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Wine Pairing Guide

Palate & PairingChoose the perfect wine pairing for your next meal


BEEF
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Steak

Wine and Steak
Interview With Fleming’s
Dried Spices (salt, pepper, etc.) Cabs/Cab blends Zin, Shiraz, Rioja/Ribera del Duero(Spain), Malbec (Argentina) (Pinot Noirs, Merlots, Rhones and Super Tuscans are second choices) Look for full, fruity wines to balance the steak fats
Ribs Braised Cab Blend, Garnacha (Spain) Shiraz, Zin, Cabernet Franc (Bourgeil) Comments
BBQ Zin, Southern Rhone, Shiraz Champagne, sparkling wines Spicy ribs do well with spicy reds (ie Zin) and refreshing sparkling whites
Roast salt and pepper White Burgundy
Stew hearty w/vegetables Cab blends(Bordeaux)
Shiraz, Zin, Malbec
Northern Rhone
Barolo, Brunello
A stew begs for a full bodied wine
Hamburger/Meatloaf spiced Cab blends, Zin, (Merlot) Shiraz, Rhone, Rioja/Ribero del Duero Medium reds with some spice
Chili spicy beef, pork or veal Zin, Rioja(Spain), Rhone,
Shiraz, Pinot Noir
Stir Fry Asian spices Pinot Noir, Chianti (not reserve)
Beaujolais
Avoid overly tannic wines
POULTRY
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Chicken (goose) Roasted with salt, pepper, garlic, ginger Chardonnay, Riesling, White Rhone White Bordeaux, White Burgundy, Champagne/Sparkling wine; Pinot Noir (US or Burgundy), Rioja, Merlot, Cotes du Rhone, Beaujolais, Chianti As chicken is neutral in taste, use the accenting spices to guide your wine selection
in light sauce (ie vegetable/white wine) Chianti (not riservas), Barbera, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir Nearly all whites from Albarino to Chardonnay
Gewurztraminer/Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, White Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
in medium sauce (red wine, teriyaki) Reds: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cotes du Rhone, Rioja, Burgundy, Chianti (not riservas), Beaujolais Whites: same of light sauce
in heavy sauce (mushroom/spicy Italian) Reds only (see medium sauce)
in tomato sauce Chianti (not riserva), Barbera, Rosso di Montacino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rioja
stir fry light fruity red (Pinot Noir, Beaujolais); Rioja, chianti; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc,
Riesling, Gewurtztraminer Champagne, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy
Duck Breast grilled Pinot Noir/Beaujolais, Merlot, Red Burgundy, Rioja Champagne, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy
roasted in
fruit or heavy sauce
Pinot Noir, Rhone or Syrah, Barolo, Sangiovese, Barbera, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot Plum sauce better with fruity wines such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Southern Rhone, Heavy sauces match well with
Turkey light-medium sauce Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot; Whites: nearly any white (rich: Chardonnay or white Burgundy)(lean: try Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis or Albarino) Helpful for me: if the turkey preparation and side dishes are simple in terms of flavors, you can experiment with a diversity of wines; if the turkey is prepared with exotic spices, a complex stuffing and many flavored side dishes, you’ll better match the food complexity with a simple wine that can match most flavors rather than fight with one or two side dishes
heavy sauces almost any full, fruity red for whites: rich and buttery = Chardonnay white burgundy; medium = White Bordeaux &Sparkling: Champagne/Sparkling Wine
Quail/Squab oven roasted Rioja (reserve), Bordeaux, Pinotage
PORK
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Chops red wine/fruit marinade Pinot Noir, Zin, Shiraz, Barbera Chianti, Red Burgundy, Merlot, Rioja New world Sangiovese Look for a fruity wine
Roast Loin/Chops Tarragon/mustard Pouilly-Fume, Sancere, Mersault, Cabernet Franc, earthy Pinot Noir Merlot, Red Burgundy, New World Sangiovese Whites are delightful with the preparation
Spareribs smoked sauces Shirza, Zin, Barolo, Barbaresco, Cab, Rhone, Super Tuscan Think big, rich reds!!
Ham Baked/Honey Glazed Chardonnay, Champagne/Sparkling Wine Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, White Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rhone, Pinot Gris Rose, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Beaujolais A lot of choices to work with.
Sausage mild Pinot Noir, Chianti, Beaujolais, Rioja
spicy Champagne, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc Gewurztraminer, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy, Pinot Gris/Grigio If preparation has onions, olives and gravy, think a heavy red such Bordeaux, Malbec
LAMB
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Chops
Leg/rack
of lamb
Grilled w/lemon thyme and butter Nearly all reds work with this from lighter Beaujolais and Barbera to the big guns such as Bordeaux, Shiraz, Barolo, Super Tuscans Zin and Cabs.
Kebab Grilled with veggies Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Merlot, Cotes du Rhone New world Sangiovese
Stew Tomatoes, onions
peas, potatoes
Earthy wines: Rioja, Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco, Northern Rhone
VEAL
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Chops mushroom sauce/
red reduction sauce
Italian (Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello) Tuscan, Syrah, Cab, Merlot, hefty Spanish Reds (Priorat, Ribera del Duero)
Marsala Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Pinot Noir, Rioja
Scaloppini with tomatoes and Eggplant Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Barolo, Barbaresco, Rioja Red Burgundy
Osso Bucco celery, carrots, sage rosemary, lemon Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Beaujolais Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc
Piccata Preparation Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja
With mushroom/red wine sauce Earthy but not too heavy reds: Cotes du Rhone, Merlot,
VENISON
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Venison Hearty reds such as Shiraz, Zin, Bordeaux, Super Tuscan Rhone, Barolo/Barbaresco, Brunello, Barbera, Cab
Rabbit Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, New world Sangiovese, Rioja, Beaujolais
FISH
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Sole, Flounder, Snapper Broiled Riesling, Pinot Gris/Grigio (Blanc), Muscadet, Chardonnay(Chilean/South African,
Chablis,White Burgundy
Tuna Grilled/dried spices Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Sangiovese (new world) White Burgundy or Chardonnay are ok. I prefer the reds to work with the tuna’s oil.
Salmon Grilled/dried spices Same as with tuna White Burgundy, Chardonnay as well as Chablis, Viognier and Pinot Gris
Salmon/Tuna Light/medium sauce Chardonnay, Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy
Salmon/Tuna Heavy sauce Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja
Swordfish/Halibut
Haddock
Grilled Most whites make a nice match
Light/medium sauce Albarino, Alsace (ie Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, etc.), Chablis, Sancere/Pouilly Fume
Rich Sauce Champagne, Chardonnay,Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone
SHELLFISH
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Shrimp Cocktail Spicy Sauce Riesling, Chardonnay, dry Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis Personally, I love the minerality and dryness of the Australian Rieslings
Stir fried shrimp Spicy Asian Sauce Muscadet, Pinot Gris/Blanc, Riesling
Shrimp in oil based/light vegetable sauce Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc
Cajun shrimp spicy Cajun spices Albarino, Alsace, Chablis, Sancere, Pouilly-Fume, dry Chenin Blanc
Raw shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters) Muscadet, Pinot Gris/Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc., Chablis, Champagne/Sparkling Wine, dry Chenin Blanc
Lobster Steamed/broiled Chardonnay, White Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Champagne
Crab Steamed/broiled Albarino, Alsace, Chablis, Sancere, Pouilly-Fume, Viognier Dry Chenin Blanc
Scallops light sauce Albarino, Alsace, Chablis, Sancere, Pouilly-Fume, dry Chenin Blanc
rich or hearty sauce Champagne, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy
Grilled Moderate-full White (Chardonnay, White Bordeaux, White Burgundy,medium dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc)
PASTA
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
With meat/Bolognese sauce including meat lasagna Barbera, Beaujolais, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Bordeaux, Ribera del Duero Rioja, Sangiovese
With Primavera or Vodka
sauce
Albarino, Alsace (ie Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris) Albarino, Alsace (ie Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris) Chablis, Champagne, Chardonnay, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy
With Carbonara sauce Beaujolais, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir red Burgundy, Rioja, Sangiovese
With Puttanesca or
Pesto sauce
Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja; Albarino, Alsace, Chablis, Champagne, Chardonnay, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy
Light herb tomato sauce Beaujolais, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir, red Burgundy, Rioja, Sangiovese
Light oil based sauce Beaujolais, Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Noir; Albarino, Alsace, Chablis, Champagne, Chardonnay, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy
Light vegetable sauce Albarino, Alsace, Chablis, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume
Red Cream sauce Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja
White Cream sauce Champagne, Chardonnay, White Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy, Chenin Blanc (not dry)
Alfredo sauce Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja; Champagne,
Chardonnay, White Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy, Chenin
Blanc (not dry)
Seafood sauce: red Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja; Champagne, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy
Seafood sauce: white Nearly all whites
Pizza May be somewhat dependent upon the topping. However, some good choices are Zinfandel, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Barbera, Rioja, Sangiovese
CHINESE
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Chinese food Low alcohol, high acid wine such as Riesling or Gewurztraminer are a refreshing match, Chenin Blanc (not too dry), Champagne or Sparkling wine
SALAD
Related Article: Wine and Food Segment – Summer Salads
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Caesar Dry whites such as Sauvignon Blanc & Riesling; Pinot Gris with its pear, almond and citrusy notes is a great match A lighter Chardonnay will work as well.
Chef/Cobb The addition of eggs, meats and cheese invites lighter reds such as Beaujolais, Chianti and Pinot Noir and even a lighter Rioja; in whites, a Champagne is fun, Chardonnay, Chablis, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume and white Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy, Chenin Blanc.
Green Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay (light or naked) Chablis, dry Chenin Blanc, Albarino
Greens with fruit Same as Green and think of a Rose with its light fruitiness
Pasta/Shrimp You have a lot of choices in whites: Albarino, Chablis, Chardonnay, Champagne, Gavi, Gewurztraminer, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, white Bordeaux, Rhone Burgundy, Chenin Blanc
SOUP
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Bisques (lobster, crab) Champagne, Chardonnay, Fino Sherry, Amontillado, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy, Chenin Blanc (not dry)
Chowders Nearly any white; a richer base may invite a more full white such as Chardonnay, White Bordeaux or Burgundy, Chenin Blanc (not dry).
Chicken stock
with chicken
Barbera, Beaujolais, Brunello, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Red Bordeaux or Burgundy, Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Sangiovese; Whites include Champagne, Chardonnay, Fino Sherry, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy
Chicken stock with vegetables only The absence of chicken limits the reds: Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja while opening up more of the dry whites. In addition the whites listed above, try Albarino, Chablis, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume and Gavi.
Meat stock with vegetables A full range of reds from the lighter Beaujolais, Barbera, Pinot Noir and Cotes du Rhone to the Tuscan Brunello and Chianti and Spanish Rioja and Ribera del Duero to a classic Merlot to the heavier Bordeaux and Burgundy……………great options!!
Vegetable Soup (Stew) This style of stew or soup works wonders with a light to moderate red and a variety of whites. Reds include Beaujolais, Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy, Rioja and new world Sangiovese. Whites include Champagne, Chardonnay, Fino Sherry, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and White Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone
Potato Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Rioja; Whites include Albarino, Chablis, Champagne, Chardonnay, Fino Sherry, Gavi, Gewurztraminer, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Sauvignon Blanc and White Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy
VEGETABLES
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Fresh, raw Think crisp whites such as a dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or a Muscadet; a slightly more full Pinot Gris or Chardonnay would work as well.
Stir Fry Think whites….Albarino, Chablis, Champagne, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gavi, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Sauvignon Blanc, White Bordeaux, Rhone or Burgundy, Chenin Blanc
Steamed Albarino, Chablis, Chardonnay, Gavi, Muscadet, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume
Grilled Beaujolais, Chianti, Pinot Noir, and Rioja; whites Include those listed under Stir Fry above.
MEXICAN CUISINE
Class Preparation Favored Wines Comments
Beef, lamb, pork dishes mild sauce Chilean Cab, Malbec, Merlot Zinfandel; Chenin Blanc, Riesling off-dry), Sauvignon Blanc, Cava (Spanish Sparkling Wine) Avoid tannic, high alcohol wine if dish is spicy. It makes the tannins taste bitter.
Enchiladas mild Very light reds such as Beaujolais Barbera or Dolcetto; Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Gruner Veltliner for whites Err on the side of whites for a safe and refreshing match.
Fajitas beef Malbec, Cabs, Merlot, Shiraz Zinfandel, Pinot Noir
chicken Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Chili Relleno Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer
Seafood dish mild sauce If oily, rich fish (i.e. salmon, tuna) Pinot Noir or Burgundy
spicy sauce Whites: Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc, Sparkling wine, Riesling Avoid the reds
Chiles (Anaheim, Ancho, Chipolte,Habanero, Jalapeno, Poblano, Serrano) Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc off dry-sweet wine, Gewurtztraminer Pinot Gris(grigio), Chenin Blanc New world Pinot Noir, Rioja Avoid high tannic, high alcohol wines. If the chili is very spicy, it will make the tannins taste bitter. Avoid oaked wines. My preference are whites.
Guacamole/Salsa Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked (naked) Chardonnay, Sancerre, Pinot Gris(Grigio), Riesling, Gruner Veltliner A crisp white pairs perfectly
Quesadillas Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Sparkling wine
Tortilla Soup Sauvignon Blanc, Rioja
Chorizo Albarino, Champagne or Sparkling Wine, unoaked Chardonnay; Rioja, Sherry, Shiraz, Tempranillo

14 Responses to “Wine Pairing Guide”

  1. Rosalee says:

    Chicken breast in a lemon pepper marinade, a little fresh dill and pair with……..nope……not a Chardonnay……. but Chateau Haut-Smith Lafitte, a classy white Bordeaux with aromas and flavors of honey, apple and lemon. A seamless match!

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  4. Rebecca Holmes says:

    I’m making a shrimp curry for my dining group. Normally we would have beer with it. But my group is a wine group. What wine would be appropriate with this kind of food, basically Indian curry? Thanks.

    • Jim says:

      While beer such as lager, pale ale, India pale ale and pilsner would be a good choice, there are several wine varietals that work very well.

      In the white category, especially with a shellfish and curry, I would think about Gewurztraminer (Alsatian or German. The spiciness (an allspice character and hints of white pepper) and fruits (honey, apricot, lichee, lemon, lime, grapefruit) of the wine pair beautifully with the spices of Indian cuisine. You may also pick out some smoke and rose petal. Riesling (Spatlese) is a great match as well. While New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc may not come to mind at first, it brings together the seafood and curry spice. For something a little off the beaten path, think about a Viognier. The wine carries a nice spiciness (again allspice), florality and fruits of pear and peach along with nice acidity. Finally, if some of your guests prefer a more traditional white with additional richess, think about a domestic Chardonnay.

      The best sources, locally, for Gewurztraminer and Rieslings seem to be Total Wines (ask for Jess), AJ’s (ask for Kevin or Laurie) and Wine Depot (Frank is the owner). Tell any of them that I referred you.

      Thanks for your inquiry and don’t forget to sign up for our Email Alert wine raffle as well the Community Forum.

      Jim

  5. JP says:

    What would be the perfect match for a bottle of Cotes du Rhone Blanc, Chateau de Beaucastel 2005?

  6. Jim says:

    I take it that the wine is the Beaucastel Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone Blanc. This wine is a blend of Viognier, Bourboulenc and Marsanne. For assistance in searching for a recipe, think about the characteristics of each grape. The Viognier tends to have an allspice and floral character with fruits of peach and pear. The Bouboulenc is a steely dry and acidic wine with smokey hints while the Marsanne is a full bodied white with honeysuckle and almond notes along with caramel and pineapple. With these in mind, I would think about a pork or chicken dish with cream sauce or roasted pork, seafood such as white fish or a white fish stew or lobster. Slightly spiced dishes with an allspice seasoning (ie cinnamon, cumin, curry or nutmeg)or even Asian dish would work as well. Hope this helps………..Cheers

  7. Karl Haufler says:

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  8. Thank you so much, I’ll have to subscribe your site and read the rest I think. The first date my wife and I had nearly 20 years ago now was a lovely seafood restaurant in Napoli, so I’ve been spending ages trying to find a decent grilled lobster recipe like we had that night – our anniversary is next month so I’m hoping to surprise her!

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