Wine and Food Pairing Guide

wine-and-food-pairingPairing wine with cheese and other foods is a fun concept, but comes with a lot of uncertainty.

Should you pair a spicy wine with spicy foods? Do citrus foods make dry wines too hard to handle? Is a dessert wine meant to be paired with a dessert or does it stand as a dessert all on its own?

Whether you’re out to dinner or having people over, being able to pair the right wine with food is a very useful skill.

Light Dry White

Light, crisp white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio lend themselves to lighter tasting foods. Fresh or roasted vegetables, fish and even cream and oil based sauces pair well with these wines. If you are looking for a wine to pair with pre-meal salad, look no further.

Sweet White

Sweeter white wines such as Riesling pair well with a lot of different things. You can pair them with soft cheeses, pastas with creamy sauces, breads and smoked meats. Sweet whites are great wines to have with finger foods, and meat and cheese platters.

Rich White

Rich wines such as Chardonnay are traditionally paired with grilled poultry but can also go well with cooked vegetables, shellfish and some breads and pastas. Chardonnay is a great addition to bread, oilve oil and sun-dried tomatoes.


Champagne is a wonderful wine to toast and celebrate with, but can also go well with a lot of dishes. Fish, fresh vegetables, most cheeses, nuts and eggs are some good choices. A light, cheesy omelette is amazing with a brut champagne.

Light Red

Light red wines such as Pinot Noir pair well with roasted vegetables, shellfish, poultry and beef. Filet Mignon is a common pairing that works well with most Pinot Noirs. Though those listed above are the best pairings, any meats usually lend themselves well to light red wines.


Red wines pair well with white and red meats as well as cheeses. If ever a wine was made for a meat and cheese plate, it was a red wine such as a Merlot. Using spicy, salty and smoked meats, along with hard cheeses, make for a great combination.

Dry Red

Cabernet Sauvignon, and other dry reds, are paired with a lot of the same things that other reds are such as meats and cheeses. Dry reds also pair very well with desserts. A good Cabernet Sauvignon can be paired with an entire meal that starts with meats and cheeses and ends with a chocolaty dessert.


Dessert wines are just that… dessert. While they are well paired with soft cheeses and smoked meats, dessert wines are not meant to be paired with desserts. They are meant to be desserts all their own.

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About the Author Harold Eaker