Are you confused by all the wine pairing techniques? If so, we’re here to help you decide what food goes best with wine. Match citrus to citrus, sweet to sweet or take the edge off and pair sweet wine with spicy dishes. It’s ultimately down to your taste buds, but if you do want to add some flair to your dinner parties, follow our ultimate guide to matching food with wine.
The reds (dry to sweet)
When picking spices and seasonings as well as food and wine pairing, red wine prefers rich flavours. But, rosemary, juniper and sometimes even mint and lavender can also be paired nicely.
It’s tricky to pair desserts with red wine, as desserts tend to taste better with sweet wine as dry reds will usually taste bitter against the sugar. But, you’ll find that cheesecake and espresso tiramisu will go nicely with some of the sweeter, lighter reds.
Traditional in taste, this big red has bold flavours. Taste all the berry, currant, raspberry and blackberry jam notes with each sip. The Cabernet Sauvignon is best paired with foods that compliment strong flavours, as subtle flavourings will only be overpowered by the rich taste. Beef, lamb, rib eye or other red meats are good wine pairings. Enjoy with a meze of hard cheese such as cheddar, smoked, cured meats, as well as tomato pasta dishes, broccoli and even cheeseburgers.
Slightly sweeter than Cabernet Sauvignon, the Shiraz Cabernet has big flavours. Notes of juicy blackberries and toasty vanilla with its smooth, velvety finish is perfect for chilly evenings. Again, the Shiraz Cabernet is the perfect pairing for meals with big smokey flavours. Enjoy a glass or two with roasted duck, blue cheese, tomatoes or beef drizzled in peppercorn or mushroom sauce.
Traditional Malbec is dry with a jammy taste, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. This plush wine is full and gorgeous, bursting with characteristics of thick juicy blackberries, currants and caramel. You’ll notice a hint of toasted oak which means it’ll compliment smoked meats as well as caramelized onion. Rich mushroom pasta, red meats, pulled pork, bbq ribs, salsa and strong Stilton are great foods to pair with Malbec as the flavours are bold enough to not get overpowered.
This popular classic is rich in cherry, boysenberry and plum aromas. You’ll find merlot to be one of the sweeter red wines while still being typically mild. Enjoy the warm chocolatey, mocha finish with a smoky vanilla-oak aftertone. A medium merlot is the most versatile out of the reds and can be paired nicely with all red, smoked and cured meats. Merlot can also complement swordfish, grilled tuna, roasted chestnuts and all poultry.
The whites (dry to sweet)
When pairing food and wine, including herbs and spices, it’s best to follow these rules. If a glass of dry white is in your hand, sprinkle chives, tarragon, garlic, basil and sesame. For a sweeter glass choose a spice to contrast, like ginger or rosemary.
This is similar for desserts. A dry white will love tasty citrus notes like sharp sorbet or lemon meringue pie, while sweet wine is best matched with banana bread, apple pie and caramel.
This popular dry white wine is full of summer notes with fruity honeydew, melon, nectarine and peach. Hints of sharp lime balance the sweet pear. Fresh flavours like green vegetables, crisp apples, citrus fruits as well as potatoes, pasta and even chips all go well with Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy a chilled glass with roasted turkey, smoked fish like salmon, salty oysters and feta or goat's cheese salad.
Chardonnay has rich flavours and is easy to Enjoy. Savour its sweet vanilla aromas and honeyed peach and crisp apple notes. Fruity in taste, Chardonnay is the perfect addition to meals which include soft and hard cheese, chicken, pork, salmon, shellfish and potatoes. Enjoy chardonnay with creamy pastas, roasted veg and hearty lasagne.
Light-bodied and floral, Pinot Grigio is one of the sweeter white wines. You’ll be able to taste the tart green apple, fruity citrus and peachy undertones. Fish and white meats are great food pairings for Pinot Grigio. Enjoy with poultry, spicy pasta, cheese pizza and green veg.
Moscato is a fruity wine, full of peach and apricot notes and a crisp finish; perfect for a summer’s day. Pair this sweet wine with sweet treats like fresh fruit and sweet, sticky ribs. It is also good to enjoy with spicy foods as the sweetness tames the spice. Enjoy with soft cheese, smoked meats, tandori chicken, potatoes and light, flaky fish.
The pinks (dry to sweet)
Rosé wine is often fruity and sweeter than red and white. This is why, when choosing wine pairing food, a taming rosé can take on strong flavours. If seasoning, choose cumin, chilli, paprika or tarragon.
For those with a sweet tooth, you’re options are endless. Enjoy a glass paired with Eton Mess, strawberry trifle, apple crumble, caramel, sticky toffee pudding and currant buns.
Fruity White Zinfandel has delicious peach, pears, strawberries, pineapple notes, perfect for drinking over ice. Enjoy a glass with spicy tandoori Indian and Asian food, along with salty bacon, grapes, mild cheese and cured meat. Most seafood and shellfish can also be paired with the sweetness of White Zinfandel.
One of the sweetest wines on the market, Pink Moscato has similar flavorings to White Moscato but uses a variation of red fruit characteristics like cherry, raspberry and pomegranate. Both the Pink Moscato and Bubbly Pink Moscato add balance to spicy food. Enjoy with the salty taste of chinese takeaway, oysters and sushi. Creamy pasta dishes and sweet strawberry desserts pair nicely with Pink Moscato.