Pairing Wine and Food

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Wine and Food

While there are some "rules" about matching wines with food, it is important to satisfy your own tastes first.

Red wines are usually recommended for heavier meals, especially those including red meat such as beef or lamb. Lighter-bodied reds can also go great with pork and poultry, pasta, and spicy foods. Many of these same foods can be well-complemented by white wines as well, especially chicken and pasta in light or creamy sauces. White wine also goes well with most fish, and there are many sweet white wines such as Riesling that are great with dessert.

Champagne and many sparkling wines go great with a wide variety of dishes, but are most frequently served with hors d'oeuvres or appetizers. Rosés are also excellent as dessert wines, and can be a great accompaniment to dishes where both reds and whites would be considered appropriate.

Refer to the table below for a a guide to serving wine with food. Keep in mind this is just a guide, and you should always feel comfortable in drinking the wine that fits your personal taste.

Red Wines
Red VarietalAppetizersMain CourseDessert
Cabernet Sauvignon Carpaccio, pungent (stinky) cheeses Beef, duck, lamb, lentils Dark and bittersweet chocolate
Merlot Antipasto, aged cheeses Veal, sausage, salmon, tuna, eggplant Raspberry, cherry or other dark berry desserts
Zinfandel Seared Ahi tuna, spicy chicken or beef satay Barbeque, tomato sauce, spicy sausage, duck and beef Dark berry desserts, carrot cake
Pinot Noir Creamy cheeses, pâtés, roasted vegetables Veal, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef, lamb Berry tart, flourless chocolate cake, crème brûlée
Syrah Bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms, tapenade Ham, lamb, pasta with tomato sauce, pizza, barbeque Cherry pie, chocolate mousse
White Wines
White Varietal Appetizers Main Course Dessert
Chardonnay Scallops, crudités, hummus, mild cheeses Chicken, cream based sauces, pork and seafood Cheesecake, poached light fruit
Sauvignon Blanc Oysters, crab cakes, wild mushroom and goat cheese bruschetta Sea bass, lobster, langoustines, chicken, shrimp Sorbet, key lime pie, lemon meringue pie
Pinot Grigio Ceviche, ahi tuna tartare, antipasto Risotto, grilled chicken, lobster, white sauces, crab Petit fours, apple tart
Riesling Calamari, steamed clams, creamy cheeses Roasted chicken, grilled pork, baked ham Light cakes, cream based pie, baked apples