An Easy Guide to Food And Wine Pairing

By Dumb Little Man

November 20, 2019

guide to food and wine pairing

There are no hard and fast rules in pairing food and wine. Nevertheless, it’s easy to get confused about how to create the perfect pairing of food elements with certain wine flavor notes. This easy guide to food and wine pairing will not only give you great wine like those you can purchase online from, but we’ll give you a host of items that pair beautifully with it.

Cabernet Sauvignon

guide to food and wine pairing cabernet sauvignon

This wine is one of the most popular in the United States for its bold fruity and tannin flavors. It pairs well with very heavy and filling meals, but there is also a much lighter side that goes excellently with cheeses.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – tomato, black cherries, broccoli
  • Cheese and Nuts – walnuts, Gorgonzola, cheddar
  • Desserts – bittersweet chocolate
  • Herbs and Spices – juniper, rosemary, lavender
  • Meat and Poultry – beef stew, rib eye
  • Sauces – tomato, brown
  • Seafood – grilled ahi tuna

See Also: 8 Straight Benefits of Red Wine


guide to food and wine pairing chardonnay

Chardonnay comes in several styles, and each style pairs differently with food. However, this wine features a sensual body and decadents that stands up to most flavor combinations and dishes where other wines may not. It has excellent acidity, and this helps cut through richer dishes.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Mango, squash, apple, potato
  • Cheese and Nuts – Unoaked Chardonnay goes best with semi-soft and mild cheeses, Oaky Chardonnay goes well with Havarti, Asiago, or Stilton. Both go well with almost all toasted nuts and almonds
  • Desserts – Vanilla pudding, banana bread
  • Herbs and Spices – sesame, tarragon, basil
  • Meat and Poultry – Chicken, veal, pork
  • Sauces – pesto, cream sauces
  • Seafood – crab, shrimp, lobster


In the United States, Riesling is an extremely sweet wine, but European Riesling is minimally sweet. It has an excellent balance of sweetness and acidity that makes it great for food and wine pairings. It does wonderfully at balancing out spicy foods as well.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Chili peppers, apricots, pears
  • Cheese and Nuts – Gouda, Havarti, candied pecans or walnuts
  • Desserts – Caramel sauce, apple pie
  • Herbs and Spices – ginger, rosemary, Indian or Thai spices
  • Meat and Poultry – Duck, smoked sausage Foie Gras
  • Sauces – Chutney, BBQ, spicy
  • Seafood – Trout, sea bass

Pinot Noir

This odd wine can have some truly bizarre combinations that seem to work very well. You can find cherry listed alongside mushroom or “forest floor” flavors and get a wonderfully fragrant and tasty wine. It’s a lighter body wine that can withstand some meat dishes.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Figs, mushrooms, dried fruits, strawberries
  • Cheese and Nuts – Brie, goat cheese, walnuts
  • Desserts – white chocolate, creme brulee
  • Herbs and Spices – Nutmeg, cinnamon, truffle, clove
  • Meat and Poultry – Sausage, lamb, chicken, filet mignon
  • Sauces – light to medium red sauce, mushroom sauce
  • Seafood – Salmon, ahi tuna

Sauvignon Blanc

guide to food and wine pairing sauvignon blanc

This lighter, crisp white wine has a very high acidity level with a lot of citrus notes. It’s excellent for pairing with lighter but flavorful dishes. The wine’s herbaceous taste can enhance any herbs in the dish as well. This makes it a popular dinner wine.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Green apple, citrus, asparagus
  • Cheese and Nuts – Goat cheese, feta, pine nuts
  • Desserts – Key lime pie, sorbet, mango, meringue
  • Herbs and Spices – Tarragon, chives, cilantro
  • Meat and Poultry – Turkey, chicken, pork
  • Sauces – Light cream sauces, citrus sauces
  • Seafood – Oysters, shrimp, lobster, sushi, fatty white fish


guide to food and wine pairing merlot

Although Merlot’s popularity has gone down in recent years, it’s a staple in the wine industry. You’ll get berry and grape flavoring with a beautiful eucalyptus note. You can use this note to play of elements of your dish.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Tomatoes, caramelized onions, plums
  • Cheese and Nuts – Pecorino-Romano, Parmesan, walnuts, chestnuts
  • Desserts – Berries, dark chocolate, fondue
  • Herbs and Spices – Juniper, rosemary, mint
  • Meat and Poultry – Steak, grilled meat
  • Sauces – Bearnaise, bolognese
  • Seafood – Ahi tuna, grilled meatier fish


Syrah is very difficult to pin down, but it’s popular around the world. One of the biggest selling points is that it have a very smooth but peppery finish. There are usually enough fruit notes to balance the spice, and it goes great with a variety of herbs.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Stewed tomatoes, currants, beets
  • Cheese and Nuts – Roquefort, sharp cheddar, walnuts, hazelnuts
  • Desserts – Rhubarb pie, black forest cake, coffee-based desserts
  • Herbs and Spices – Sage, oregano
  • Meat and Poultry – Pepperoni, roasted meat, braised pork shoulder, spicy sausage
  • Sauces – Heavy red sauces, BBQ
  • Seafood Salmon, ahi tuna

See Also: 5 Best Wine Regions To Visit Before You Die

With this guide to food and wine pairing, you should now be confident enough to create some truly fantastic dishes. Experiment, mix and match, and find your new go-to food and wine pairing!

Dumb Little Man

At Dumb Little Man, we strive to provide quality content with accuracy for our readers. We bring you the most up-to-date news and our articles are fact-checked before publishing.

Top ForexBrokers

Avatrade 5 stars (Read Review)
Securely through interactive Broker’s website

Active and Global Traders

Avatrade 5 stars (Read Review)
Securely through interactive Broker’s website

Active and Global Traders

Avatrade 5 stars (Read Review)
Securely through interactive Broker’s website

Active and Global Traders