Wine and Food Pairings

Everyone who loves wine will love certain wines with certain foods.   A simple cheese tray with cranberries, candied almonds and crackers to a gourmet prime rib dinner; some wines work and others don't.  The perfect wine can put your meal over the top, enhance your dining experience and put you in the running as a sommelier and master chef in the making! 

White-Red, Light-Heavy, Sweet-Sparkling

Light White

Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Chablis, Champagne, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Vouvray

Medium White

Oaked Sauvignon Blanc, White Burgundy, Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Semillon, Cava, Chablis,Sancerre

Light Red

Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Beaujolais, Valpolicella

Medium Red

Barbera, Burgundy, Merlot, Zinfandel, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Chinon, Rioja, Chianti, Sangiovese, Grenache, 

Heavy Red

Bordeaux, Barolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Port, Bastardo, Saperavi, Armone, Malbec, Primitivo, Pinotage

Desert/Sweet Wines

Muscat, Ice Wine, Sauternes, Tokaji, Madeiras, Sherries, Port Madeira, Recioto della Valpolicella, Banyuls

Champagne/Sparkling Wines

Champagne (France), Cava (Spain), Asti (Italy), Sekt (Germany, Austria, Czech, Pezsgo (Hungary)

*note there are many more in all categories that have not been mentioned.

Wine Pairing Rules

Rule #1-Drink wine you like with a food you like

If you don't like liver it won't matter what wine you pair with it you still won't like liver. When eating we usually drink before and after the food we consume; as we are either talking or swallowing.  

Rule #2-Balance-Body, Richness, Weight of both the food and wine

Match mild wines with mild foods- Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris,  Pinot Noir, Burgundy

Bold wines with flavorful food- Cabernet Sauvignon, White Burgundy, Pinot Noir

Spicy wine with spicy food-Chardonnay

Rich fatty food with a rich wine high in acids or tannins-Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz, Zinfandel, dry Gewurtztraminer or Riesling

Rule #3 -Match Flavors with Similar Tastes

Select wine varietals that will enhance the flavors of the food you are serving.  Fish=Chardonnay, Steak=Cabernet Sauvignon, Salad or Tomato based dish=Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris, Turkey=Gewurztraminer, Desert Wine or Port= sweet dessert 

Rule #4-Say Cheese!

You can serve Red and White wine and let your guests decide which suits them best. We can divide cheese into four categories to simplify the possibilities.

Bloomy: Creamy, decadent cheeses, with a soft rind. Hard: Stiff cheeses, which are often sharp and /or salty. They can be aged. Fresh: Soft, spreadable and not usually ages.  Tangy or mild. Blue: Pungent, often salty cheeses, can have a blue color.

Some idea for pairing cheese with wines are:

Soft Cheese such as Brie, Goat's cheese, Blue Cheeses such as Stilton pair well with Chardonnay, Riesling, Sparkling Wine and Sauvignon Blanc

Hard Cheesesuch as Cheddar, Gouda, Jarlsberg, Parmesan Gruyere pair well with Beaujolais, Rioja and Cabernet Sauvignon, Valpolicella

Fresh Cheese: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Feta, Burrata, Ricotta pair well with Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai Friulano, Beaujolais