How to pair food and wine, a quick guide

Pairing food with wine doesn’t have to be hard. Then again, it’s not so easy. It’s kind of like dating—-just because she’s hot (say a spicy cabernet), doesn’t necessarily mean she’s going to pair with you (say, a chicken). The piece of chicken wouldn’t be able to combat the over-zealous cabernet. However, tame that cabernet down a bit, to say a Pinot Noir or Merlot, and you’re going to have a much better fit. Or man up a bit to a New York strip and it should hold well against the cabernet.

So how do you know when the traits of the wine are going to match up with what you’re eating? Here’s a quick guide to help pair up food with wine (don’t you wish it was this easy with girls? ;)

Dish Wine
Steak Cabernet Sauvignon
Chicken Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
Lamb Red Bordeaux
Grilled fish Vinho Verde
Seafood Chardonnay, sparkling wine, Pinot Gris
Salmon Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris
Oysters Chardonnay (notably Chablis)
Pizza Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz
BBQ Bordeaux, Zinfandel (with sausage), Chardonnay, Syrah/Shiraz (with pork)
Chinese, Thai, Indian (spicy) Reisling, sparkling wine
Sushi sparkling wine
Vegetarian Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir
Eggs, french toast (brunch) sparkling wine
Desserts Merlot and Cabernet (with chocolate), Dessert wines, Riesling, Sparkling wine (with angel food cake)

So what kind of wine or food are you? What pairings do you like best?

I’ll start it off… Filet Mignon and Syrah, mmm…

4 comments

bootstrapper's picture
bootstrapper wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

I’d recommend Sangiovese or Nebbiolo with spaghetti, chicken parmesan, or pizza. In my humble opinion, Italian wines were designed to be enjoyed with food and as a result they nicely complement (without overpowering) most traditional dishes.
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Favorite: David Bruce 2003 Estate Pinot Noir

pmireur wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

I’d like to add a personal summertime favorite of mine. Moscato is all over Italy and can be enjoyed as a light ‘snack’ of a drink in a variety of situations. Although it’s mainly a dessert wine, I really enjoy it with a group of friends on a hot summer’s day.

ted's picture
ted wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

Great ideas guys! I totally agree about the Italian wines. We’re hoping to review more italian wines soon and will certainly be updating this quick guide with your ideas and many more. Also stay tuned, we’re putting together a “unique pairings” guide that fits wine with unusual foods.

Keep posting your favorite pairings, these are great!

jon's picture
jon wrote 5 years 9 weeks ago

I discovered moscato last year at Perbacco in SF’s financial district. It offered a whole new array of flavors that were unique and pleasant. Since then, I have definitely been on the lookout for moscato. I think I saw a bottle at Whole Foods on Saturday, so it meets the criteria for 2 Guys Uncorked. Just give us a little bit of time to put together a Northern Italian white wine week.

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