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Food and Wine Pairing Chart for a Delicious Meal Every Time

Food and Wine Pairing Chart for a Delicious Meal Every Time

When it comes to food and wine pairing, choosing the right combination can elevate a meal to an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Discover tips on how to get the best flavors by striking the perfect food and wine balance right with our wine pairing chart.


Food and Wine Pairing Tips and Guidelines

Food and Wine Pairing Tips and Guidelines

The basic principle behind wine pairing is to complement or contrast the flavors and characteristics of the wine and food. A good pairing enhances the wine and food flavors, creating a pleasant and enjoyable experience. When pairing food and wine, there are a few tips and guidelines to remember.


  1. Consider the intensity of the food and the wine. In general, you want to pair lighter wines with lighter foods and heavier wines with heavier foods. For example, a light Pinot Grigio might pair well with a delicate fish dish, while a bold Cabernet Sauvignon might be better suited to a hearty beef stew.

  2. Look for complementary flavors. Try to find wines that have flavors that complement the flavors in your food. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc with notes of citrus and herbs might pair well with a salad with a lemon vinaigrette dressing.

  3. Consider the acidity of both the food and the wine. If a dish is very acidic, you'll want to pair it with a wine that can hold up to that acidity. For example, a tomato-based pasta dish might pair well with a Sangiovese or Chianti, known for their high acidity.

  4. Match red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat. These basic rules can be a good starting point. For example, a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon might pair well with a juicy grilled steak, while a crisp, acidic Chardonnay might be better suited to a grilled chicken breast.

  5. Don't be afraid to experiment. Ultimately, the best food and wine pairings are the ones that you enjoy the most. So feel free to try new combinations of great food and wine and see what works for your palate.

  6. Consider the occasion. Different occasions call for diverse food and wine pairings. For example, a casual dinner party might call for a more relaxed pairing, while a formal event or special occasion might require a more sophisticated combination.

Shoptopia shares the six basic rules of food and wine pairing in this helpful video.


1.   Pinot Grigio Wine Food Pairings

Pinot Grigio Wine Food Pairings

Pinot Grigio is a dry white wine with a light, crisp, fruity flavor that pairs well with various foods. Lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine, and apple are the primary fruit flavors found in this acidic wine. Here are some food pairing suggestions to enhance your Pinot Grigio wine experience: 

  • Seafood

Pinot Grigio pairs well with seafood such as shrimp, scallops, clams, and oysters. The wine's acidity complements the delicate flavors of the seafood, making for a harmonious pairing.
  • Light Pasta Dishes

Light pasta dishes such as linguine with clam sauce or pasta primavera are a good match for Pinot Grigio. The wine's acidity and delicate flavors highlight the pasta dish's lightness.
  • Salads

Salads that have light dressings will taste great with Pinot Grigio. The wine harmonizes with the fresh flavors of the greens and vegetables.
  • Soft Cheese

Pinot Grigio's acidity will cut through the creaminess of the soft cheese, such as goat cheese or brie, making for a delicious pairing.
  • Light appetizers

Tease your palate by pairing light appetizers such as bruschetta, grilled vegetables, or hummus with Pinot Grigio. The wine's lightness adds to the flavors of the appetizers without overpowering them.


2.   Pinot Noir Wine Food Pairings

Pinot Noir Wine Food Pairings

Pinot Noir has a low tannin level, often paired with meat. But the complex fruity flavors of aged Pinot Noir make it versatile enough and makes the best pairing with other foods. 

  • Grilled or Roasted Meats

Pinot Noir is the right wine for grilled or roasted meats such as lamb, duck, chicken, or beef. The wine's fruity notes and mild tannins bring out the meat's savory flavors, like in the classic Beef Bourguignon.

  • Mushrooms

Dishes containing mushrooms are a perfect match for the wine's earthy notes and mild tannins, highlighting the umami flavors of the mushrooms.

  • Salmon

The wine's acidity cuts through the fish's richness, such as salmon or other fatty fish, creating a balanced pairing.

  • Soft Cheeses

Pinot Noir mixes well with soft, creamy cheeses such as brie, camembert, or goat cheese. The wine's fruity notes and mild tannins make a delicious contrast to the tasty cheese's creaminess.

  • Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces like marinara, meatballs, and Bolognese perfectly match Pinot Noir's acidity.


3.   Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Food Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Food Pairings

The bold flavors and high tannins make Cabernet Sauvignon a full-bodied red wine and the best match for rich and hearty foods. Here are some suggestions for food pairings to elevate your Cabernet Sauvignon wine experience: 

  • Red Meat

Cabernet Sauvignon and red meat such as beef, lamb, or venison are a match made in heaven. The wine's tannins cut through the meat's richness and balance its fattiness.

  • Aged Cheese and Hard Cheese

Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect partner for aged and hard cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, or parmesan. The sharp and full flavor of aged cheese beautifully emphasizes the fruity flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Dark Chocolate

The bitter taste of dark chocolate brings an excellent balance to the hints of dark fruits in this wine. Black currant, cherry, and blackberry notes are generally found in aged Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Grilled Vegetables

The smoky flavor of grilled vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, or mushrooms suits full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Barbecue

The smoky, spicy flavors of barbecue dishes such as ribs, brisket, or pulled pork bring perfect harmony to this aromatic dry wine.


4.   Sauvignon Blanc Wine Food Pairing

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Food Pairing

Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, refreshing white wine with high acidity and zesty, fruity flavors, making it a versatile wine choice for different foods. Here are some Sauvignon Blanc food pairing suggestions: 

  • Seafood

Sauvignon Blanc balances the iodized salty tastes of oysters, shrimp, crab, or scallops. Enjoy your seafood platter with the zesty note of Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Goat Cheese

The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the cheese's creaminess, creating a delicious pairing.

  • Salads

Herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc synergizes the citrus or vinaigrette dressings in the salad, bringing freshness to the mouth.

  • Grilled Vegetables

The aromatic and zesty Sauvignon Blanc wine balances the smoky grilled vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, or bell peppers for an exciting weekend cookout.

  • Sushi

Sushi or other Japanese cuisines with soy sauce and wasabi create an easy and harmonious pairing with Sauvignon Blanc.


5.   Chardonnay Wine Food Pairing

Chardonnay Wine Food Pairing

Chardonnay is a dry, medium to full-bodied wine with a wide range of flavors from lemon to pineapple. This white wine's hints of cream and vanilla make a congruent pairing with various dishes. 

  • Seafood

Chardonnay pairs well with a wide range of seafood, such as shellfish, salmon, lobster, and shrimp.

  • Creamy dishes

Chardonnay's buttery texture and rich flavor perfectly blend with creamy dishes like risotto, pasta with creamy sauces, and cream-based soups.

  • Poultry

The smoky flavor and juiciness of roasted or grilled chicken, turkey, and duck create a delightful gastronomic experience.

  • Cheese

The high acidity of Chardonnay breaks up the richness of cheeses, including brie, camembert, and other soft cheeses.

  • Vegetables

The bright, fresh flavors of vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini combines perfectly with the fruity notes in Chardonnay.

  • Pork

The touch of juiciness in Chardonnay pairs nicely with roasted or grilled pork dishes.

  • Spices and herbs

If you like adding herbs to your dishes like basil, dill, tarragon, and spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, pair them with a bottle of Chardonnay.

  • Lightly seasoned dishes

Chardonnay can combine perfectly with lightly seasoned dishes, such as grilled or roasted vegetables, to allow the wine's flavor to shine.


6.   Garnacha Wine Food Pairing

Garnacha Wine Food Pairing

Garnacha, also known as Grenache, is a red wine from Spain and produced in other regions around the world. Here are some food pairings to consider with Garnacha wine: 

  • Barbecue

Garnacha's spicy notes of cinnamon superbly pair with grilled meats, such as barbecue ribs, steak, and sausages.

  • Spicy dishes

The peppery flavoring in Garnacha goes well with spicy dishes, such as spicy meat stews, chili con carne, and spicy sausages.

  • Pizza

Pizza's pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom toppings will harmonize well with Grenache's juicy ripe red fruity taste.

  • Roasted vegetables

Garnacha with roasted vegetables, such as roasted eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers is a great pairing.

  • Cheese

Garnacha's balanced tannins and medium acidity will slice through the creaminess of various cheeses, including aged cheddar, Manchego, and Gouda.

  • Lamb

Garnacha with lamb dishes, such as roasted lamb chops or braised lamb shanks, makes a delightful dining experience.

  • Tomato-based dishes

Acidic tomato-based dishes, such as pasta with tomato sauce or tomato-based soups, are best paired with medium-bodied Garnacha red wine.

  • Charcuterie

The Charcuterie board is a feast of flavors. From the delectable cured meats, such as salami, prosciutto, and ham, to crackers, cheeses, dried fruits, and nuts, savory is the best way to describe this board of goodness. Garnacha wine’s versatile profile and intensely fruity and herbal notes nicely contrast and complement the different flavors found in your typical charcuterie board.


7.   Syrah Wine Food Pairing

Syrah Wine Food Pairing

Syrah is a bold, full-bodied wine that pairs well with rich, hearty foods. The peppery punch and fruity flavors in Syrah make it one of the most favorite pairs for foods such as: 

  • Grilled or roasted meats

Syrah's robust flavors bring out the taste of grilled or roasted meats, especially beef, lamb, and venison.

  • Barbecue

Syrah's smoky notes make it an excellent pairing with barbecue meats, such as ribs and brisket.

  • Spicy foods

Syrah's bold flavor can stand up to and accentuate spicy dishes, such as Indian curry or Mexican mole.

  • Hard cheeses

Syrah's tannins complement the dense and savory hard cheeses, such as aged cheddar or parmesan.

  • Dark chocolate

Syrah's fruity and spicy notes make it a great pairing with dark chocolate.

  • Mushrooms

The earthy flavor of mushrooms pairs nicely with Syrah's rich, full-bodied taste.

  • Tomato-based dishes

Syrah's acidity pairs well with tomato-based dishes, such as spaghetti Bolognese or pizza with tomato sauce.

  • Game meats

Syrah's strong flavor pairs well with the wild flavor of game meats, such as venison or wild boar.

  • Moroccan-style dishes

Syrah's fruity and spicy notes make it a great matchup with Moroccan-style dishes, such as tagines and couscous.


8.   Tempranillo Wine Food Pairing

Tempranillo Wine Food Pairing

Tempranillo is a versatile medium to full-bodied red wine popular in Spain. With its well-loved red fruit flavors and unique tobacco, cedar, and spicy hints, Tempranillo is an ideal pair for various dishes, including: 

  • Grilled meats

The medium acidity of Tempranillo is a good blend with grilled meats, such as beef, pork, and lamb.

  • Roasted vegetables

Tempranillo's juicy fruit flavors pair well with roasted vegetables, such as peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.

  • Tomato-based dishes

Tempranillo's acidity works perfectly with the sharpness of tomato-based dishes, such as tomato sauce-based pasta dishes or pizza.

  • Tapas

Tempranillo is an exceptional wine for Spanish tapas, such as chorizo, serrano ham, and manchego cheese.

  • Paella

Tempranillo's dominant flavor and heat will highlight the complex flavors in a classic Spanish paella.

  • Stews

Tempranillo's medium deep and dark fruit notes will bring out the different flavors of ingredients in the stews, such as beef or pork stews or Spanish lentil soup.

  • Roasted chicken

Tempranillo's hint of fig complement the flavor of roasted chicken, especially when seasoned with Spanish spices such as paprika or saffron.

  • Mushroom dishes

Aged Tempranillo's prominent tobacco and leather notes are a good combination for mushroom dishes, such as mushroom risotto or roasted mushrooms.

  • Spicy foods

The bold flavor of Tempranillo's makes it a good match for smoky, spicy dishes, such as chorizo or chili con carne.


9.   Airén Wine Food Pairing

Airén Wine Food Pairing

Airén is a white grape variety commonly grown in the La Mancha and Valdepeñas region of Spain. It is a crisp and refreshing wine with low acidity that is perfect for pairing with a variety of foods, such as:

  • Seafood

Airén wine is good for seafood, especially grilled fish and shellfish like shrimp, scallops, and lobster. The wine's light and crisp flavor complements the delicate seafood flavors.

  • Salads

Salads, particularly those topped with light dressings or vinaigrettes, and Airén is a match made in heaven. The acidity of the wine helps to break the oiliness of the dressing, while the crispness of the wine balances the freshness of the greens.

  • Tapas

This famous Spanish wine is not surprisingly a good fit for Spanish tapas, such as olives, marinated vegetables, and fried foods like croquetas and patatas bravas. The acidity of the wine helps to cut through the richness of these dishes.

  • Light pasta dishes

Like the cardinal rule in food and wine pairing, light wine is your best bet for light dishes. Thus, Airén wine pairs well with light pasta dishes like linguine with clams or spaghetti with lemon and olive oil. The wine's lightness complements the pasta's delicacy, while the acidity helps to balance the sauce's richness.


10. Merlot Wine Food Pairing

Merlot Wine Food Pairing

Merlot is a popular red wine grape variety that produces medium-bodied dry wines with medium tannins and fruity flavors. The vanilla and mocha undertone and its black cherry, blackberry, plum, and raspberry fruit flavors make Merlot a favorite food partner, complementing and contrasting dishes with its versatile flavor. Here are some food pairing examples that work well with Merlot wine: 

  • Red meat

Merlot is a famous red meat pair dish, especially grilled or roasted. It's an ideal match for steak, lamb chops, or venison. The tannins in the wine help to pierce through the meat's richness, while the wine's fruitiness complements the flavors.

  • Pasta dishes

Merlot is a great wine to pair with pasta dishes with tomato-based or meat-based sauces. It goes well with classic Italian dishes like spaghetti Bolognese or lasagna.

  • Poultry

Merlot is also a good match for poultry dishes like roast chicken, duck, or turkey. It works excellently with both light and dark meat, as well as with dishes that have a fruity or sweet sauce.

  • Chocolate

Merlot can be paired with chocolate desserts, especially those with a dark chocolate base. The fruity and slightly sweet flavors of the wine complement the bitterness of the chocolate.


[Download] Food and Wine Pairing Chart 

Download and save this Food and Wine Pairing Chart infographic for future reference so you can have a delicious meal every time. 

Food and wine pairing has been around since ancient times, and it's the key to unlocking flavors you never knew existed. While this wine pairing guide is helpful, it's important to remember that personal taste is also essential in choosing from various wines to pair with your food. Experiment with different pairings, remember to store and serve your wine at the right temperature, and discover that what’s best for your palate can be a fun and enjoyable experience. What's your favorite food and wine pairing?

Randy Green

Randy is a true wine storage aficionado and expert in wine cellar design. He gained construction experience as a partner in a general contracting business before niching into and passionately focusing on creating wine storage solutions for clients in 2016. He takes great pride in bringing these designs to life, and is dedicated to ensuring that every wine cellar he creates is not only functional but also a beautiful addition to any home or business. The Wine Cellar HQ team also includes refrigeration sizing experts and licensed HVAC technicians to ensure optimal climate control for your wine cellar, so that your wines can age to perfection.
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