Tips for Pairing Food With Wine

The first rule of choosing a wine is that you like it. The simple pairing of red wines with red meat and white wines with fowl or fish still hold true, unless you prefer otherwise. That said, it is still nice to have a guide that promises the wine chosen will complement the meal. As your wine tastes becomes more educated, you will more easily be able to choose wines you prefer with certain dishes, on you own.

When choosing more than one wine for a meal, start with the lightest wine and work towards the heavier ones. A champagne is perfectly suited with appetizers. It’s enjoyable as your guests mingle with a flute of champagne in one hand and a small dish of appetizers in the other. A white wine blends well with the first courses of the meal, salad or other light delicacies. If you are serving beef roast or steak, a red wine will match these heavier dish. Finish off the chocolate dessert with a port. Of course, it is not necessary to serve this many types of wine with a meal. You can pick and choose, or just serve one type of wine with the main course.


Cheese appetizers and champagne are a perfect match. A soft creamy French Brie is delicious paired with this wine. Other mild cheeses to pair with champagne include mild cheddar, chevre (goat cheese), edam and gouda. Although Colby cheese is often paired with port as an after dinner treat, it is also exceptionally well paired with champagne. Consider a champagne and cheese party during the holidays.

Champagne is an excellent choice to serve with other appetizers, such as fois gras, oysters, shrimp, sushi or stuffed mushrooms.

There are certain meals that are perfectly wonderful paired with champagne. Of course, they would be lighter types of foods. Main courses of scallops, lobster or shrimp are delicious when served with champagne. However, chicken dishes that are prepared in a light manner also pair with this wine well. Prepare your chicken with olive oil, if you prefer, but not with lemon or vinegar as it may interfere with the champagne flavor.

Everyone is familiar with champagne offered at wedding receptions, used as a toast and served with the wedding cake. This wine is a good match with many desserts. Consider serving a simple dessert, such as fresh strawberries with champagne. Your guests will be delighted. Almond and shortbread cookies are an excellent choice. Other fruit desserts pair well with champagne, such as fruit tarts or fruit puddings.

White Wines

There are quite a few different types of white wine to choose from. Whether you love chenin blanc, dry Riesling, white Riesling or chardonnay, it is helpful to know which foods go best with each type of white wine. Mild cheese, for example, are paired best with any of these white wines, except for a chardonnay. Stronger cheeses go well with chenin blanc, dry Riesling, or chardonnay. Choose any of the white wines mentions to go with other appetizers, except white Riesling. Oysters are paired well with chardonnays. Crab, shrimp and lobster are harmonious with chenin blanc or dry Riesling. If you are serving seafood with a light sauce, choose a dry Riesling or chardonnay. However, if the seafood is paired with a heavy sauce, choose chardonnay. Poultry and pasta with a light, or cheese, sauce will go with any of these wines, except white Riesling.

Red Wines

Again, there are many types of red wines to choose from. If you have a particular type that you love, by all means serve it with any of your heavier dishes or red meats. If you don’t yet have a favorite red wine, experiment with merlot, zinfandel, port, cabernet and pinot noir. All of these wines will pair well with strong cheese appetizers. Choose any of these wines, except for port, to serve with pasta dishes with red sauce. This is true with any red meat main dish, as well. Chocolate desserts, which are more on the heavy side, can be served with red wine. Choose cabernet, merlot or port.