liver-based dishes.

Specific Flavors

  • Champagne and other dry, sparkling white wines go well with anything salty.
  • Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with tangy and tart foods such as salads with grapefruit-based dressing.
  • Light-bodied wines like Pinot Noir pair well with mushrooms, truffles, and other “earthy” flavors.
  • Moscato d’Asti, Asti Spumante, and other semi-sweet sparkling whites go well with fruit-based desserts.
  • Syrah, Xinomavro (a Greek wine), and other wines with lots of spicy notes pair well with highly spiced foods.

Classic Dinner Wines

  • Chianti goes well with all the rustic Tuscan dishes.
  • Dry rosé complements cheese-based meals such as lasagna.
  • Sparkling rosés go well with a wide variety of dinner entrees and don’t have to be used for the hors d’oeuvres course only.
  • Spanish Albariño, German Grüner Veltliner, and Italian Vermentino are three wines with herbal notes, and they pair well with dishes with herbed seasonings.

Asian-Inspired Dishes

  • Malbec complements anything with a spicy-sweet sauce, whether a barbecue, Asian-style dishes or otherwise.
  • Off-dry white wines like Gewürztraminer and Reisling pair well with spicy Indian and Asian foods.

But again, you should feel free to come up with your own pairings. These are only a few suggestions you may want to try and see if you find them to your liking.

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