Choose Similar Flavors
Similar food and wine flavors complement each other.
Example: Sole with lemon sauce and Sauvignon Blanc both have citrus flavors.
Choose Similar Weight and Texture
Similarly weighted food and wine complement each other. Food and wine can be light, medium or heavy-bodied.
Example: Lobster and Chardonnay are both medium-weight and rich so they complement each other.
Choose the Same Sweetness Level
Wine should be equal to or higher in sugar than the dish.
Example: Roasted pork with apple glaze pairs beautifully with Riesling.
Salt Needs Crispness
Crisp wines balance salty flavors.
Example: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc balances salty olives and feta cheese.
Pair with the Sauce
Pair the wine to the sauce served.
Example: Light citrus sauces pair with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Example: Heavy cream and mushroom sauces are ideal with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Example: Red and meat sauces match Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah.
No Sauce? Pair with the Meat
Match wine to meat, fish or poultry when serving without a sauce.
Example: Pinot Noir tastes great with duck.
Sweeter wines offer relief from spicy foods.
Example: Riesling pairs well with Asian cuisines.
Tannins Need Fat to Balance Out
Tannic wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon cut through the coating that fat leaves in the mouth.
Example: Cabernet pairs great with steak.
Look: Pair by Color
Nature has color-coded fruit and vegetables with the wine best suited to their flavors. Light wines - light foods; deeply colored wines - rich foods.
Example: Sauvignon Blanc is pale yellow and pairs well with citrus.
Consider Acid Levels
Like sweetness, wine should be equal to, or higher, in acid than the dish.
Example: Pinot Noir matches well with tomato tapenade.
Full-bodied with black currant, coffee and dark chocolate notes with a long finish.
Meats & Fish:Game, ribeye, roasted meats, beef stew, rack of lamb, swordfish and tunaCheese & Nuts:Cheddar and all aged cheeses, walnutsFruits & Vegetables:Black cherries, plums, tomatoes, broccoli, black olives, dark greensSauces:Brown, bolognese, tomato, pasta in a thick red sauceGrains:PizzaDesserts:Bittersweet chocolate, berries in dark chocolate sauce, espresso gelato
Light-bodied, crisp wine with fig, lemon and grassy tones.
Meats & Fish:Lighter entrées such as shellfish, sushi, sole, orange roughy and chickenCheese & Nuts:Feta, chévre, pine nutsFruits & Vegetables:Citrus fruits, melons, green apples, asparagusSauces:All light sauces such as citrus sauceGrains:White rice, French breadDesserts:Light, fruity sweets such as sorbet and key lime pie
Medium-bodied, buttery and oaky with vanilla, pineapple, peach and red apple flavors and a smooth finish.
Meats & Fish:Pork loin, chicken, veal, shrimp, crab and lobsterCheese & Nuts:Asiago, havarti, mozzarella, almondsFruits & Vegetables:Avocado, potato, butternut squash, apples, peaches, mangoSauces:Creamy, mild and buttery sauces, pesto, tropical salsasGrains:Risotto, crackersDesserts:Apple, pecan and key lime pie, yellow and pound cake, banana pudding, caramel swirl ice cream
Light- to medium-bodied with apricot, honeysuckle and pear flavors with a dry finish.
Meats & Fish:Sweet meats such as pork and smoked turkey, chicken, sea bass, trout and Asian foodCheese & Nuts:Havarti, Gouda, pecans, candied walnutsFruits & Vegetables:Pears, apricots, figs, apples, melon, sweet potato, chili and bell peppersSauces:Sweet BBQ, sweet and sour, curry, chutneyGrains:Corn bread, honey breadDesserts:Pecan pie, apple pie, baked pears, honey and almond-covered cheese, anything with caramel
Medium-bodied and silky with red cherry, strawberry and smoky earth tones.
Meats & Fish:Roasted chicken, tuna, filet mignon, pork, lamb and mild sausagesCheese & Nuts:Goat cheese, Brie, walnutsFruits & Vegetables:Roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, figs, cherries, strawberries, dried fruitSauces:Mushroom sauces, light-medium red saucesGrains:Olive breadDesserts:Vanilla pudding, milk chocolate, creme brulée, strawberries and cream, white chocolate
Heavy-bodied and chewy with black cherry, currant, jammy, spice and tobacco tones.
Meats & Fish:Roast game, hearty stews, spicy sausages such as pepperoni and salami, salmonCheese & Nuts:Strong cheeses such as sharp cheddar, Roquefort and blue cheese, hazelnutsFruits & Vegetables:Currants, blackberries, stewed tomatoes, beets, eggplant and dark, leafy greensSauces:Heavy red, BBQ and spicy saucesGrains:PizzaDesserts:Rhubarb pie, Black Forest cake
Full-bodied with espresso, pomegranate, dark chocolate and black cherry flavors.
Meats & Fish:BBQ tri-tip, sausage pizza, duck, tuna and grilled sharkCheese & Nuts:Blue cheese, Camembert, toasted cashewsFruits & Vegetables:Bell pepper, roasted shallots, boysenberry or plumsSauces:Bearnaise, marinara, mushroomDesserts:Dark chocolate torte, chocolate truffles dusted with cocoa powder
Medium- to heavy-bodied, smooth-finishing with black cherry, plum, raspberry and chocolate notes.
Meats & Fish:Grilled meats, steak, stew, leg of lamb, tuna and swordfishCheese & Nuts:Romano, Parmesan, aged chévre, chestnutsFruits & Vegetables:Plums, tomatoes, endive, eggplant, black beans, caramelized vegetablesSauces:Red sauce, bolognese, tomato and béarnaise saucesDesserts:Dark chocolate sauce, berries, chocolate torte, fondue
Medium- to heavy-bodied with blackberry, raspberry, black pepper and smoke tones with a spicy finish.
Meats & Fish:Grilled sausages, ribs, Cajun spiced fish, cioppino, duck and roasted meatsCheese & Nuts:Ripe Brie, triple-cream and aged cheesesFruits & Vegetables:Cranberries, all types of peppers, especially grilledSauces:Spicy, Cajun and pepper sauces, hot salsaDesserts:Spice cake, gingerbread, orange-chocolate, carrot cake