Pair Food and Wine the Right Way - Examples

Pair food and wine is not easy task. Let's face it: the selection of a wine to go with dinner is often limited to what wine happens to be in the house that evening. Still, a consensus has developed over the years that the taste of many of the foods we eat is enhanced when the food is matched with certain wines.

Since the pairing of food and wine is a subject that seems to be a source of anxiety for many people, we have tried to lay out some general thoughts on the subject. We have also listed a number of common dishes with wine suggestions (many of which we have in stock).

Picture Credits -
Bear in mind that, mercifully, taste is unique to each of us, and you may disagree with the information described here. If so, great! Send us your own ideas for the perfect match. We're always interested in new ideas.

Examples of pairing food and wine

In general, the weight and intensity of the food should match, or complement, the weight and intensity of the wine you have selected. That's essential when trying to pair food and wine correctly.

Example 1:
A grilled New York strip steak is a heavy dish with a lot of flavor. A dish of this type needs to be paired with a full bodied, flavorful wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, or a red wine from France's Rhone River region, such as a Gigondas from the south or a Cotie Rotie from the north.

Example 2:
Broiled filet of sole served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is a very light dish that would be blown away by the wines described above. A dish of this nature needs to be paired with a lighter, more delicate wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Vouvray, or Pinot Grigio.

Relatively fatty dishes, fried foods, or dishes with cream sauces, can benefit by being paired with wines with a relatively high acidity that can cut through the fat and cleanse the palate. In this case, the wine acts more as a contrast to the food, rather than as a match.

Example 1:
Fish served with a rich cream sauce can be paired nicely with a dry Alsatian Riesling or with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or France's Loire River Valley.

Example 2:
Grilled sausages go really well with red wines such as Chianti or Beaujolais, that are relatively acidic.

Foods that are acidic themselves (tomato sauces, vinaigrettes, the above mentioned filet of sole with lemon juice) also benefit from matches with acidic wines.

Example 1:
Pasta or pizza served with a tomato sauce naturally goes well with Chianti (what a surprise!).

Example 2
The lemon juice in the filet of sole seems to call for an acidic white wine like a French Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly Fume). In this case, the pairing serves as a contrast rather than a match or complement. Note that Chardonnay is generally not very acidic, and may not perform well in this example.

Simple foods are best matched with simple wines unless you are really trying to showcase the wine. Conversely, complex sauces go well with complex wines, as they can make simple wines taste bland or flat.

Example 1:
A simple roast chicken dish could go well with an un-oaked Australian Chardonnay or a French Chablis, but would be overwhelmed by more complex white Burgundies or high-end California Chardonnays.

Example 2:
Escalopes de Veau Sautées a l'Estragon (Sauteed Veal Scallops with Taragon) would be a great match for full-flavored white Burgundies or high-end California Chardonnays. 

Use these examples of pairing food and wine and enjoy your time. Try some wine cocktails like sangria and you will get instant summer portion of refreshness for sure.