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10 Wine Pairing Tips

Pairing wine and food well takes some skill, but it isn't nearly as hard as you'd think.
Eric Raptosh Photography/Getty Images

Remember when all we needed to know about matching food and wine was that red wine went with beef and white wine went with chicken or fish? Well, times have changed -- and in more ways than one. Even that basic rule no longer holds true.

There are several reasons for this shift. Most people have a lot more wine choices than they did a couple of decades ago. Because of the rising number of states that house vineyards, Americans have more access to wine. If that isn't enough, wine is imported from around the world. Even your local supermarket is likely to have a dizzying array of wines from South America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as from Western European countries and heavy wine-producing states like California. The labels on most of those bottles will boast a variety of flavors -- berries, green apples, jasmine, spice, cherries, roses, chocolate, oak and many, many more.

The abundant choices make many people even more fearful about pairing the right wine with food. That may be partly because wine and food pairing is a hot topic for foodies and a focus of trendy restaurants.

There are lots of choices out there, but pairing doesn't have to be difficult. If you're ordering the wine for a special occasion or taking a bottle to a friend's for dinner, and you want to avoid a major misstep, ask a good wine merchant. Or visit one of many Web sites ( is one) with a pairing tool. Otherwise, learn a few good tips and enjoy yourself.

Keep reading to learn some basic suggestions.