There are several main characteristics of wine and food that are instrumental in pairing food with wine:


This is the most important characteristic in pairing food and wine

• Acidity can cut richness, saltiness, oily foods, fatty foods and mildly spicy foods

• Acidic wines pair great with tart foods

• Brings out the integrity in good, simple ingredients


Can vary from dessert wines to off dry to semi-sweet to dry

• Sweet wines can be a great counterpart to moderate levels of heat

• Compliments slight sweetness in foods

• Can be an effective contrast to salt

• Takes the edge off of tart foods


Can be an actual level of sodium or a perception of saltiness

• Saltiness is lessened by wines with high acidity

• Perception of salt is exaggerated by tannin

• Alcohol is accentuated by salt

• Salty dishes can be counterbalanced by off dry or sweet wines


Perceived as bitterness or a gritty character

• Serve bitter foods with tannic wines

• Counter-balance tannin with fat and protein

• Tannin usually doesn’t work well with fish


Creates characteristics in wine that grapes alone can’t provide

• Oak is exaggerated by food

• Oaky wines need specific foods to show at their best (match the flavors in the wine such as toast, char, smoke and caramel with certain cooking techniques)

• Lightly oaked and un-oaked wines are the easiest to pair food with

• Oak adds smoothness and roundness to the texture of wine


Creates weight in wine

• Match wines with food that has the same weight as the wine

Here are some guidelines of food and wine pairing:


• Oak aged Chardonnay works well with dishes that have rich textures and flavors

• Pairs nicely with mild and sweet shellfish

• Works well with nuts, especially toasted nuts

Sauvignon Blanc

• Will pair with any foods with fresh herbs

• Is a good accompaniment with a vinaigrette, whether is be a dressing or a food marinated in a vinaigrette

• The high level of acidity and lower alcohol balances hot and spicy dishes


• Goes well with goose, duck and other rich, gamey birds

• Works as a counterbalance to rich, salty meats

• Pairs nicely with many exotic and flavorful spices, such as curry, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace, cumin, etc.

Cabernet Sauvignon

• Higher tannins here balance well with the bitter component of grilled meats

• A great counterpart to fatty foods such as butter, cream or aged cheese

• Is a nice pairing for black pepper, earthy and herbal components


• Pairs with mushrooms and fresh herbs

• Works well with fresh or dried fruits and berries

Pinot Noir

• Has incredible flexibility with many different ingredients and preparations

• Goes with foods that are smoked, grilled or lightly charred


• A great balance to tomato based sauces

• Will pair with herbal components like basil in a Caprese salad or fresh chopped thyme or sage in a dish