10 Wine Pairing Tips

There Are No Rules
When in doubt, just go with a wine you enjoy.
When in doubt, just go with a wine you enjoy.
Gio Barto/Getty Images

The most important thing to remember when pairing wine with food is that there are no absolute rules. Matching food and wine is not some sort of test you have to pass. After all, who are you trying to please? Yourself, for the most part.

Sure, if you're choosing the wine for a group or event, you'll probably want to go with a conventional, safe selection that won't shock anyone's palate. In such cases, it's good to consult a wine merchant, book or Web site.

But if you’re choosing for yourself and maybe a few people to whom you’re close, go with what you like. If you’re tried Pinot Noir with lobster and thought it was great, go for it. If you like rose with your pasta, don’t let someone tell you that’s an inferior choice. If you’re afraid of making an embarrassing mistake, consider this: Surveys show that California Chardonnay is the biggest selling domestic wine. But connoisseurs think Chardonnay doesn't pair well with most foods [source: Orlin]. From their perspective, it sounds like a lot of people are making pairing mistakes.

Just remember that wine and food pairing pointers are just that: tips, hints and some basic information that might help you make good choices if you don't know which wine you want with a particular meal. The whole point of taking time to savor good food with good wine is enjoyment. These tips might enhance your gustatory pleasure, but don't be intimidated by strict rules.

Raise a glass and toast good times!

More to Explore