Food & Wine Pairing Basics

Roasted-Chicken-and-Wine

Wine has long earned its place at the dining table whether out at a restaurant or cooking at home. While certainly enjoyed on its own, often the meal can be an afterthought once you get going on pouring glasses of wine. Instead of flying blind on combining the two together, it’s good to have some basic guidelines in place in order to get even more enjoyment out of your dining experience.

With the wide variety of food types, ingredients, and cooking methods, picking the perfect wine to pair with is not always straightforward. To simply say white wine goes with fish may not always work for your situation. To help, we’ve assembled the basic considerations and placed them into a handy infographic!

Food & Wine Pairing Infographic

When taste testing your food with wine, the questions you should ask are:

  • Do they compliment each other?
  • Does one over-power the other?
  • Do they clash and taste awful?

But most importantly:

Did the wine help improve the overall taste of your meal?

Remember, how the food is prepared is key to understanding what type of wine would make a good match. Having fish for dinner? Is it grilled, baked, poached, fried, or smoked? What types of spices are being used? Is it cooked in a sauce?

To summarize:

  • Food texture should match wine texture (body)
  • Match flavor types
Smokey
Smokey
Herbal
Herbal
Fruity
Fruity
Buttery
Buttery
Earthy
Earthy
  • Sweet foods need sweeter wines or wine will taste too acidic
  • Acidic foods need more acidic wines or wine will taste flat
  • Spicy (hot) food pairs with sweet wines
  • Sauces tends to overshadow other flavors, so match the wine to the sauce
  • Salty and bitter foods pair best with bubbly

Keep in mind there’s usually multiple options per dish, so drink something you’ll enjoy!

Paul Moretti
Paul Moretti

I'm a guy who wants to share some knowledge and make wine less intimidating for the average person. I'm also a grape grower, winemaker, tech geek, avid whiskey drinker, dance commander, BBQ pit master, never-ending scholar, and family man.