Wine School

The Pairing Guide

Feeling overwhelmed when it comes to pairing wine with food? Follow our basic guidelines and you can easily pair like a sommelier. Also read more expert advice in our Pair Like A Somm series by Chris Hoel.


Red Wines


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Cabernet Sauvignon: full-bodied, medium acidity, medium tannins, common flavor notes of dark fruits.

  •    • Beef dishes such as porterhouse steak, braised short ribs, blue cheese burger
  •    • Sirloin
  •    • Aged cheddar cheese

Pinot Noir: light-bodied, medium to high acidity, medium to low tannins, common flavors notes of cranberry, cherry, spice, and cola.

  •    • Herb roasted pork loin
  •    • Glazed salmon
  •    • Duck with port wine reduction sauce
  •    • Cheese such as Gruyere and Brie
  •    • Mushrooms


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Merlotmedium-bodied, medium acidity, medium tannins, common flavor notes of berries, cherry, and chocolate.

  •    • Roasted rack of lamb with an herb coating
  •    • Lasagna
  •    • Grilled vegetables
  •    • Cheeseburgers
  •    • Cheese such as Fontina and Gouda

Bordeauxmedium to full-bodied, medium to high acidity, medium to high tannins, common flavor notes of cherry, cassis, and licorice.

  •    •Lamb dishes
  •    •Pulled pork
  •    •Beef burgers with blue cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon
  •    •Flank steak with red wine reduction
  •    •Cheese such as Camembert, Brie, and Roquefort


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Tempranillo: medium-bodied, medium to low acidity, medium to high tannins, common flavor notes of cherry and leather.

  •    • Meat or seafood-based paella
  •    • Spanish dishes - especially chorizo-based
  •    • Ribs with a mild spice rub
  •    • Cheese such as Manchego and Roncal

Malbecmedium to full-bodied, medium acidity, medium tannins, common flavor notes of cherry and plum.

  •    • Spicy lamb curry
  •    • Grilled chicken with barbecue sauce
  •    • Duck with a jam glaze (fig/huckleberry)
  •    • Pork dishes
  •    • Cheese such as Manchego and Bleu cheese


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Sangiovese: medium-bodied, high acidity, high tannins, common flavor notes of cherry, plum, strawberry.

  •    • Mushroom risotto
  •    • Spaghetti and meatballs
  •    • Roasted pork
  •    • Grilled vegetables
  •    • Cheese such as Ricotta, aged Asiago, and Parmesan


White Wines


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Sauvignon Blancmedium-bodied, medium to high acidity, common flavor notes of citrus, apple, and tropical fruit.

  •    • Asian dishes such as fish cakes or shrimp
  •    • Chicken dishes
  •    • Pork dishes
  •    • Fresh herbs
  •    • Cheese such as sharp Cheddar, Brie, and Goat cheese

Pinot Grigio: medium to full-bodied, medium to high acidity, common flavor notes of citrus and apple.

  •    • Pesto-based dishes
  •    • Seafood such as cod, clams, oysters, and mussels
  •    • Chicken dishes
  •    • Cheese such as Gruyere, Ricotta, and Asiago


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Chardonnayfull-bodied, medium to high acidity, common flavor notes of citrus, apple, melon, and peach.

  •    • Creamy soups
  •    • Herb-roasted poultry dishes
  •    • Turkey dishes
  •    • Seafood such as salmon, lobster, and crab
  •    • Cheese such as Fontina and blue cheese

Moscatolight-bodied, medium acidity, common flavor notes of peach, citrus, and apricot.

  •    • Pie such as berry and apple
  •    • Asian dishes with spice
  •    • Mexican dishes with spice
  •    • Cheese such as Gorgonzola and Valdeon


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Rieslinglight-bodied, high acidity, flavor notes of citrus, peaches, and honey.

  •    • Spicy Asian dishes
  •    • Indian dishes
  •    • Lighter proteins and seafood with buttery sauces and earthy vegetables
  •    • Cheese such as Gouda, Cotija, and Colby


Rosé


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Light to medium-bodied, medium to high acidity, common flavor notes of strawberry, citrus, and peach.

  •    • Fruit tarts
  •    • Curry dishes
  •    • Pasta and rice dishes with seafood
  •    • Cheese such as Camembert and Brie


Sparkling


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Light to medium-bodied, high acidity, common flavor notes of citrus, apple, flower, and pear.

  •    • Seafood such as oysters, shrimp, calamari, and smoked salmon
  •    • Deep-fried foods
  •    • Asian dishes
  •    • Popcorn or potato chips
  •    • Cheese such as Manchego and Brie