A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Pairing

Wine pairing

People like wine. It’s consumed in large amounts throughout the world, but many people don’t know the first thing about pairing it with food. You might know some basics, like whether or not a red or white goes better with beef or chicken, but when it comes to specific types of wine with certain foods, most people will just go with their favorites and never vary from those. Luckily, there are lots of resources online that can increase your sophistication when it comes to wine pairings. Here’s a simple guide with some quick facts about what food and wine to pair together.




Generally, rich whites, light whites and reds, and rosés pair best with poultry, though it depends what kind of poultry is used and how it’s prepared. Sauce on the poultry influences the taste and the kind of wine that should be used, but wine like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc work with white meat dishes, while Riesling is a sweeter wine that would go best with darker meat. For rosé, dry is generally better, unless the dish has a sweet sauce. If you’re looking for something to pair with a Thanksgiving dinner, opt for Zinfandel, a nice red wine.




For the most part, you can’t go wrong pairing a white wine with fish, but some white wines pair better with certain types of fish than others. Flounder, haddock, tilapia, and other flaky fishes go best with wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscadet, and Pinot Grigio. Fish like salmon, tuna, and mahi mahi go better with white pinot noir, dry rosé, and vintage champagne.




Red wines, usually with bold flavors, pair best with different types of beef and other red meat. You can try Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Barolo, and Chianti. The type of wine used varies according to seasonings and the sauce on the meat, but a red wine is usually a safe bet.


Foods that don’t pair


While these foods are tricky to pair with wine, there are a few wines that work. Pay careful attention before trying to drink wine with these foods, because you could accidentally order an unflattering combination that leaves you dissatisfied. First off, chocolate can be tricky when pairing with wine. If you want to pair wine with chocolate (because it does sound pretty good), opt for a sweet red wine, like a type of port. For sushi and soy sauce, try a Moscato or Sauvignon Blanc. Just be wary about the types of sushi and sauces mixing with the wine!


Here’s a simple guide to help you with quick pairings. For fun, look at this guide for pairing wines with pizza.