If you’re new to the world of food and wine pairing, chances are you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. From understanding the basics of pairings to becoming an expert at matching flavors, it can be hard to know where to begin.
To help get you started, here are thirteen food and wine pairing examples that can surely help you create the perfect dining experience.
What Is Food and Wine Pairing?
Food and wine pairing is the art of combining different types of food with various wines to bring out their unique flavors.
The most successful pairings are those that have complementary flavors, such as sweet and acidic or fatty and tannic.
For example, a Cabernet Sauvignon with its intense tannins pairs great with a steak, which is rich and fatty.
Or, a sweet and fruity white wine like Riesling complements dishes with a spicy kick, such as Pad Thai or curry, making them even more flavorful.
For connoisseurs, food and wine pairings can add a whole new level of sophistication to the dining experience.
But for the vast majority of us, it’s about finding the right combination of flavors that enhances and complements each other. In fact, we’ll always need to have something to drink with our meals, so why not choose the right wine to make it even more enjoyable?
Why Food and Wine Pairing Is Important?
The art of food and wine pairing is an essential part of the culinary experience. By understanding how to pair food with different wines, you can make a dish stand out and create something truly unique.
Food and wine pairing helps bring out the subtle flavors in a dish as well as balance them out for a more enjoyable dining experience.
When done correctly, it can even elevate the overall taste and dining experience, making it more enjoyable for diners.
For instance, a heavy red wine can help bring out the meats’ rich flavor, while a crisp white can balance out the acidity of a tomato-based dish.
These flavors, when paired correctly, can be more delicious and memorable than if you had just drunk the wine alone.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to be an expert in order to enjoy food and wine pairing. In the beginning, stick with the basics: white wine for seafood and light dishes, red wine for heartier fare, and sweet wines for dessert.
As you gain more experience, you can explore different combinations of flavors and find the perfect food and wine pairing for your tastes.
13 Most-Asked-For Food and Wine Pairing Examples to Get You Started
We don’t typically have wine every single meal, but when we do it’s important to pick the right one. Here are thirteen classic-yet-popular food and wine pairings you should start with.
And the best part of this list is that it includes food that you can make at home, maybe on some special occasions, without needing to break the bank.
Combined with the right wine, you can create a home-cooked meal that’s as memorable and delicious as a high-end restaurant.
1. Porchetta Wine Pairing
Porchetta is a classic Italian dish of pork loin, stuffed with herbs and spices. This dish is a popular choice for pairing with a full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, or Syrah.
The tannins in these wines help to cut through the fat of the pork, bring out its spices, and enhance the rich flavors of the dish.
2. Short Rib Wine Pairing
Another popular dish people always want to pair wine with is short rib with polenta. This hearty meal goes well with a bold red wine, such as a Barbera, Chianti, or Pinot Noir.
The earthy notes of these wines will stand up to the richness of the short ribs and pair perfectly with the creamy polenta.
3. Beef Stroganoff Wine Pairing
Talking about beef dishes, one of my all-time favorites is beef stroganoff. This classic Russian dish of sautéed beef and mushrooms served over egg noodles works great with a big and bold red like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
These wines will bring out the savory notes of the beef, as well as complement the earthiness of the mushrooms.
4. Wine Pairing with Beef Bourguignon
This French classic of beef braised in red wine is always a crowd-pleaser. The best type of wine to pair with this dish is the same one used to make it – Pinot Noir or Burgundy.
Since these wines already have the flavor profile of beef bourguignon, you’ll get an even more intense and delicious taste when pairing them together.
5. Wine Pairing with Chicken Marsala
When it comes to chicken, one of the best pieces of advice I got from a chef cook was to pair it with a Marsala wine (you notice the name of the dish?)
You don’t have to be a professional cook to wow your guests – just pair chicken marsala with a good Marsala wine and you are golden!
The sweetness and richness of this fortified wine work really well with the savory flavors of chicken marsala, enhancing the umami notes of the mushrooms and creating a truly memorable dining experience.
6. Best Wine with Chicken Parm
Chicken parm (or chicken parmesan) is another classic Italian-American dish. The best way to serve this delicious entree is with a glass of Chianti, which will bring out the flavors of the tomatoes and parmesan cheese while balancing out the richness of the chicken.
7. Wine Pairing with Fajitas
I didn’t eat any fajitas until I went to college where my roommate used to make them for us on a regular basis. Now I’m hooked! Well, at that time, we didn’t have money to spend on wine, so we used to pair it with beer.
But then, when it comes to pairing wine with this spicy Mexican dish, Riesling is a perfect choice. The slight sweetness of this white wine will help balance out the heat from the peppers and enhance the spices in the fajitas.
8. Chilean Sea Bass Wine Pairing
Although this dish is definitely not something we cook regularly at home, it’s always a great option if you are looking to impress someone special.
The best wine to pair with Chilean sea bass is a buttery and oaky Chardonnay, which will bring out the delicate flavors of the fish while also helping to cut through the richness of the dish.
9. Clam Chowder Wine Pairing
Everybody has their own comfort food – the food they can go back to even when they are feeling down. For me, it’s clam chowder.
This creamy and hearty soup pairs well with a light white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The acidity in these wines will help to cut through the richness of the dish and bring out all the flavors of the clams and potatoes.
10. Steak and Lobster Wine Pairing
Last but not least, let’s talk about the ultimate dinner date combo – steak and lobster. This classic meal is best enjoyed with a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
The tannins of these wines will stand up to the richness of the steak while also bringing out the subtle sweetness of the lobster.
11. Port Salut Cheese Wine Pairing
Port Salut is a semi-soft French cheese made from cow’s milk. The taste of this cheese is mild and creamy, and it pairs really well with sweet wines like Port or Sauternes.
These dessert wines will bring out the sweetness of the cheese while creating an indulgent and flavorful combination.
One time I joined a party where they served Port Salut cheese with Sauternes and needless to say, it was a huge hit!
12. Comte Cheese Wine Pairing
Comte cheese is not as popular as Port Salut, but it’s still a delicious French cheese. This pungent and nutty cheese goes surprisingly well with light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.
The delicate flavors of these wines will help to bring out the complexity of Comte while also adding an extra layer of flavor to the bite.
13. Cheesecake Wine Pairing
Cheesecake, anyone? Sure, we all love this classic dessert! To make it even more special, serve it with a glass of Moscato.
The light and fruity sweetness of this Italian wine will pair wonderfully with the creamy texture of the cheesecake. It’s an indulgent combination that your guests won’t forget anytime soon!
To Sum Up
You know you don’t have to be a professional sommelier to be able to pair wine with your favorite dishes.
All you need is a bit of knowledge about the different types of wines and some inspiration to get started.
Once you have that, you’ll be able to create truly memorable food and wine experiences for yourself, your family, and your guests.