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How to pair wine with food

Simple Tips on How You Can Learn to Pair Wine with Food and Meals

Have you ever wanted to know how to pair wine with food?  Here are some simple tips on how you can learn to pair wine with food and meals.

It has been said red wine should be paired with beef and white wine with fish and chicken. The rule may not be so strict, but it's still a helpful guideline.

It has been said red wine should be paired with beef and white wine with fish and chicken. It has also been said that this is a bunch of bologna. In reality, this is only a small amount of bologna.

Pairings of food and wine are no longer as simple as red with beef or white with fish. Today, thanks in large part to the Food Network, the internet, and a myriad of great, food-oriented magazines, the average consumer knows more about food than even the ‘experts’ of years past.

pairing wine with food

How to Know what Type of Wine to Select 

Many sommeliers agree that if one has a preference for a specific wine, it's wise to choose that wine. If not, the old adage rule can be a good place to start to find the gray between red and white wine pairing.

Sure, white wines are very often paired with fish, chicken, and veggies. But don’t forget red wine when your chicken or turkey is heavily spiced, barbequed, or curried. White wine has its place with some red meats – especially if we are talking hamburgers or empanadas. And damn it, sparkling wine goes with literally EVERYTHING.

How to Pair Wine with a Meal

As for ordering wine with dinner, consider the meal in its entirety, not just the meat. The way a dish is prepared and the sauces it’s served with can make a difference in how wine pairs with it. The wine shouldn’t compete with the food, so choose one that doesn’t overwhelm the main course. That being said, make sure the food isn’t shouting at the wine either. The pairing should be just that: a pair, a compliment.

The goal of good food and wine pairing is that both taste better together than alone. It’s easier to think of food and wine pairings like we do fashion. We can either match or complement various components of the whole ensemble.

The trouble with matching is that one can overdo a particular flavor. The benefit of complimentary pairings is that you will have a balanced meal with more depth.

How to Pair wine with food - wine bottle selection image

Pairing Cheat Sheet for Beginners

Lehigh Valley Wine Trail’s association of winery owners and winemakers developed this cheat sheet as a general guide.

For chicken and light dishes in cream sauces, consider dry whites like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, or Chardonnay

Heavy dishes in tomato or cheese sauces can pair well with red wines like Pinot Noir and Chambourcin.
When serving lamb, good choices are Cabernet Sauvignon, Lemberger, and Cabernet Franc.

For pork dishes, consider a Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, or a Traminette.

A shellfish meal could pair nicely with a crisp white wine like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or sparkling wines
For turkey, taste Nouveau Beaujolais, Riesling or Gerüztraminer.

Chef Kelley Hick's Rustic Chicken Pot Pie Recipe


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