10 Tips to get the combinations right!

by Food

Wine and food pairing can be sometimes mission impossible. There are lots of myths around it and there are lots of overrated theories around how this “dating” will going to end up. I can assure you that depends on your own pallet and food preferences.

I had a friend, who most of the time didn’t like the red wines she was drinking, that I personally thought are not that bad at all, on the contrary. I started observing her and I have noticed that she constantly was drinking her reds with fresh salads. Negative effects of wrong pairing may not have a very solid proof, but there are obvious “not great combinations”. However acidy, lemony fresh vegetable salad, paired with heavy in tannins wines is one of them. I have prepared some basic tips, which can help in general, but for outstanding combinations, please follow my blog.

The concept of pairing is to compliment – sweet with sweet, acidy with high in acid whites, heavy wines with complex food.

N.B. Choose the food first, then decide on the wine. I personally would recommend to start with bubbly, followed by white and then red. This makes the drinking a real experience.

  1. Sweet wines like Sauternes, port wine, sweet sherry, Madeira wine work well with sweet foods –Chocolates, cakes, Foie gras or intense blue cheese.
  2. Fresh salads, lemony, zesty food, sour vegetables, sea food and fish goes well with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnays, Riesling or Pinot Gris
  3. Oily white wines like Viognier is a perfect wine for meats.
  4. Heavy full bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Malbec, Shiraz, Nebbiolo – experts call them chewy wines, as they go with chewy food- slow cooked meats, steaks, game and other red meats.
  5. Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir and Merlot can go with egg dishes and very much with meaty fish like tuna or sword fish.
  6. Champaign and Prosecco works with seafood or fruity deserts.
  7. Mushrooms (the umami flavours), artichoke and oysters are very difficult to pair so don’t waste too much time on this.
  8. Cheeses can work with both red or white wines. This is almost a separate science, which my blog will feature.
  9. Indian curry, Mexican food and other hot and spicy dishes go with beer, don’t pair them with wine.
  10. Wines in food – cook with good wines! My favourites are poached wild salmon in NZ Sauvignon Blanc or slow cooked beef in tangy Bordeaux.


On the continent wine has to come with food, especially in the traditional family gatherings or romantic evenings out, but things are changing. In England and the New World people go more often just for a glass of wine.

Tips of Sips: If you drink wine on its own, it has to have exciting character, possibly lighter, very aromatic, with long finish.


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