Pairing Food and Wine

September 11, 2009 at 8:35 am 1 comment

I often have difficulty pairing wine with whatever I’m serving for dinner. We’ve gone well beyond “white with fish, red with meat”, and there are so many grape varietals that it can be a bit overwhelming to decide. For a handy tool, check out wine maven Natalie McLean’s Drinks Matcher. Select the dish you’re having, and it shows what wines go best. Or, if you have a wine you want to serve, it gives you suggestions of what food will work well with it. [clearspring_widget title=”Natalie MacLean’s Drinks Matcher” wid=”499d0d5ceaf11a9c” pid=”4aa809ee7c11c3b0″ width=”300″ height=”272″ domain=””]

The new guideline seems to be “match the weight of the food with the weight of the wine”. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to pair a Cabernet Sauvignon with sushi, or a Reisling with rack of lamb.IMG_0334

Here’s a list from Wine Spectator that you might find helpful. It ranks whites and reds in the order of their weight, from lightest to heaviest. It takes the guess work out of trying to determine where the more obscure grapes fit into the spectrum, and should make it easier to pair your food with a variety of wines that would work. Remember, this is not like a test you took in 5th grade–there’s more than one right answer!

Selected dry and off-dry white wines, lightest to weightiest:

• Soave, Orvieto, Pinot Grigio
• Off-dry Riesling
• Dry Riesling
• Muscadet
• Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and other dry sparkling wines
• Chenin Blanc
• Arneis
• French Chablis and other unoaked Chardonnays
• Rioja (white)
• Pinot Blanc
• Albariño
• Vermentino
• Verdejo
• Sauvignon Blanc
• Greco di Tufo
• Grüner Veltliner
• White Bordeaux
• White Burgundy
• Pinot Gris (Alsace, Tokay)
• Viognier
• Gewürztraminer
• Barrel-fermented or barrel-aged Chardonnay (United States, Australia)

Selected red wines, lightest to weightiest:

• Valpolicella
• Beaujolais Cru
• Dolcetto
• New Zealand Pinot Noir
• Burgundy
• Oregon Pinot Noir
• California Pinot Noir
• Cabernet Franc
• Barbera
• Chianti Classico
• Rioja
• Brunello di Montalcino
• Ribera del Duero
• Barbaresco
• Grenache/Garnacha
• Pinotage
• Merlot (United States)
• Malbec
• Barolo
• Bordeaux
• Petite Sirah
• Zinfandel
• Cabernet Sauvignon (United States, Australia)
• Rhône Syrah and Australian Shiraz

Wine Spectator

Aug. 7, 2009


Entry filed under: wine. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. dchow8  |  December 7, 2009 at 1:42 am

    this is very helpful, thank you


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