A much-debated topic about wine is about the food that goes along with it. There are some unwritten rules about matching the right wine with food and the components to consider. Here’s a reference guide that we have put together to help you make effective and professional dinner plans. Let’s start with some tips and basics before we delve into the topic further. The more you know, the better you can be at breaking the rules.

  • While choosing the right pair of wine and food, it’s essential that the wine is more acidic and sweeter than the food
  • Red wine is best paired with boldly flavoured meats
  • Bitter wines are well balanced with fats
  • It’s always better and easier to pair the wine with the sauce
  • White wines pair well with veggies and fish
  • Some food pairings go on the basic phrase that “What grows together, goes together”

Every wine has its own different characteristics ranging from acidity to tannin to the level of alcohol and sweetness. Closely consider the flavour ingredients to better understand the meals to pair them with. While there are over 20 different tastes found in food, you’ll need to only understand and focus on 6 tastes when pairing food and wine. The basic tastes are salt, acid, sweet, bitter, fat and spice. When it comes to wine, acidity, sweetness, and bitterness are the different tastes included. With red wine especially, you’ll find more bitterness, followed by a certain level of acidity and slight sweetness. It’s always easier to pair the right food and wine when you know how to identify the dominating tastes. So, let’s look at some of the red wine and food combinations closely.

  1. Barbera: This Italian wine pairs well with Italian dishes, especially tomato-based food. For instance, fresh lasagne with pesto is one of the best combinations with the Barbera. If you are at an Italian restaurant, this is probably one of the first wine that you may get introduced to. This wine is low on tannins with firm acidity.
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon: This is indeed one of the world’s most recognized red wine grape varieties. Green pepper and mint are the leading aromas of cabernet sauvignon. This specific type of red wine can be paired well with red meat. From roast lamb to beef fillet, the options of food pairing with this high tannin drink are numerous.
  3. Gamay: A perfect red wine for the summers is made out of a purple-coloured grape variety. This specific type of wine has very similar features to that of Pinot Noir. Meat, green salad, and cheese plates are a great choice of food pairing that goes well with this light-bodied drink called Gamay. Some of the other food pairing options include barbecued sardines and spicy sausages. Preferably serve the food alongside a lightly chilled drink to make the perfect combination.
  4. Grenache: This is yet another summer favourite for many. Grenache tastes of raspberries and strawberries with a strong alcohol mixture. It is made out of one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. Grenache pairs perfectly with grilled, stewed and braised meats. Thai food combined with the citrus mixture is not to be paired with red Grenache. This seasonal wine is a perfect choice to be served alongside Italian dishes.
  5. Malbec: Made out of purple grape variety, Malbec is a medium to full-bodied, dry red wine. The chief characteristics of this drink are high acidity, high tannin as well as alcohol levels. This type of red wine holds up well with dark meat poultry, creamy mushroom sauces, melted cheese, and herbs. Bitter greens, strong vinegar, and broccoli are food pairing that has to be avoided with Malbec. This is, in fact, one of the bold red wines that pair well with blue cheese.
  6. Merlot: Made of dark blue-coloured wine grape, Merlot is a dry wine that lacks residual sugar. You’ll be spoilt with choice for the best food pairing with Merlot. This easy to drink, gentle tannins and soft wine can be paired with blue cheese, grilled steak, lamb, roasted chicken, herbs and meatloaf amongst many other. While they are great to be served with pasta, we suggest its best to avoid pasta with cream-based sauces.
  7. Nebbiolo: This Italian red wine grape is probably the second most tantalizing grape variety after Pinot Noir. This full-bodied red wine has a very delicate smell and a translucent appearance. But, when it comes to the flavour, it’s high on tannin and high acidity. Nebbiolo pairs well with Italian and Asian cuisine. Red meat, cheese, roasted veggies are all a great combination with Nebbiolo. perfect dinner plan is when you serve this wine with Beef Tenderloin, roasted mushrooms and Full-fat Feta Cheese.
  8. Pinot Noir: If you are an avid wine drinker, you may already know that Pinot Noir is the 10th most planted grape variety in the world. The aroma of this popular wine is of spices, ripe fruits and very earthy. As for the flavours, Pinot Noir has a high flavour note for acidity and tannin. It pairs well with Asian cuisine, especially sushi. Some of the popular food combinations include duck, pork, veal, chicken, squab, tuna, salmon and other meaty fishes.
  9. Syrah: Also known as Shiraz, this is one of the darkest full-bodied red wine in the world. Expect dark fruit flavours like blackberries, plums, black cherries along with sweetness. When it comes to food pairing, it works well with darker meats and exotic spices. Highly recommended to try it with lamb shawarma and Indian tandoori dishes.

Check out these red wines on Sodamonk:

Brancott Estate Pinot Noir

Bird In Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir

Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz

Shaw & Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz

Penfolds Grange Shiraz

Achaval Ferrer Malbec Mendoza

Bodega Norton Malbec


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