Food and Wine Matching Basics

Food and wine go hand-in-hand perfectly and a glass of nice red, rosé or white will heighten the taste of your dish. For many, pairing these two is a mystery which secrets only sommeliers know. However, you don’t need to be an expert to understand how food and wine work together.

What’s your favorite food + wine combination?

In order to pair the two, you will need to learn matching basics which will bring quality and remarkable taste to your dining. Therefore, follow these simple rules and you will experience a whole new food and wine relationship that was already before you.

Food and wine are partners

Neither food nor wine should dominate in the relationship in order to create perfect balance and harmony. Therefore, you will match your wine to the dominant ingredient in your food which doesn’t have to be meat. If you eat lighter food, it will go superbly with delicate wine which will help all the flavours stay in place without one overpowering the other. For example, mushrooms will go well with Pinot Noir because of its earthy taste, while white medium-bodied Chardonnay will fit perfectly with roast turkey.

Lower alcohol for spicy foods

If you like spicy food, then you will need to match it with lower alcohol wines like Semillon. Alcohol adds to the heat in the food and therefore higher levels of it will make your meals too spicy and ruin the tastes. Shiraz is a spicy red wine which goes well with fried dishes, while Riesling will tone down the spiciness of any food.

Let’s cheers to that!

Tannins go well with fat

Tannin gives wine structure and is responsible for the bitter taste you feel when you take a sip. Because of this, tannins in wine go well with fatty foods since they smooth the bitterness. This is why you should have Cabernet Sauvignon with ribs or Malbec with pork roast.  But meat is not the only fast food out there and so you will experience some exquisite matching with tannin-rich wine and cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano

Discover umami

Umami is the so-called fifth taste besides sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It was discovered in Japan and it represents the higher flavour of deliciousness in certain foods like tomatoes, red meat, and mushrooms. This new taste brought the food and wine matching to a whole new level and it’s becoming increasingly present in restaurants. Therefore, shitake mushrooms will go nicely with champagne, while Cava goes amazingly with smoked salmon.

I love having wine after a good dinner.

Pay attention to acid

High acid wines match with high acid food. For example, tomato sauce pairs well with Chianti or Barolo and this type of matching basics will help you accentuate citrus aromas in the food. Wines high in acid and low in tannins also provide an exception to the rule that red goes with red meat and white with white. You can easily find online wine exporters who offer a great variety of wines and pick the one that will respect the principles of acidity matching.  

Match wine with dominant flavour

When you want to match wine to the food, think about one simple thing: What is the dominant flavour in the dish. Food is complex and although something is a main ingredient, it doesn’t necessarily have to define the taste. Therefore, the dominant flavor can be a sauce and in that case, it is the matching point for your successful food and wine pairing.

But the sauce is not the only thing that can define your dish and affect the type of wine you will have. Herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme are aromatic enough to take over. And even white wines like Roussanne and Viognier could match the food usually paired with red wines. 

A taste of Italy: wine and pizza

Pairing with desserts

When it comes to dessert, this matching basics is easy to remember since both food and wine need to be sweet. Sweet wines are not something that you will often notice that people drink casually, but even if you are not a fan, they will completely transform your dessert. Moscato will go great with a fruity dessert, while port will highlight all the right tastes in a fudgy cake. Just have a sip before and after each bite of your dessert and your taste buds will explode. 


Once you master the food and wine matching basics, you will discover a whole new world of tastes and flavours. It may seem complicated, but in time you will learn how to accentuate the aromas in your dish with a nice glass of wine. And that will turn dining into an astonishing experience.

This is a guest post by Jasmine Anderson, a lifestyle and beauty blogger based in Australia. She is an incurable daydreamer, who finds inspiration in little, everyday moments. Spending time at her cozy home office with her two cats, writing her blog, is her favorite thing in the world.  Follow her on twitter.

32 thoughts on “Food and Wine Matching Basics”

  1. This is such a great post! Matching wine with food is a lot more difficult than people think. Once you get it right, it’s so good.

  2. There’s just something special about pairing a good wine with your meal. Most of us, myself included, don’t know what kind of wine goes with a particular dish. Your post helps shed some light on that.

  3. I am just now getting into wine drinking and it’s so hard nailing down the right pairings. This is a great guide to help me with my future wine/dinner menu though!

  4. Thank you so much for all the information. I’ll definitely be using these tips when I have my next dinner party!

  5. I love that you explained the reason behind why each type of wine was good with each type of food. I had always heard the pairings but never why.

  6. Interesting article. That’s good learning for me. Was not aware of the matching formulas. There is actually a unique technique for different types of food. Quite amazing in fact.

  7. Well, now I am super curious about tasting umami. I’ll have to discover where to eat it and pair it with the perfect wine.

  8. Wine and Cheese is life! That’s what i know honestly. was not aware of the matching, now I’m guessing it needs to blend with our palette – The Soul of Wine’ Savoring the Goodness of God.

  9. Wow – I felt like I just went got wine training 101 after reading this post! Thanks for sharing, I know what to get for dinner tonight!

  10. I have often hear my mom say that wine does not pair well with tomato sauce and this is just today that I understood why. Never realized that I had to consider the acidity of the wine. Thank you for sharing this. Learned something new today.

  11. this is the first time i read or learn about these things. i never thought that this should be paired with that, etc. thanks for giving me new knowledge. <3

  12. Glad to know everything about this today. Now, I know how to match food and wine in every occasions. Thank you!

  13. I have to admit I’m not the best at matching wines. I used to work with a guy who was an honest to God expert! But I have no clue. This guide has certainly helped me get the basics down.

  14. This is very informative! I will definitely refer to this guide when pairing food with wine.

  15. Matching food and drink is an art. It’s good to get educated on which types of wine pair best with the right foods and this article does exactly that.

  16. What a great article about pairing food and wine. I love my vinho Verde paired with fish/sushi! It is all about the experience and savoring the taste.

  17. This is excellent and very informative! I have usually relied on the sommelier for tips on pairing wine with food. Now, I will be able to make some initial suggestions too!

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