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One of the most fun and exciting parts of enjoying wine is matching wines to your favorite foods. A great wine and food pairing is a taste experience that’s absolutely sublime. Selecting the right wine to go with your meal can be complicated, but now we’ve made it easy with this one-of-a-kind wine and food pairing tool. Simply select the food you’re planning to eat and we’ll give you the best wine recommendations to complement your meal.
The textbooks say red wine with meat and white wine with fish and chicken. Cliché as it seems, this rule holds up 9 times out of 10. Another good rule is full flavored wines go with full flavors while delicate wines go with delicate flavors. Here though I think we get a little more specific.
Food and wine pairing guidelines are helpful but they are just guidelines. Do your own experimentation and you’ll soon discover your own matches made in heaven. And most importantly when all else fails drink something you like. It’s much better to enjoy a wine that doesn’t quite match your food than to drink something you don’t like because it does.
Beef tastes different from lamb, which tastes different from pork or venison. Beef is a fairly subtle tasting meat that can be paired with a less assertive tasting wine than, say, lamb with its gamier flavor. Pinot Noir is good match with roast beef for that reason and you might also enjoy a light Rioja, Chianti or other light bodied young red. And perhaps the best choice for a roast prime rib of beef is a mature red wine whose tannins have subsided such a Rioja Reserva or an older vintage Merlot or Cabernet or even a mature Barbaresco or Barolo. Back to Wine Pairings Chart
Meat dishes with more aggressive or spicy flavors need to be matched with assertive-tasting wines. Dishes like Sichuan Beef, Tex-Mex fajitas, Barbecued T-bone steaks or Blue Cheese Burgers need fuller-bodied, spicier tasting wines. Zinfandel is a good match with zesty meat dishes, as are Rhone wines like Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and others. California Cabernet and Bordeaux are classic matches for steak but as the spice level kicks up look to try Australian Shiraz, Brunello di Montalcino or select a Cab with nice, toasty oak, because it can marry well with smoky, spicy flavors.
Back to Wine Pairings Chart
With lamb you’re best to start with Bordeaux or Cabernet. Rack of lamb will work with more delicate wines while leg of lamb or grilled lamb chops can go with something heartier. Certain California and Australian Cabernets have a pronounced minty taste. If you get the chance, try one of these with lamb. Back to Wine Pairings Chart
Sichuan Beef and other Chinese dishes are tricky because the saltiness of black bean sauces and soy sauces can make tannic reds taste more bitter. Stick to high-acid reds for Chinese beef and you usually will do well. Wines like Chinon or Barbera d’Asti, even some lighter style Merlots or Bordeaux can be good matches with these foods. The Umami element, which is the savory flavor that soy sauce brings to Chinese dishes also marries well with Nebbiolo wines like Barolo and Barbaresco if they’re not too tannic. Champagne is a good choice for many Chinese foods because the dishes have sauces with a lot of oil and the high acidity in Champagne cleanses the palate. To match sushi try sake. The delicate, high-toned flavors are a great match for pickled ginger and wasabi but don’t overwhelm the delicateness of the fish. Back to Wine Pairings Chart
FISH & SEAFOOD
And speaking of fish, for seafood conventional wisdom says pair with dry white wines, and that basic advice is good in many cases. However depending on the fish, you may find that a red wine will actually work better in some cases. Tuna for instance is a very meaty fish. If you serve it with a black pepper crust a big spicy red, like Australian Shiraz, Zinfandel or Primitivo will be a perfect foil And Salmon is a richly flavored fish with a high fat content. Because of that, Pinot Noir can often be an ideal match, particularly if it’s grilled and has a red wine sauce. For poached salmon try Sauvignon Blanc or a fruity Pouilly-Fuisse or Viognier. Grilled Swordfish works beautifully with a big, buttery Chardonnay because the richness of the fish and the toasty nuances from the grill marry well with those flavor elements in the wine. Shrimp and lobster work best with white wines, but which wine is best, is going to depend on how they’re prepared. Boiled lobster with drawn butter can be paired with a big Chardonnay, again because of the mutual richness. Shrimp scampi can also stand up to a big wine because of the strong flavor of the garlic. Pinot Grigio is a good match for shrimp cocktail or fried shrimp. Raw oyster are great with high acid white wines like Pouilly Fuisse. Back to Wine Pairings Chart
CHICKEN, POULTRY & VEAL
When it comes to Chicken and poultry and ‘white’ meats the preparation is going to determine the best match. For instance, There’s no better pairing than chicken francese or veal picatta with a dry white like, Pouilly Fuisse or Pinot Grigio, but roast duck simply begs for a savory Pinot Noir and roast chicken is ideal with Pinot Noir as well. Roast Turkey one the other hand, has the full flavor to be matched up with a Bordeaux or Brunello. And coq au vin, which is chicken cooked in red wine, needs to be matched with a hearty red like Bordeaux or Merlot. For fried chicken try a buttery Chardonnay for a mouthfilling match. Roast loin of veal, or a sautéed veal chop can go with either white or red.Try Pinot Noir, Barolo or a bold Chardonnay with veal. Back to Wine Pairings Chart
PIZZA & PASTA
Another important food type that often gets overlooked in wine pairing guides is pasta and pizza. These foods are very popular and the important factor in matching them with wine is the tomato sauce. Red wines with full, fruity (less earthy) flavors and enough acidity to balance the tomatoey zing are ideal. Primitvo from Italy, lighter Zinfandel, Negro Amaro, Chianti and even lighter Pinot Noir are all good choices. Pasta with pesto is better with an herbally white like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or dry Riesling. Back to Wine Pairings Chart
Exotic foods like Thai cuisine have become popular. Thai food often uses coconut and peanuts as ingredients. It’s fun to match these dishes to big Chardonnays that have tropical fruit nuances. Australian Chards and others from the New World are great for these dishes. Sake can also be a good pairing with Thai food that is less assertive. For Indian curry, spicy, piquant reds can be very successful. Try matching Chateauneuf du Pape to Lamb Vindaloo, or Cotes du Ventoux with Chicken Tika. Rhone reds are also good foils for Mexican Mole Poblano. Back to Wine Pairings Chart