Rona's Favorite Healthy (And Not So Healthy) Recipes

15 Rules for Pairing Food and Wine

15 Rules for Pairing Food and Wine


I get inundated with emails from bloggers, magazines and other info-condensing sources.  Many I just browse and delete, but when I saw this article from Food and Wine magazine, I really wanted to share it with you.  As popular as Food and Wine Magazine is, for the most part, if you’re not a “super foodie,”  you don’t subscribe to it.

This explanation of what wines go with what food is brilliant. Straightforward and easy to understand. I’m not putting a ton of photos with it so you can easily copy and paste to print it.  Keep it handy for when you have dinner parties or are invited to a BBQ.

  • Pinot Noir: Is great for dishes with earthy flavors

Recipes made with ingredients like mushrooms and truffles taste great with reds like Pinot Noir and Dolcetto, which are light-bodied but full of savory depth.

  • Chardonnay: For fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce

Silky whites—for instance, Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with fish like salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Is Great With Juicy Red Meat

California Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are terrific with steaks or chops—like lamb chops with frizzled herbs. The firm tannins in these wines refresh the palate after each bite of meat.

  • Champagne: Is perfect with anything salty

Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne and Spanish cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods, like crispy udon noodles with nori salt.

  • Sauvignon Blanc: Goes with tart dressings and sauces

Tangy foods—like scallops with grapefruit-onion salad—won’t overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde from Portugal and Verdejo from Spain.

  • Dry Rose: For Rich, Cheesy Dishes

Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red. For an indulgent cheese dish, try these Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches.

  • Pinot Grigio: Pairs with light fish dishes

Light seafood dishes, like seafood tostada bites, seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France.

  • Malbec: Won’t be Overshadowed by Sweet and Spicy Barbeque Sauce

Malbec, Shiraz and Côtes-du-Rhône are big and bold enough to drink with foods brushed with heavily spiced barbecue sauces, like these chicken drumsticks with Asian barbecue sauce.

  • Moscato d’Asti: Loves Fruit Desserts

Moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d’Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar. Try it with these honeyed fig crostatas.

  • Syrah: Matches with Highly Spiced Dishes

When a meat is heavily seasoned—like cumin-spiced burgers with harissa mayo—look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington, Cabernet Franc from France and Xinomavro from Greece are all good choices.

  • Gruner Veltiner: Pairs Well with Dishes That Have a Lot of Fresh Herbs

Austrian Grüner Veltliner’s citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish, like zucchini linguine with herbs. Other go-to grapes in a similar style include Albariño from Spain and Vermentino from Italy.

  • Zinfandel: For Pates, Mousses and Terrines

If you can use the same adjectives to describe a wine and a dish, the pairing will often work. For instance, the words rustic and rich describe Zinfandel, Italy’s Nero d’Avola and Spain’s Monastrell as well as creamy chicken-liver mousse.

  • Off-Dry Reisling: Pairs Well With Sweet and Spicy Dishes

The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes, like this Thai green salad with duck cracklings.

  • Rose Champagne: Great with Dinner, Not Just H’or Doeuvres

Rose wines such as rose Champagne, cava and sparkling wine from California, have a depth of flavor and richness to go with a variety of main courses, like beet risotto.

  • Old World Wines: Are Intrinsically Good with Old World Dishes

The flavors of foods and wines that have grown up together over the centuries—Tuscan foods and Tuscan wines, for instance—are a natural fit. A veal ragu pairs well with a medium bodies Chianti, for example.


Yes, they’re missing a few, but for the average person, this is a very complete list and has you covered for just about every wine and food pairing possible.  Have a glass for me…with the right food, of course.

See you later,