How To Pair Wine With Food: A Beginner's Guide

Food and wine pairing aren’t only tasty but also fun. You get to experiment with different tastes and aromas and upgrade your culinary knowledge and experience.

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If you want to elevate your dining experience, one thing you can do is pair some dishes with wine. This beginner's guide will give you all the information to make your meals more savory with wine. Whether you want to upgrade the dining experience for your family and friends or elevate your meals, this guide got you covered.

Why Pair Wine With Food?

A perfect pairing happens when the dish and wine share common flavor components. This pairing consequently enhances the taste of the entire meal. It is why wines are paired with certain dishes because they can elevate the dining experience, making it a culinary adventure. 

Another reason why wines get paired with dishes is the scent. Some wine and food pairings have aromatic qualities that work well together. Chefs can also add wine to the food they cook. Aromas that complement each other very well can make the entire meal smell delicious enough to boost one’s appetite. 

However, finding the perfect pairing might be challenging if you are not flavor-savvy. If that’s the case, you can go for gift hampers for all occasions. It includes perfect pairs of wines and food and is a good option if you don’t have adequate culinary knowledge.

What Are The Basics? 

Food and wine pairing aren’t only tasty but also fun. You get to experiment with different tastes and aromas and upgrade your culinary knowledge and experience. You can get creative with your pairings. But, to do that, it is best to learn the basics first.

Put Importance On Flavor: Umami

To begin, make sure you understand the importance of flavors. In the culinary world, there is a term called Umami. Umami is a savory taste and one of five basic tastes among sour, salty, sweet, and bitter. Foods that have a rich Umami flavor can pair well with certain wines. 
Some chefs advise adding an Umami component to your dish if you pair it with a glass of wine. For example, if you are having steak, you can pair it well with a delicious bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Adding grilled mushrooms to your steak meal for Umami will ultimately elevate the meal as well.

How To Pair Wine With Food: A Beginner's Guide
How To Pair Wine With Food: A Beginner's Guide

Pair Fruity Dishes With Fruity Wines

One rule for pairing dishes with wines is to pair fruity dishes with fruity wines. A dish containing fruity flavor elements, like pork with caramelized apples, would pair very well with a fruity glass of Chenin Blanc. One wine that goes well with desserts is blueberry. Fruity wine made from apples, blueberries, and peaches instead of grapes can elevate any dessert, filling the dish with fresh fruity aromas.

Pairing Fruity Wines With Spicy And Smoky Foods

Fruity wines can also create a contrast in the meal by pairing well with spicy or smoky foods. It creates balance as the wine's taste complements the strong flavors. The sweetness of the fruity wine aids your palate as it processes the tastes of the meal and ensures the spiciness isn’t too harsh as you eat. 

Pairing Wines With White, Red, And Dark Meats

Dishes that include white meat, like turkey or chicken breasts, can pair very well with white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc. On the other hand, dishes that include dark meat, like duck and other game meat, pair well with red wines of the medium body, like zinfandel or a glass of pinot noir. 

Red meats like grilled steak and red wines with a smoky oak finish pair beautifully together. Consider a fruity or spicy wine if you decide to pan-fry the steaks. If you're roasting your meat, pair these dishes with light red wines to elevate the dining experience. 

With these basic principles, you'll master the taste and aromas of your dish and excite all who taste your meals. Other popular wines and food pairings include: 

  • Oyster Dishes And Champagne: Oysters and Champagne make a great pairing because they have complementary Umami flavors that work great together.
  • Goat Cheese With Sauvignon Blanc: Goat cheese pairs well with white wine, especially with Sancerre Blanc, a white wine from France traditionally served with goat cheese.
  • Lobster With An Oaked Chardonnay: Chardonnay pairs well with lobster because it complements the light flavors of lobster dishes. Chardonnay can complement any lobster dish, and it doesn't matter whether the lobster is buttery, creamy, or boiled.

Play around with flavors and aromas in the kitchen, and you can develop an excitement for food and wine pairings that will elevate the entire dining experience. 


Pairing certain dishes with different wines helps you process the meal differently, allowing you to embrace the flavor and aroma of the dishes fully. Foods high in Umami pair very well with some wines, and fruity wines pair wonderfully with fruity, spicy, or smoky dishes. 

Regarding meats, red wines compliment steak dishes, while a glass of Sauvignon completes a chicken dish. Knowing the basics allows you to create excellent pairings for a delicious savory dining experience. 

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