How to Pair Food & Wine Like a Pro

Pairing food and wine is one of those topics that can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. While you can always explore the endless books written by expert sommeliers, which go into very specific details, the truth is that most of us neither have the time nor the necessity to do so. At the end of the day, what most of us want is a wine and food pairing that enhances both aspects nicely, and makes us look like we know what we are doing. So, here are some simple guidelines that will help you pair food and wine like a pro:

Pairing wine and food can be fun!

Pair your hors d’oeuvres with bubbles

It’s always wonderful to start a meal off on a bubbly note. Not only does it add a touch of elegance to the event, but the effervescence of the wine also cleanses the palate before the meal. And on those special occasions that call for celebration, there’s truly no better option than sparkling wine, whether you opt for Champagne, Prosecco or Cava.

Match the region of your wines and ingredients

As a general rule, what grows together, usually pairs together very well. For example, a white truffle risotto and a Barolo that comes from the same region is a well-known combination. So, if you tend to opt for fresh, local produce when preparing your food, it might be a good idea to pair it with a local wine. If you live Down Under, there are many places where you can buy red wine online in Australia that beautifully complements the Aussie cuisine. You can find great wines anywhere in the world, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Wine and pasta? Wine not!

Learn how to balance your acidity

If you’ve ever wondered what the right pairing is for spaghetti and meatballs or which wine you should combine with a ceviche, the answer lies in the acidity. Ultimately, you must always choose a wine that has enough acidity to hold up to acidic foods. Acidity in wines is your best friend, as without it, the wine falls flat. Some high-acidity varietals you can choose to amplify the flavors in your meal include dry Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc for whites, and Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds.

Red wine pairs well with salty food

I like to pair my wine with cheese, ham or any crackers.

Salt is what makes wine more palatable, reducing tannic flavors and bringing forward the fruity notes. So, if you like tannic red wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, choose a salty dish to go with it. If you’re a fan of fatty foods, on the other hand, a wine with high acidity will help cut through the richness of the meal, so opt for something like a Riesling, Muscadet or Chablis.

Classic wine pairings are timeless

Whether it’s oysters and Chablis (a mineral, crisp Chardonnay made in France) or caviar and Champagne, these pairings are classic for a good reason. They work beautifully together and they have been tested by many generations. So, if you decide to go with these timeless dishes, or even pair turkey with a glass of Chardonnay for your Christmas or Thanksgiving meal, remember that classic is always a good option.

Pair your desserts with sweet wines

The sweet aroma of the food generally tends to make wines seem less fruity and more bitter in comparison, which is what makes dry wines quite a bad choice during dessert time. Even though it might seem contradictory, this is the ideal time to pull out your fully sweet dessert wines, such as Port, sweet Sherries and Sauternes, in order to have a truly enjoyable pairing.

What dessert do you usually pair with wine?

Although it is always good to experiment and try out new things, ultimately, the best food and wine pairing you can choose is the one that you personally enjoy the most.

26 thoughts on “How to Pair Food & Wine Like a Pro”

  1. Thank you for this helpful post! As I was reading it, I thought that it all seems so simple, yet is information I had never considered before such as “what grows together usually pairs well together” or the red wine and salty foods combination. My guests will likely appreciate me providing more thoughtful pairings in the future.

  2. Pair desserts with sweet wines,i think it will blast a sweet bomb in anyone’s mouth.HaHa….Really appreciated on your effort in pairing different things in sweet wine!

  3. I’m so wine-ignorant so this is super helpful for hosting some guests coming from abroad! We wanted to wine and dine them, so thanks. 🙂

  4. Sounds like you really know your stuff when it comes to wine for sure. always good to know what you are doing and go with your own picks xx

  5. This is something I have never really put a lot of thought into. Looks like I need to start getting it together!

  6. Such good information to have on hand when hosting a small party. Wine pairing can be confusing but this post really helped me a lot. I will save this post for reference. I have a male-dominant family so that means there is more beer than there is wine in the house. 🙂

  7. Sometimes food pairings are tricky, but if you combine wine and foods that grows on same terroir, that’s the good start 😀
    And don’t forget to enjoy every sip.

  8. Great…You’ve explained it perfect for someone like who don’t drink but have wine loving friends, I always use the same kind just so won’t confuse myself.

  9. I never thought that pairing the wine and food is important as well. This is such a great tips to know. Glad of that.

  10. This is a good list for a person who seldom drinks wine like me. I always get confused on what wine to pair with what food.

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