How To Match

Guidelines to Food & Wine Pairing                            by Silence Dogwood
Here are some basic guidelines to making the right decisions when combining wine with food. The key is balance—balancing heavy foods with rich wines, moderate foods with medium bodied wines, lighter foods with light wines and sweet foods with sweet wines. Also look for complementary or contrasting flavors to make an impression on your palate (think blue cheese and Port). 

Matching a Napa Cabernet


Buffalo Mozzarella & Heirloom Tomatoes

Ultimately it comes down to your individual tastes but here are a few tips, hints, ideas, and thoughts.
  • Match rich foods with rich full bodied wines. A richly flavored dish with heavy sauces or savory ingredients needs a wine of equal power and flavor.  Drink Cabernet Sauvignon with your beef fillet or lamb.
  • Sweet foods need a sweet wine. A sweet sauce or dessert will cancel out the sweetness in the wine. Here if you error on the side of a too sweet wine and you will never go wrong. How about a late harvest Viognier or Riesling with your Crème brulee.
  • Salty foods need a strong, fruit forward wine for balance. Try a high acidity Sauvignon Blanc with some fruitiness and sweetness for those Oysters, or better yet crack open a bottle of Sparkling wine.
  • Tart food also cancels out the wine’s fruitiness. Serve slightly sweet and very fruity full bodied wines with your Veal Piccata. A crisp Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc would be very nice indeed.
  • Fish needs a medium bodied wine for balance. Fish can be tricky as it can be prepared mild or otherwise. Don’t be afraid to try a Pinot or other light bodied red with your Salmon. Rich sauces require richer wines.
  • Poultry can thrive with many a bottle. Depending on its preparation a soft Viognier, a rich Chardonnay, or a medium Merlot can all work.
  • Spicy & Hot foods enjoy the company of lightly sweet, fruity wines with low tannins. Enjoy that Thai dish with a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling.
  • Smoked foods overpower all but the fruitiest and richest wines. Try a low tannin rich Merlot with your duck.   
White Wine Food Pairing                                  Click Here for Cheese Pairing

Chardonnay: Scallops, halibut, shrimp, crab, veal, seafood with butter sauce, chicken, pork, pasta with cream sauce, turkey, ham, pesto,  Emmenthal, Gruyeres, Port-Salut, Feta,  Apples, potatoes, squash, mango.
Riesling: mild cheese, clams, mussels, Asian dishes, sashimi, ham, pork, lobster Newberg, Tandoori chicken, Coquilles St Jacques

Sauvignon Blanc: oysters, chicken, turkey, pine nuts, vegetables, grilled or poached salmon, seafood salad, Irish stew, ham, chevre, goat cheese and strongly flavored cheeses, light sauces, quiche, scallops, sorbet, key lime pie.

Gewurztraminer: spicy dishes, Thai food, curry, smoked salmon, pork and sauerkraut, Muenster, spiced/peppered cheeses, onion tart

Red Wine Food Pairing

Cabernet Sauvignon: duck, spicy beef, pate, rabbit, venison, roasts, spicy poultry, cheddar, blue cheese, gorgonzola, walnuts, sausage, kidneys, broccoli, tomatoes, grilled tuna, tomato sauce, bittersweet chocolate, gelato. Try with this delicious recipe from Morovino – Oven-Braised Pork Tenderloin

Pinot Noir: braised chicken, cold duck, rabbit, charcuterie, partridge, roasted turkey, roasted beef, lamb, veal, truffles, Gruyeres

Merlot: braised chicken, cold duck, roasted turkey, roasted beef, lamb, veal, stew, liver, venison, meat casseroles, Parmesan & Romano cheese, grilled meats, caramelized onions, Bearnaise sauce, dark chocolate, berries, fondue. Try with this Recipe from Morovino Winery – Rotisserie Chicken and Mushroom Merlot

Syrah: braised chicken, chili, goose, meat stew, peppercorn steak, barbecued meat, spicy meats, garlic casserole, ratatouille

Zinfandel: BBQ, pizza, ribs, sausage, meatloaf, hamburgers, lamb, game, duck, and beef, mildly spiced shellfish and mildly spiced Mexican, Asian and Cajun food, most cheeses and of course chocolate cake.  Try this yummy recipe from Morovino Winery –   Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Hoisin