What Pairs With Wine

When it comes to enjoying a good glass of wine, the experience can be elevated to new heights when paired with the perfect food. As a wine enthusiast, I have spent countless hours experimenting with …

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When it comes to enjoying a good glass of wine, the experience can be elevated to new heights when paired with the perfect food. As a wine enthusiast, I have spent countless hours experimenting with different food and wine combinations to find the most delightful pairings. In this article, I will share some of my personal insights and commentary on what pairs well with wine.

Understanding Wine Pairings

Before diving into the specifics, it is important to understand the basic principles of wine pairings. The goal is to find a balance between the flavors and characteristics of both the wine and the food. The right pairing can enhance the flavors of both, creating a harmonious tasting experience.

One rule of thumb is to match the intensity of the wine with the intensity of the dish. For example, a bold and robust red wine would pair well with a rich and savory steak, while a light and crisp white wine would complement a delicate seafood dish.

Another consideration is the acidity of both the wine and the food. Wines with high acidity can cut through the richness of fatty foods, creating a refreshing contrast. For example, a zesty Sauvignon Blanc would be a fantastic match for a tangy goat cheese salad.

Classic Wine and Food Pairings

Now that we have a basic understanding of wine pairings, let’s explore some classic combinations that never fail to impress.

1. Cabernet Sauvignon and Filet Mignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine with rich flavors of blackcurrant and cedar. Its boldness pairs perfectly with a juicy and tender filet mignon. The tannins in the wine help to cut through the richness of the meat, creating a heavenly combination.

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2. Chardonnay and Lobster

A buttery and oaky Chardonnay complements the delicate flavors of a butter-poached lobster. The creamy texture of the wine enhances the richness of the dish, creating a luxurious pairing that is hard to resist.

3. Pinot Noir and Roasted Duck

Pinot Noir, with its silky tannins and flavors of cherry and earth, is a perfect match for succulent roasted duck. The wine’s fruitiness and acidity balance out the richness of the meat, creating a combination that is both elegant and satisfying.

Exploring Unique Wine Pairings

While classic pairings are always a safe bet, it’s also exciting to explore unique combinations that push the boundaries. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

1. Riesling and Spicy Thai Curry

Contrary to popular belief, not all wine pairings with spicy food have to be red. A slightly sweet and aromatic Riesling can beautifully complement the complex flavors of a spicy Thai curry. The sweetness of the wine helps to tame the heat and elevate the flavors of the dish.

2. Rosé and Charcuterie

A refreshing and crisp rosé is the perfect companion for a charcuterie board filled with cured meats, cheeses, and olives. The wine’s acidity and fruity notes harmonize with the salty and savory flavors of the charcuterie, creating a delightful combination.

3. Malbec and Dark Chocolate

For those with a sweet tooth, a bold and velvety Malbec pairs wonderfully with a piece of dark chocolate. The wine’s notes of blackberry and cocoa complement the richness of the chocolate, resulting in a decadent and indulgent pairing.


When it comes to wine pairings, the possibilities are endless. It’s all about experimenting, trusting your palate, and discovering what works best for you. Whether you stick to classic combinations or venture into uncharted territory, the key is to enjoy the journey of exploring the diverse world of wine and food pairings. Cheers!

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John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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