13 Easy Food and Wine Pairing Ideas Everyone Should Know
Looking for tips and tricks for food and wine pairing? Here's what you need to know! Jump right in and learn simple ways to build a menu around your vino.
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With its rich fruit flavors and robust tannins, cabernet sauvignon is a brilliant pairing with steaks, burgers, lamb and even venison. Not sure what cut to choose? You can’t go wrong with an old-school grilled ribeye. See what mistakes everyone makes when pairing wine with food.
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As a general rule for pairing wine with food, it’s hard to go wrong with a “think local” approach. Tomato sauces seasoned with fresh herbs are gorgeous with a glass of Chianti—both have high acidity, which makes for a complementary food and wine pairing. Steak, veal with mushrooms or portobello burgers (for a vegetarian option) are all wonderful, too.
Because of the wide range of styles it’s made in, riesling is a wildly versatile wine. Since it’s a high acid grape, riesling is especially food-friendly. Dry versions are stunning with everything from sushi to pork and chicken while off-dry riesling does an incredible job at taming the heat of spicy dishes like this fragrant Thai shrimp soup.
Pinot noir comes in earthy, almost savory incarnations as well as fruity, berry-laden examples. Pair your aged pinot noir with earthy dishes like mushroom beef stew or herb-crusted lamb. While it’s true that white wine with fish is a safe bet most of the time, pour yourself a light, fruit-forward pinot noir the next time you tuck into a grilled salmon (or tuna) fillet and prepare to be wowed.
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There’s a common saying in the wine world, “what grows together, goes together,” and down in Argentina where most of the world’s malbec is produced, that means one thing: meat. Malbec’s fruity profile makes it a winner with this tantalizing cherry barbecue sauce slathered over a rack of ribs.
With its easy-drinking, citrusy profile, pinot grigio plays well with lighter dishes like pasta primavera and bright, zesty seafood entrees. Serve your pinot grigio with anything from fried calamari to prawn cocktail, fish tacos or even a light salad.
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Folks love merlot for its plush texture and lush red fruit flavors. Those silky, supple tannins are killer with roasts, whether you have chicken, beef, duck, lamb or pork in the oven. It’s a brilliant wine for Thanksgiving dinner, and can even be enjoyed with classic comfort foods like mac and cheese. Learn more about all the types of wine in our pairing guide.
Check out our wine and cheese pairings that are perfect for every occasion.
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Dry Sparkling Wine
A beautifully dry bottle of sparkling wine (whether it be champagne, cava or cremant) can take you through an entire meal. Serve it with smoked salmon bites then refill your glass and sip on it while you tuck into a roast chicken or chicken pot pie. Or shake things up with a fun pairing like a glass of bubbly and fried chicken or potato chips—the bubbles complement the crunchy texture of fried foods to utter perfection.
With its leap-out-of-the-glass grassy, citrusy, mineral-driven aromas and flavors, sauvignon blanc is fabulous with lighter fare like seafood and vegetables. We love drinking a glass of sauvignon blanc at brunch with goat cheese veggie omelets or a vegetable stir-fry loaded with lemon garlic prawns.
Love rosé? So do we! It goes with just about everything. Your pale pink, light-bodied dry rosés are stellar for washing down grilled fish tacos, while more medium-bodied styles are exceptional with salty, savory foods like olives and anchovies.
Pop open your big fruity rosés at BBQs—just avoid mixing high alcohol versions (i.e. over 14%) with spicy dishes. Alcohol makes spicy food taste really spicy.
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Like some of the other grapes on this list, winemakers produce chardonnay in a couple of different styles, with the main two being oaked and unoaked. Sip on your light-bodied, high acid chardonnays with crab cakes or oysters. Save your bigger, full-bodied oaked chardonnays for richer dishes like butternut squash ravioli, mushrooms or hearty fish in cream sauces.
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While many folks might think of moscato as a dessert wine (and it is fabulous with fruit-based desserts), this sweet, lightly bubbly wine also makes a clever pairing for spicy, salty dishes. Our pick with a bottle of moscato d’Asti? This recipe for five-spice chicken wings!
Sweet, fruity ruby port is so good with chocolate. The dark berry fruits and rich, full-bodied texture make ruby port a brilliant wine to serve with a chocolate-strawberry cake.
If sweet isn’t your thing, pair your port with a cheese board. It’s especially delicious with a sharp cheddar or a wedge of mature blue cheese.