Amateur Winos: Plan A Wine Pairing Party

wine pairing

We can all agree wine is fantastic on it’s own, but it’s traditionally meant to be enjoyed with food. Why? Wines have the ability to bring out certain flavors when paired with the right foods, and vise-versa. The key is knowing what to pair with what.

One of the best ways to experiment with wine and food pairings is to throw a party. Sure it would be easy to throw some cheese and crackers on a plate and call it a day, but where’s the fun and creativity in that? Not to mention we could all use an excuse to impress our friends.

The good news is you don’t have to be an expert on wine to begin pairing it with food.  Knowing just a few basic facts about some very common wines will help you pick the perfect accompanying dish. So next time you have a dinner party consider these easy wine and food pairing combinations.



What we’d say about it:  This very acidic wine is typically crisp with fruity undertones. Most champagne will probably have a citrus, lemon, grapefruit, or apple taste to them.

What we’d pair with it: Equally acidic shellfish like lobster, shrimp, or oysters will pair nicely with champagne. This wine and food pairing is also a great way to start off the meal. Try Shrimp in Mock Lobster Sauce or these Italian Oyster Mushrooms


What we’d say about it: One of the richest and full-flavored white wines tends to give off flavors like apple, butter, oak, honey, lemon, and pineapple.

What we’d pair with it:  The full-flavored Chardonnay will taste best with full-flavored dishes that have been grilled, roasted, or sautéed. If you’re going to drink Chardonnay with meat, opt for white meats like chicken, turkey or pork. Recipes like this Garlic and Herb Roasted Chicken and Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Leek, and Saffron Sauce


Pinot Grigio

What we’d say about it: Probably one of the most easy-drinking wines , Pinot Grigio is light with lemony-citrusy flavors.

What we’d pair with it: Keep the food just like the wine: light. Light fish, chicken, and pasta will pair perfectly with this citrus wine.  Consider dishes like Deep Fried Ravioli on a Stick and Pesto Fettuccine with Chicken

Pinot Noir

What we’d say about it: This medium-bodied red wine is a favorite among traditionally white wine drinkers. It’s easy to drink, and will often give off flavors of strawberry or black cherry.

What we’d pair with it: Try pairing this wine with flavorful, meatier fishes, or mild red meats. Pinot Noir will also pair nicely with heavy butter or cream sauces, or rich vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato. We like drinking it with dishes such as this Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna or Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes.

Cabernet Sauvignon

What we’d say about it: This is a heavy wine that will give off flavors like chocolate, black currant, and cedar.

What we’d pair with it:  A Cab is typically enjoyed in a more formal setting with beef dishes, meaty soups, and heavy vegetables. Wild game, like duck or lamb would pair best with this wine as well.  Consider hearty dishes like the Garlic and Rosemary Rack of Lamb or this Pressure Cooker Beef Stew.

An important rule of thumb is to drink what you like while also making sure your wine choice keeps the flavors of your food in balance. This typically means lighter wines will go best with lighter dishes, and vise versa. Happy pairing! 


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