Wine and food pairing can feel intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be. It helps if you think of wine as an additional condiment. As any other condiment, the purpose of wine is to complement or contrast, and in so doing, to highlight some special aspect of the dish, whilst perhaps toning down other characteristics.
Embedded in the page below you will find some WineScribble video page links that go to transcripts of the WineScribble YouTube videos. Click through to watch the videos of the wine and food pairings. Enjoy!
- Wine and Food Pairing Guide
- Pairing Wine and Cheese
- Wine and Food Pairing with Salmon
- Wine and Food Pairing with Lamb
- Food and Wine – Pairing with Squid
- Wine Pairing with Salad
- Wine and Food Matching with Pork Dishes
- Picnic Wines
Wine and Food Pairing Guide
Pairing Wine and Cheese
We don’t think there are too many surprises in our guide to pairing wine and cheese. The list below mainly obeys the principle: “if it grows together, it goes together”. Cheese and wine is like many other food and wine pairings, there are so many types of cheese from all around the world. And the cheeses all have unique characteristics in terms of fat, flavour and texture. Use our basic pairing rules to try out your own wine and cheese pairings at home.
Wine and cheese pairing basics:
- “If it grows together, it goes together.”
- Fatty cheese prefers a tannic wine
- Acidic/salty cheese prefers an acidic wine
|Brie||Fruity Pinot Noir or Oaked Chardonnay|
|Camembert||Champagne or Unoaked Chardonnay|
|Cheddar||Gewürztraminer or Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Edam||Pinot Blanc or Zinfandel|
|Feta||Maratheftiko or Pinot Gris|
|Goat Cheese (Chèvre)||Chenin Blanc or Malbec|
|Gorgonzola||Barolo Classico or Chianti|
|Gouda||Merlot or Cabernet Franc|
|Halloumi||Riesling or Morokanella|
|Jarlsberg||Cabernet Sauvignon or Viognier|
|Mozzarella||Sangiovese or Pinot Grigio|
|Parmesan||Valpolicella or Lambrusco|
|Stilton||Shiraz or Muscat|
- Vinepair: An illustrated guide to pairing wine and cheese
- Wine Enthusiast: The simple guide to wine and cheese pairing
- Jordan Winery: The Ultimate Shopping List of Cheeses for Wine Lovers
- Decanter: Cheese and wine
- Eataly: How to Pair Wine and Cheese
Wine and Food Pairing with Salmon
Should pink wines go with pink meats? It is not quite that simple. As with all things wine and food related, the preparation of the meat and the strongest flavour or seasoning on the plate will actually guide the pairing.
Sure, something nice and simple like a smoked salmon bagel with crème fraîche would taste amazing with a sparkling dry rosé. However, as you move into the more robust dishes, the crisp whites and light reds will be your best tasting partners.
Wine and salmon pairing basics:
- Simple salmon dishes work well with sparkling wines, especially rosé
- Salmon salads usually require an acidic white to balance the salad dressing
- Salmon meals that have been seared or blackened will appreciate a light fruity red
Wine and Food Pairing with Lamb
Lamb dishes are one of the most wine-friendly types of meal. Lamb is equally at home with new world and old world style reds. Typically we would not serve a white wine with a lamb meal, they are simply not robust enough and would disappear under the weight of the heavy meat and rich sauces. However, a traditional Bordeaux blend is perfect for serving with most styles of European-style lamb meal.
The two main factors for choosing a wine pairing for a lamb meal are the age of the lamb, and the length of cooking time.
Wine and lamb pairing basics:
- Smaller cuts of quickly cooked young lamb pair well with medium-bodied European red wines or even Sparkling Rosé.
- Older, fattier cuts of lamb that are slow roasted are better paired with heavy tannic red wines.
- Exotic lamb dishes such as Lamb Tagine or even a Rogan Josh would benefit from an aromatic white such as a Gewürztraminer.
Food and Wine – Pairing with Squid
A simple well cooked squid meal should be buttery soft, melt-in-the-mouth delicious all on its own, and is typically paired with something fun and bubbly like a Prosecco or Cava. However, squid is one of those seafood meals that lends itself so well to mix and match seasonings and rich flavours, and these awesome flavours may overwhelm a light, fresh bubbly wine.
When pairing a squid meal, generally we will consider both the method of cooking, and any rich accompanying sauces that are to be served alongside the dish. Garlic is a favourite. Cayenne and Chilli flakes another. For these kinds of kicks we recommend a more fuller bodied white wine such as a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling. Allow the chart below to guide you.
Wine and squid pairing basics:
- Simple squid dishes work well with sparkling wines such as prosecco or cava.
- Squid meals usually require an acidic white wine to offset that natural seafood saltiness
- Squid meals with rich seasoning such as chilli or garlic will appreciate a medium or full bodied aromatic white wine.
Wine Pairing with Salad
Living in the Mediterranean means there are loads of tasty salads happening at lunch times. It can be tricky to find the right wine to pair with a salad. After all, what wine goes with lettuce, right? Well, not so fast! It is not actually about the lettuce at all.
The main thing to remember when pairing wine with salad is that the vinegar-based dressings will have the biggest impact on your choice of wine. The basic rule is that acid needs acid. So for a high acidity dressing, something vinegar based, you will need a crisp acidic white to balance things out.
The second challenge can be tomatoes. Typically acidic white wines and tomatoes do not play well together. In this case, we would usually choose an oil-based dressing and add a slightly sweeter wine, something off-dry.
Wine and salad pairing basics:
- Acidic vinegear based dressings need an acidic white wine to balance things out.
- Salads with a lot of tomatoes usually require an off-dry white for a little sweetness.
- Fruit salads love muscat or moscato wines. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed!
Wine and Food Matching with Pork Dishes
Again, as with all great advice, the rules for matching wine and food, specifically for pork dishes is simple: it depends upon how it was cooked. As with many great protein bases, pork is very flexible. Although it has a character of its own, it is usually not enough to shine through both the cooking method and the side dishes or condiments. So, our pork and wine pairing guide is again based upon a list of traditional dishes.
As you can see in the table below, the choices are generally medium or aromatic white options, with a light bodied red wine hiding in the middle. Something delicate such as simple grilled pork chop will typically pair well with a medium white wine. A dish that is more robust, sweet and sticky such a a slow roasted pork belly will appreciate a light-bodied red, e.g. Beaujolais.
Wine and pork pairing basics:
- The pork in a meal is commonly used to soak up or carry other flavours and sauces, so it is not typical to match wine and pork, rather to match wine and pork preparation or wine and pork accompaniment.
- Pork dishes commonly prefer a medium or aromatic white, but a light-bodied red can be substituted to taste.
When the summer comes, it is natural to start thinking about picnics and picnic wines. But, there are so many possible wine and food pairings that could happen on the picnic blanket.
Enjoy your picnic, and remember the picnic wine basics below to keep yourself cool in the summer and cool on the picnic blanket!
Picnic wine basics:
- Try to avoid any wine and food pairing that will require the perfect wine serving temperature, when you are out in the elements anything might happen.
- Picnics can be highly varied in style and taste, so to cover most bases we recommend a light red wine such as a Pinot Noir, or a deeper Rosé wine which can match meats, seafood, and sandwiches.
Wine and food pairing can seem tricky. However, the process becomes demystified when you start thinking of wine as another condiment. It can complement or contrast, but which ever way it relates to food, it must elevate it.
Armed with this quick overview of simple facts about matching wine and food, you should now be able to confidently pick a bottle to accompany your entree with relative ease, by asking yourself some simple, practical questions.