A Guide On How to Combine Food with Wine

A Guide On How to Combine Food with Wine

For many people, the idea of matching food with wine conjures up an image of a stuffy dinner party. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some easy ways for anyone to pair a meal with its perfect wine match — a guide on how to combine food with wine.

Matching wine to the meat in a dish

When pairing food with wine, one of the most important things to consider is the intensity of each. If you’re serving something light and delicate like seafood or salad greens, then you want to choose a lighter wine that won’t overpower those flavors.

On the other hand, if you want something bolder like beef or lamb (or even game), then opt for an equally bold red that will stand up against these heavier meats. You can order a perfectly matching Masseto wine at Puninwine and be sure that it will be delivered right in time before your guests or family members arrive for dinner.

Credit: Yulia Zinchenko

A simple rule for matching red and white wines

A simple rule for matching red and white wines:

  • Give preference to red wine if you are cooking meat, poultry, and pork.
  • Pick white wine when you are planning to serve chicken, fish, and seafood.
  • A rosé is best served with fruit or cheese.
  • Sparkling wines are delicious with seafood!

If a dish is salty, pair it with a bitter wine

When pairing food with wine, you want to choose a wine that will complement the dish rather than overpower it. For example, if a dish is salty, pair it with bitter wine. The acidity in the wine will help balance out the saltiness of your meal and make sure that both flavors are present in equal amounts.

For salty dishes, pick wines with high acidity levels. In general, red wines have higher acidity levels than white wines. This means they’re better suited for pairing with foods such as meat or fish (or anything else that’s rich in salt content). If you’re unsure which type of red should go with your meal, try Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. Both have a low alcohol content, which makes them perfect for salty meat dishes!

If a dish is bitter, pair it with bitter wine

Bitter flavors are common in both food and wine. In fact, the level of bitterness in wines depends on the level of tannins they contain. These are the chemical compounds that give your mouth that dry feeling after you eat dark chocolate or drink coffee. If you’re eating something spicy or salty (like garlic-roasted potatoes), your taste buds will be even more receptive to these bitter notes in your glass of red or white!

Match the weight of the food and the weight of the wine

The weight of the wine should match the weight of the food. This is the rule of thumb to be strictly followed.

If you’re serving a light dish, like grilled shrimp or scallops with risotto, choose an equally light wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. If you have a heavier dish, such as braised short ribs over polenta with gremolata (an Italian parsley garnish) and mushrooms, then go for something bolder like Zinfandel or Shiraz so that you can feel the richness of all those flavors in your mouth at once!

Match the intensity of flavors

If a dish is very spicy, for example, you’ll want to pair it with a wine that has an equally high level of intensity. This means looking for something bold and robust. Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah would work well here. Conversely, if your dish is subtle and delicate (say, a poached egg), then you may want to match it with something softer on the palate like Pinot Grigio or Riesling instead.

Credit: Yulia Zinchenko

Neutral wines for heavily spiced dishes

When you’re pairing wine with food, it’s important to remember that the goal is not to overpower your meal with alcohol. Instead, you should look for wines that are light and easy to drink and pick those neutral wines as a base for your meal.

If the main dish has an especially strong flavor (like curries or chile peppers), then steer clear of pairing it with heavy reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. Instead, try something lighter like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. These white wines won’t clash with spicy flavors while still providing enough acidity to balance out any sweetness in your meal.

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Sweet wines are great for desserts

Pairing sweet wines with desserts is a great way to end your meal. Sweet wines can be made from any grape variety and are often higher in alcohol content than dry wines, but they’re generally lower in acidity. They’re often served at room temperature, so you don’t need to worry about chilling them before serving.

Sweet wines pair nicely with chocolate or caramel desserts because they share similar flavors (caramel and chocolate). The sweetness of the wine will complement the richness of these dishes while balancing out their saltiness or bitterness respectively.

If a dish is sweet, you can also pair it with an acidic wine.

Credit: Yulia Zinchenko

Geographical origin of the wine and the dish

Food from a particular country or area is best served with a bottle of wine made from grapes grown there. Being born in the same territory or region is something that naturally unites dishes with the wine, along with the accumulated wisdom of previous generations. Saperavi is served with the salted spices of Georgian cuisine, while Riesling will be picked together with sauerkraut in Alsace, and simple red wine is served together with pasta in tomato sauce in Italy.


While the science behind food and wine pairing is complex, there are a few simple rules that can help you make better choices. The first step is knowing what flavors you like and what wines pair best with those flavors. If you’re not sure where to start, try matching your favorite foods with different types of wine until you manage to determine which combination of tastes you like the most. Once you’ve found a good match, experiment with other meals and wines until you find another perfect pair!

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