How to Pair Wine and Food

Follow these five guidelines to make the best wine and food pairings at home.

Pairing food and wine has been around for a long time. For individuals who’ve grown up in homes where wine is a daily part of life, food and wine pairing can come naturally. But, for the rest of us, food and wine pairing can be daunting.

 

1. Drink What You Like

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should always drink and eat what you like, so throw out everything you’ve been told about wine and food pairings. When in doubt, pick a wine you enjoy. That way, even if the pairing isn’t great, you’ll still enjoy the wine!
 

2. Match the “weight” of the food and the wine

Wine and food should be partners, both helping each other, and neither should overwhelm the other. Match delicate wines with delicate foods and robust wines with robust foods When determining the weight of your food, consider its fat content. And what gives a wine its weight? In a word, alcohol. The higher a wine’s alcohol content the more full-bodied the wine seems.

3. Pair to dominant feature of the dish

The most prominent feature of a dish—usually the sauce rather than the main ingredient—is critical in determining the best wine for said dish.
 

4. The Wine Should be Sweeter

Generally, make sure the wine is sweeter than the food it is accompanying.  If the wine is less sweet than the food, it will tend to taste bitter and tart.

 

5. Acidity Is Your BFF

A wine should have higher acidity than the food it’s matched with.  Wines with high acidity leave you wanting to take a bite of food, and then having a sip of wine. Think about how a squeeze of lemon can complement or temper a rich or salty dish. Wines with high acidity such as sparkling wines, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, or Riesling do the same when served with food.

There you have it, five straightforward wine and food pairing guidelines. Remember it’s food and wine – not life and death!