Food and Wine Matching 101
5 STEPS TO FOOD AND WINE MATCHING
Impress your guests with your pairing prowess for your next dinner party with this great food and wine matching guide. To get you started, we put together this short video by our Wine Expert and Tasting Panellist Adam Walls which will give you the confidence to match food and wine at home or eating out. And read more helpful tips below.
ACID + ACID
If your food is high in acid – think tomatoes or a squeeze of lemon – you’ll need a wine that’s high in acid too. Riesling is the most obvious white choice, while Italian style reds will balance tomatoes and cut through olive oil.
SAME + SAME
Brings together complementary flavours – light-bodied wine + light dish, full-bodied wine + heavy dish and so on. Also pair similar textures and flavours – earthy wine + earthy food, citrussy wine + fruity dish, etc.
OPPOSITE + OPPOSITE
Try a fresh, crisp Chardonnay with a creamy pasta dish, or consider a clean, dry Riesling with a spicy chilli-filled Asian dish. Or if you’re serving a dish with very simple flavours, a complex wine can enhance the experience.
HEAT + SWEET
For spicy dishes, red wines high in alcohol and tannins are a no-no as the alcohol intensifies the heat. Choose sweeter whites such as off-dry Gewürztraminers or Rieslings.
SWEET + SWEETER
If your dish is sweet, the wine should be sweeter. Think milk and dark chocolate desserts with Tawnies and Muscats, while white chocolate pairs with Prosecco and lemon flavours are perfect with Botrytis Riesling.
TANNINS + FAT
This pairing is all about balance. Fat serves to even out tannin intensity, resulting in a smoother, softer red.
Try these suggestions to match with your favourite wine styles.
Fuller bodied red wines
Wines: Cabernet, Shiraz, Malbec, Durif
Food matches: Their robust structure makes these an ideal partner to hard cheeses and fattier cuts of meat.
Medium bodied red wines
Wines: Merlot & Blends, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese
Food matches: To match the moderate density tannins go for slow-cooked or rustic style dishes like pasta, Mediterranean fare, tapas.
Lighter bodied red wines
Wines: Pinot Noir, Grenache & blends, Nero d’Avola
Food matches: With the finer styles, go for gamey, earthy foods like duck, while styles with higher acidity can take richer, spicier dishes.
Wines: Dry, off-dry
Food matches: For drier styles, go for salads, charcuterie and antipasto. For off-dry styles, try spicy food or fruit-based dishes.
Fuller-bodied white wines
Wines: Chardonnay, Verdelho, Viognier
Food matches: A richer texture makes these fuller varieties a great match for poultry, pork, rich seafood, cream or cheese-based pastas.
Medium-bodied white wines
Wines: Arneis, Pinot G, Fiano, Vermentino, Marsanne
Food matches: Zesty acidity makes these styles perfect with lighter flavours like tapas,
pasta and salads.
Lighter-bodied and aromatic white wines
Wines: Sauvignon Blanc & blends, Semillon, Riesling, Gewürztraminer
Food matches: The high acidity inherent in these varieties makes them ideal for fried food, raw seafood, delicate Asian dishes, and simple Mediterranean food.
Champagne, Sparkling and Prosecco
Wines: Champagne, Sparkling & Prosecco
Food matches: With the richer styles, choose seafood and richer canapés, while lighter styles suit antipasto, fried foods and fresh fruit.
Dessert and Fortified wines
Wines: Botrytis, Tawny, Muscat/Topaque
Food matches: Botrytis: Cream or fruit-based desserts, pâté. Tawny: Cheddar & blue cheese, dried & fresh fruit, nuts. Topaque: Caramel-based desserts. Muscat: Chocolate-based desserts, dates & dried figs, ice cream.
Feeling more confident? Want to take your wine knowledge to the next level? We’ve got you covered. Check out more of our Wine 101 pieces here or watch our short video series; Adam Wall’s Wine Hints and Tips. Cheers!