While pairing food and wine is largely a matter of individual preference, there are some general recommendations that will enable you to make wine choices that will enhance the flavors of different meals.
Listed below are several common types of wines, along with some foods that pair well with each one.
White Wine Grapes
Chardonnay – Available as a still or sparkling wine, Chardonnay has rich citrus flavors. It’s a good choice to have with fish and grilled chicken.
Riesling – Much lighter than Chardonnay wines, Riesling provides a fresh taste and often a light apple aroma. It goes well with pork, chicken, and fish dishes. It’s also a great choice for spicy dishes, as its sweetness offsets the spiciness of food.
Sauvignon Blanc – Also lighter than Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc’s dominating fruit flavors often range from green apples and pears to more tropical fruits such as mangos and melons. This is a great selection for seafood and poultry dishes, as well as salads.
Red Wine Grapes
Cabernet Sauvignon – This full-bodied red wine has rich currant flavors and is best when enjoyed with a simple red meat dish.
Merlot – Merlot is a very soft red wine with black cherry and herbal flavors that appeal to many palates. Being a lighter-bodied wine, it pairs well with many foods, including roast turkey, chicken, and hearty casseroles.
Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a delicate red wine with fresh fruity aromas, which can include cherries and strawberries. It goes nicely with grilled chicken, lamb, and salmon dishes.
Shiraz – This is a very hearty and spicy red wine, with strong black fruit flavors and black pepper overtones. Its strong characteristics make it a great match for red meat dishes like steak and beef, as well as chicken dishes that have a rich sauce.
Zinfandel – Zinfandel contains a slight hint of spice with primary notes that can include cherries, raspberries, and licorice. It’s a medium to full-bodied red wine that’s wonderful with tomato-based meals such as spaghetti or pizza.
What About Cheese and Dessert?
Cheese – Typically, full-bodied wines go well with hard cheeses – for example, a Shiraz with cheddar. Dry white wines, such as Riesling, pair nicely with soft
Dessert – Sweet wines are always a good choice, as long as the dessert isn’t as sweet as, or sweeter than, the wine itself.
Use these recommendations for general guidance to point you in the right direction but rely on your own tastes to determine what you enjoy having together. Have fun exploring and honing in on what you like best!
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