10 Wine Pairing Tips


Look for Similarities

When it comes to pairing wine with food, look for common ground.
When it comes to pairing wine with food, look for common ground.
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One popular approach is to look for similarities in food and wine, and match like to like. Then, the wine and food will complement each other. You can do this by matching various characteristics. Ask your wine merchant, or read the descriptions on the bottle's label. Here are some things to look for:

  • Body or heaviness. If the food is rich and heavy, choose a full-bodied wine that won't be overwhelmed. If the food is light and delicate, go with a light, delicate wine.
  • Acidity. If you have an acidic food, maybe with a lemon sauce, choose an acidic wine.
  • Sweetness. Serve a sweet dessert wine with dessert – but make sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert, or it may taste bitter in comparison.
  • Taste. Serve a smoky wine with grilled foods. Try an earthy wine with mushrooms. A fruity wine can go with citrus or other fruits.
  • Intense flavor. Serve a strongly-flavored wine with spicy foods.
  • Color. A writer in Forbes magazine described a sweetbreads dish with yellowish-orange color paired with a California Chardonnay with similar hues [source: LeDraoulec].
  • Texture. A rich lobster dish can pair with a rich, creamy wine.

There are more precise ways to match similar wines. Read on to learn how.