Wine & Food Pairing

close up image of pasta bowl and glass of red wine.

When it comes to wine and food pairing, there is some science to it and a few guidelines will put you on the right track. Beyond that, it’s all about what you like. And while we all strive for that perfect combination that can really elevate the wine and food, to get to that point may take a bit of trial and error. It’s all in the name of learning and improving. So, have fun with it and try the wine and food that are meant to pair together right along with those that aren’t. Determine for yourself!

Jump to pairings for these wines:
Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz

Riesling Wine & Food Pairing

This wine is very unique. I always thought of Riesling as a sweet, sipping wine. How wrong I was. While any Riesling is easy to sip on its own, it’s truly a great food wine! We had it one Thanksgiving with our roasted turkey and it was fabulous. Keep in mind a slightly sweet wine pairs nicely with spicy food too.

Food Pairings:

Dry Rieslings (Kabinett):
  • Seafood
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Veggies
Off-Dry / Semi-Sweet Rieslings (Spatlese):
  • Spicy dishes (the sweetness in the wine, tones down the heat of the dish)
  • Seafood (lobster, scallops, fish)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Smoked meat
Sweet (Auslese):

The Auslese pairs well with richer dishes. Keep the preparation in mind as it pairs well with savory and sweet (ie. duck breast and fruit sauce) or savory and spicy (ie. Indian or Thai).

  • Crab
  • Foie Gras
  • Spicy Indian food
  • Thai curry
  • Duck breast with fruit sauce
  • Venison
Super Sweet (Beerenauslese And Trockenbeerenauslese):

These are very sweet wines and are considered dessert wines. As you may have guessed, they go well with any sweet dessert. They also pair nicely with blue cheese.

Cheese Pairings:

  • Goat Cheese
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Havarti

Sauvignon Blanc Wine & Food Pairing

Sauvignon Blanc is a great refreshing wine, especially on a hot, sunny day. It pairs well with fish, shellfish, and white meat.

Food Pairings:

  • Seafood (white fish, shrimp, lobster, scallops, oysters)
  • White meat (chicken, pork)
  • Green vegetables (asparagus, artichokes, salads)

Cheese Pairings:

  • Asiago
  • Camembert
  • Colby
  • Fete
  • Goat
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Monterey Jack
  • Provolone
  • Roquefort
  • Sharp Cheddar

Chardonnay Wine & Food Pairing

Chardonnay is a great food wine that matches well with white meats and mild cheeses. An oaked Chardonnay will pair better with pork, mushrooms, and creamy sauces. While the unoaked Chardonnay will pair better with Oysters, vegetables, and simply prepared foods. They will both pair easily with fish, shrimp, and poultry.

Taste and compare Chardonnay right along with a few food pairing options. Notice how the flavors interact with the oaked and unoaked Chardonnay. Learn more with this comprehensive pairing do’s and don’ts: How to Pair Chardonnay Like a Sommelier.

Food Pairings:

  • Oaked Chardonnay is best with:
    • Fish (salmon, white fish, shrimp, scallops)
    • Roast chicken, turkey, pork
    • Mushrooms
    • Creamy sauces
    • Earthy food flavors
  • Unoaked Chardonnay is best with:
    • Fish (white fish, shrimp, scallops, oysters)
    • White meat (chicken, turkey)
    • Squash, Zucchini, Asparagus
    • Simply prepared foods

Cheese Pairings:

  • Brie
  • Goat Cheese
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Provolone
  • Swiss

Pinot Noir Wine & Food Pairing

Pinot Noir goes with practically everything. It’s a red that is very versatile and crosses between fish, beef, and poultry easily.

Food Pairings:

  • Fish (salmon is a fantastic pairing, and also goes with white fish easily.)
  • Meat (steak, chicken, duck, burgers)
  • Grilled & roasted veggies

Cheese Pairings:

  • Gruyere
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Swiss

Merlot Wine and Food Pairing

Merlot is a great food wine and pairs well with a variety of red and white meats, red sauces and earthy flavors like mushrooms.

Food Pairings:

  • Red meats: steak, short ribs, lamb, cured meats
  • White meats: chicken, pork
  • Red sauces and pasta
  • Mushrooms
  • Root vegetables: potatoes, carrots
  • Dark chocolate

Cheese Pairings:

  • Camembert
  • Parmesan
  • Gruyere
  • Smoked Cheddar
  • Blue Cheese
  • Gorgonzola

Cabernet Sauvignon Wine & Food Pairing

Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with fatty meats. The dry tannins wash the fattiness right down, providing a nice balance.

Food Pairings:

  • Red meats: steak, lamb, burger
  • White meats: pork, duck
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Dark chocolate

Cheese Pairings:

  • Blue Cheese
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Mild, Sharp, or Smoked Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda
  • Havarti

Syrah/Shiraz Wine and Food Pairing

Syrah pairs well with fatty meats. The dry tannins wash the fattiness right down, providing a nice balance.

Food Pairings:

  • Red meats: steak, lamb, burger, cured meats
  • White meats: BBQ pork, duck
  • Pepper
  • Tomato
  • Mushroom
  • Eggplant

Cheese Pairings:

  • Asiago
  • Sharp or Smoked Cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Manchego
  • Monterey Jack
  • Muenster