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Food and Wine Pairings

Food and wine pairings can be somewhat tricky as it all depends on how granular you are trying to get. There are a number of principles that we can work with in order to determine if the food we are eating is going to taste good with the beverage we are drinking:
  • Like with like:
    • Is this a light delicate salad with a vinaigrette? Pick a white wine with high toned acidity. 
  • If it grows together it goes together:
    • Are you eating Italian food? Pick an Italian wine! Argentine grilled steak? Pick a nice Malbec or Cabernet. 
  • Compare & Contrast: 
    • Careful with this AP pairing principle! When executed well the possibilities are submlime. Poorly and the result is equal to orange juice and toothpaste! My favorite example is rough hewned Muscadet and refined oysters: A star-crossed, wrong side of the tracks kinda romance. The crisp, clean simplicity of the Muscadet allows the complexity of the oyster to truly shine.
  • Take Certain elements into consideration:
    • Acidity
    • Tannin
    • Sweetness
    • Alcohol
  • Classic Pairings:
    • Vegetables & Appetizers:
      • French Fries & Champagne
      • Foie Gras & Sauternes or Tokaj
      • Almonds & Olives with Amontillado Sherry
      • Artichokes & Gruner Veltliner
    • Fish:
      • Oysters & Chablis
      • Salmon & Pinot Noir
      • Lobster & California Chardonnay
      • Sake & Sushi (duh)
    • Meat & Chicken
      • Steak Au Poivre & Syrah
      • Grilled steak & Malbec
      • Barbecue & zinfandel or Petit Syrah
      • Grilled or roasted lamb with Southern Rhone Blends (chateauneuf du pape)
      • Indian style veggie and chicken dishes with Gewurtztraminer
      • Thai or Chinese food with Riesling
      • Duck & Red Burgundy
    • Dessert
      • Chocolate based desserts & Ruby Port or Banyuls
      • Nut Based Desserts & Oloroso Sherries, Malmsey or Bual Madeiras
      • Tarte Tatin (French apple tart) & Quarts de Chaume
      • Cheescake & Muscat Beaume de Venise
    • Cheese
      • Stilton & Blue Cheese with Vintage Port
      • Goat Cheese & Sancerre or any other Loire based Sauvignon Blanc
      • Camembert & other creamy french cheeses & Bordeaux
      • British Cheddar & Ales
      • Epoisses & Marc de Bourgogne (Burgundy's take on Grappa)
      • Manchego & Rioja or Fino Sherry
      • Parmiggiano Reggiano & Barolo
      • Pecorino & Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino
Please make sure that you like both the food and the wine - the most harmonious pairing will never work if the audience does not appreciate the finesse of either one or the other.