The Ultimate Wine Pairing Guide

Pairing Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon: This full-bodied red is most often paired with red meat, steaks to be more specific, and lets face it, a great cabernet is heaven with that slab of Prime Rib. However, it will also pair quite well with any beef, goose, duck, lamb, pheasant, or even a roast chicken. And, lets not forget to grace the table with a great Cabernet Sauvignon with that red pasta dish too.

Syrah: This big, bold stick to your teeth red also pairs well with beef steaks, roasts, brisket, venison, lamb.

Tempranillo: Most usually associated with Spain, but over the past few years produced in the U.S. primarily in Oregon, this lovely medium bodied red brings smiles to every table. Serve it with a cheese dish like Manchego as an appetizer, or with any lamb, veal, red pasta, or veal dish, or even with a marinated beef dish like strips on the barbeque.

Zinfandel: A full-bodied wine developed in Europe, but perfected in Northern California, specifically the Sonoma County. When you hear the term “jammy” this is the wine they are talking about, giving you that juicy mouth and lots of flavor. It’s also the wine that keeps you serious, because a smile just might reveal purple teeth.

Serve this beauty with almost any barbeque meats, especially those ribs, and it will even boost the flavor scheme of you basic hamburger, pork chops and ribs, chicken and lamb. By now you can see that any excuse can bring a bottle of this red to your table, from Mexican dishes, spicy food to even pizza night.

Merlot: This is a wine that works well with or without food, but with food excels your taste buds. It doesn’t pack the punch that Cabernet Sauvignon has with tannin, yet works well with many meat dishes too. This medium bodied softer red complements any lamb dish and not being as heavy will pair smoothly with wild game dishes. You might not think of it, but this wine will pair well with spicy dishes, like Thai or Mexican, Red Sauce Pasta dishes, ribs, duck, pork and chicken and turkey. Get the picture yet? It will pair with almost anything.

Malbec: The featured wine of Argentina, and the Mendoza Region this big powerhouse red exhibits the jammy palate, and brings all your senses to the party. As far as pairing with food, lets start with the classic barbeque chicken with lots of sauce, divine. If you are in Spain, or love the foods, then prepare some fresh empanadas with this wine. Prepare you steaks, chicken or pork dishes, and serve Malbec with it and become a star.

Sangiovese: This is a medium bodied red with some good tannin to it, and therefore pairs quite well with beef dishes, red pasta dishes, chicken and duck. If you are serving as a snack or before dinner, it will complement goat, chevre and brie cheeses.

Grenache: You will discover that this wine is full-bodied, yet soft and can be powerful at times. It pairs well with many Bistro dishes, Portuguese and Spanish dishes, or with most barbequed meats.

Gamay: Pair this wine with ham, chicken or duck, pork roast, or for the English Nobleman out there, maybe a shepherds pie.

Pairing White Wines

Chardonnay: A very popular white wine, and choice of many connoisseurs as well as the novice, the food choices are many, however with the influx of un-oaked Chardonnay created in stainless steel vats, there are more choices even. The wines that present that buttery oaky flavor to the palate pair oh so well with shellfish draped in butter, or roast chicken, lobster, sea bass or any white meat dish prepared with crème sauce. However the clean crisp and refreshing palate received with a un-oaked Chardonnay pairs oh so well with many shrimp dishes, and lets not forget fresh halibut.

Viognier: This wine will dance on your palate with a full bodies yet low acid presentation, that will complement creamy dishes, Asian flavors, and the richness of shellfish, especially lobster, scallops and Dungeness crab, fresh of course.

Riesling: When you think of Riesling, you must visualize a wine that can pair with almost anything, or nothing at all. It’s light fruit, mineral and acidity merge on your palate, and you fall in love with the wine with every taste. Sip this wonderful wine with Sushi, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, veal, pork or especially fresh crab

Sauvignon Blanc: Exhibiting different flavor patterns when tasting this wine created in Europe, the United States or New Zealand, interesting enough, they will all pair quite well with the same basic food choices. As a pleasant crisp white wine, you can well expect it to pair with white fish and shellfish like oysters, and it does. However, don’t neglect your lamb, pork or chicken on the grill, because this varietal will make it pop. Another pairing not usually thought of is pairing Sauvignon Blanc with crème pastas and maybe a herbed risotto.

Gewürztraminer: Not only is this wine a mouthful to pronounce, it is a full-bodied wine on you palate also. Most often thought of when one thinks of spicy Asian dishes, this wine also pairs quite well in the curry dishes with chicken, scallops and shrimp. If you decide to fire up the smoker and prepare a “beer can chicken” then this is your wine. Other pairings that work quite well, smoked salmon, sushi, lobster, and any roasted game bird.



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